A place of his own | TheUnion.com

A place of his own

Courtney Ferguson
Special to The Union

The Super Bowl, the Olympics and basketball – with baseball warming up in the bullpen – this is the time of year when the competition's hot and the beer better be ice cold. Turn up the volume on the flat-screen TV, and unleash the adrenalin. Suddenly, it's clear that there are only two kinds of men: the lucky ones with their own man caves, and the ones who envy them.

Rich Parry is one of the lucky ones.

At last, his dream is an action-packed reality, and a visit to his special space confirms why.

"How many guestrooms do you need?" he laughed. "All I wanted was to turn a seldom used part of the house into a place that's my personal paradise."

A large bar, made of oak and knotty alder, is an impressive focal point in the room. Its foot rails hail from old mine-car days.

The fridge is well stocked with beer and drinks – oh yes, and plenty of Guinness on hand for St. Patrick's Day.

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Sit on one of the bar stools facing the bar, and enjoy far reaching views of the foothills and the sundeck. Face the other way, and there's a 50 inch wall-mounted screen – ready for you to cheer for your team or boo the referee.

There's a colorful popcorn machine, a vintage dial phone on the wall, a large games table, and two inviting sofas. The room is both contemporary and nostalgic.

Let the good times rock 'n' roll

An old record player with favorite 33 1/3 rpm albums brings back many a memory. A large framed photo of Rich from his own football playing days adds a personal touch. There is plenty of Marine Corps memorabilia as well, including a framed tribute to highly-decorated Lieutenant General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller. Rich served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and has a deep loyalty and admiration.

It may be a man cave, but wife Eileen has certainly added her own Celtic influence. Eileen is from Boston, and her father came from County Mayo. You don't have to look far to see Irish pub-style accessories that add to the character and charm here and throughout their 2,700 square foot Nevada City house.

Let's take a look at the rest of this hillside home, set on five picturesque acres above Deer Creek. Ironically, artist and long-time friend Rick Morrall was the home's architect. (Some readers may remember that I featured the Morrall home in a column I wrote last March.) Since Rich is a retired carpenter and manager for a Bay Area construction company, their combined skills were focused and effective. Add Eileen's natural flair for colors and placement – and their collaboration created a warm-and-welcoming, East Coast-style, family home, with frequent visits from grandchildren. John Sample of Sample Construction also gets kudos for turning plans and good ideas into a home that welcomes family, friends and neighbors (for many a good party happens here).

"One feature I truly enjoy," Eileen told me, "is the way the front door opens to the spectacular views at the back of the house. I worked in the Bay Area as an advertising executive for many years, and for a city girl like me, this view is pure magic."

Originally, Rich and Eileen simply wanted this to be their weekend home.

"When it was completed in 2004," Rich added, "we liked it so much we decided to live here full time."

They've both become active community members. Rich volunteers at North Star Mine and collects toys on behalf of Toys for Tots, while Eileen is active in Helpline.

I can understand why this is a wonderful home for entertaining. The relaxed, open floor plan makes the most of the natural light and views. The entry way is large and inviting. The bamboo flooring and wood-burning stove, surrounded by El Dorado stone, give it a natural, homespun kind of warmth, reinforced by traditional white coving and baseboards. The kitchen features granite counter tops and white wainscot cabinets. By the way, Eileen collects rocking horses, carousel horses and other equine art. However, if you look near the mantle, there's a large China bulldog named "Chesty." The bulldog, by the way, is the Marine Corps mascot.

Outside Rich has been busy putting his masonry skills to work, building retaining walls and pillars at the top of the drive. They live in a fire-wise community, so their landscaping is minimal with plenty of defensible space.

Now it's only fair. Since Rich has his own man cave, doesn't Eileen deserve her own private space as well? You'll be pleased to know that she does, indeed, have her own studio.

"I'm not particularly arty," she admitted. "Frankly, sometimes I just want to be alone in a sweet, quiet place." That's another aspect of this home's appeal. It's ideal for socializing, yet it's built for privacy as well. A good book or a good game? Your call in the Parry home!

Courtney Ferguson has written home-and-lifestyle articles for many years, both in Nevada County and in England. Contact her at courtneycopy@gmail.com.

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