Gold ore, folklore and one red Indian
Special to The Union
Drive up to Ted Scruggs’ lodge-style home, and you can’t help but notice a massive, circular saw blade and an 1800s sleigh from the Allegheny Mine out front.
Nestled among 6.6 acres of Banner Lava Cap pines, the 4,700 sq. ft. lodge-style home is both rustic and majestic. A quiet dignity prevails; even before entering, you know you’re in for more than a home.
You’re in for an unforgettable experience.
The wood, the stonework and the artistry create a rugged yet welcoming feel, and Ted Scruggs (the man who imagined, designed and built it), is a gracious host. A Nevada County resident for 34 years, Ted recalls how he came to settle here.
“When I was 19, I fired up my motorcycle and escaped from the stucco jungle of Southern California,” Ted says. “In those days, professional motocross racing was my passion. Although I was good, I knew I would never be a world-class champion.
“To come to terms with that reality, I traveled 15,000 miles in three months. Nevada County was a stop-off that instantly became my home. It felt that right.”
Since then, Ted, a builder himself, has developed a deep appreciation of the foothills’ Gold-Rush history. Perhaps that became a different kind of passion – and that’s what inspired him to create this rock-solid, masterpiece home.
With its four bedrooms, two full and two half-baths plus an 890-square-foot guest room and a 3,000-square-foot barn to house his motorcycles and cars, Ted has plenty of room to entertain or simply unwind.
He moved in the guesthouse in 2000, and lived there until the main house was completed in 2005. The thought, attention to detail and desire for authenticity made completion a slow and well-considered process.
Let’s start in the open-plan living, dining and kitchen area.
The large corner fireplace is made from local blue mine rock. Local stonemason Mike Behr did a magnificent job of incorporating old mining equipment such as drills and a boiler. Besides being the primary source of economical heat, it creates an amazing focal point.
To the right of the fireplace is a tunnel with an old ore cart filled with wood. Not only is it a bold, character feature; it’s also an ingenious way to hold and haul wood from the outside storage area to the fireplace. No mess and no need to get wet while you bring the wood inside.
The scalloped beams come from a covered bridge in Pennsylvania. The floors are local-cut Douglas fir, circle-sawn the old-fashioned way to enhance the grain and give it a distinctive, rustic look. The wood is then burned with a torch, sanded and coated four times with polyurethane.
A variety of area rugs from Young’s Carpet One add drama and warmth to the richness of the wood.
The kitchen is large and open. Kubich Lumber Co. provided the wood for the traditional, quarter-sawn oak cabinets, as well most of the interior and exterior wood. Iron brackets, crafted by Tomco Manufacturing, add to the authenticity. Countertops are slate slab and limestone, with a built-in recycling center.
An elegant meal, proudly served in a mine shaft – and an Indian in the barn.
The high tin roof creates a rustic impression. However, I should make an important point here: Many rustic homes can be dark. Not this one. Ted’s designed it to allow plenty of soft, natural light, so you enjoy a sense of space and peaceful energy.
The master bedroom is downstairs, and features lodge-pole furniture and a circle-sawn, sugar pine ceiling.
Old windows from Mount St. Mary’s School have been transformed into interesting interior wall mirrors. In the master bathroom, a claw-foot, cast-iron tub and an unusual, basket-weave slate floor take you back in time.
“Local tile expert Joe Jacubowski did the tile work throughout the house,” Ted points out.
Copper buckets double as sinks in the half-bath and bar. The handrail on the stairs is made from century-old, 16-foot-tall wine barrels. Besides the two guest rooms and bath, there’s a well-ventilated cigar room, complete with an antique spittoon. Old sleds and skis add to the vintage feel.
Space has been reserved for a large home theater with its own foyer, complete with film posters and a popcorn machine.
Now about that red Indian …
The barn area has to be every man’s dream come true, with 3,000 square feet of pure “guy” space. However, Ted’s magnificent, 2003 red Indian motorcycle occupies a special place of honor. Although times have changed, Ted still enjoys his tours astride this magnificent, American-built machine.
My only disappointment about this home is that an hour interview can only reveal a few of its many innovations that combine local history and craftsmanship with style and a genuine respect for our environment. This one truly is a masterpiece!
Whether it pays respect to times gone by or explores home fronts of the future, each home has its own story and purpose. Each homeowner has his or her own sense of space and place. Being able to share these stories is privilege and an opportunity for Courtney Ferguson. She’ll be sharing more home-front stories soon.
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