Striking It Rich: Planning a Creekside Log Home in California

One fortunate couple finds their treasure in a quaint log home in California’s Gold Rush country.

When planning your dream home, you can only hope that good fortune will smile down on you and grace you with that perfect parcel of land to build on. So, in the case of Russ and Mary Bebout, it’s fair to say they hit the jackpot when they found their 2-acre, creek-side piece of property in Grass Valley, California, a historic Gold Rush town. There was no question—the site was just right for building their cottage-style log home.
Cottage-style cabin

  As independent dealers for Michigan-based Heritage Log Homes and prior log homeowners, Russ and Mary knew a thing or two about building one. Not surprisingly, the house is based on a Heritage stock design, which they customized by opting for larger 10-inch round logs. They also decided to upgrade to a round-timber roof system for the second-floor joists and rafters. For the log species, the Bebouts chose eastern white pine. “We love the warmth, the smell of the wood and the open, expansive feeling,” says Russ. “It creates a totally different feeling than you get in a conventional home.”  

To add to that warmth, the couple made it priority to fill the home with as much natural light as possible. Throughout the home, you’ll find no less than five sets of French doors, three expansive skylights and five double-hung windows with half-round transoms. “Light is extremely important in a log home,” explains Mary. “Logs absorb light, so we always recommend including lots of windows and skylights to brighten up the space.” Because of the home’s location in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it’s often subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations. The energy-efficient logs provide good insulation against the cold, and the striking green tin roof reflects summer heat, keeping rooms cool even when temperatures reach triple digits.
Cottage-style cabin loft

  When the weather is mild, the Bebouts can enjoy the 2,800 square feet of covered porches, patios and balconies. “For a laidback mountain lifestyle, this home fits in very well,” says Russ. And the empty nesters make good use of the outdoor space. A hot tub, wood-burning fireplace and virtual aquarium populate the rear second-floor deck that looks out onto the whitewater of Wolf Creek. “The trout in the creek,” says Russ with a laugh, are like our pets.” Instead of fishing the creek, the couple considers it a personal wildlife refuge.
Cottage-style cabin porch

  The 2,400 square-foot, three-bedroom home took a speedy six months to build, but that required plenty of long-hour days, Russ recalls, thanks to a couple of challenges along the way. A narrow, winding gravel road made site access difficult and the home had to conform to fit measurements required by local regulations. “We had to cantilever the decks and the balconies to fit the site restrictions and conditions,” says Heritage Log Homes Construction coordinator, Robert Keener. But, he adds, “As you can see from the finished project, it was a great success.”

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