The fish are jumpin’ by this creekside log home |

The fish are jumpin’ by this creekside log home

The setting is a Kincade painting come to life. Imagine a traditionally built log home on two stunning acres by Wolf Creek where you can watch the trout jump for joy from the 550 feet of year-round frontage.

Here you can float or swim in the deep swimming hole or just marvel at the music of the white water’s rush.

Above this nostalgic setting stands the sturdy, stunning Grass Valley home of Russ and Mary Bebout. As you walk inside, you are enchanted by the wonderfully sweet and woodsy scent that greets you.

Although the cozy interior offers 2,400 square feet of living space on two floors, outside there are 5,200 additional square feet of covered upper- and ground-level patios to enjoy life in the relaxed lane.

Inviting as it is, what makes this home spectacular isn’t just the setting, the size or the spacious patios and verandahs.

It’s the drama and the warmth of the logs that distinguish the Bebouts’ home as something special.

“For us, this home combines rustic simplicity with strength and elegance,” says Mary Bebout. “For someone with a passion for home decorating, it’s given me a chance to combine earthiness with romance.”

The decor adds intrigue throughout the home, and proves you can combine rugged with romantic. A lifelike, mounted bobcat looks down on the great room. Another wall displays a bear’s head.

Look at the top of the stairs and an old cavalry saddle and western saddle rest on the rail. Nooks and crannies are full of surprises, such as Victorian clothing, hats, boots and dolls, as well as antique telephones. The master bath features a grand claw-foot tub and a large walk-in shower. An unusual log wine rack is tucked under the stairs.

With the fireplace aglow, Christmas in this Courier and Ives setting must be amazing.

As you approach the grand copper-paneled front door, you’ll find a vintage buggy. “That’s a 1902 Studebaker, and it was featured in ‘Bonanza’ as well as Desi Arnaz filmsets,” Russ Bebout, a former pilot, said. “It adds to the natural character of the log home as well as our respect for tradition.”

What about the home’s construction?

Russ Bebout confirms that the logs are Eastern White Pine, milled in Tennessee. “The longest log is 20 feet. The floors are oak. The mantels come from a local Auburn mill, and the stair railings, from a Montana mill. The different styles add contrast and intrigue. As you can see, we’ve used wood throughout the home.”

“It’s beautiful, but don’t the logs attract woodpeckers?”

Russ said, “It’s sealed with WOODguard®, and that’s done the trick. Although the woodpeckers don’t think much of the tin roof, we love it for its aesthetics as well as its practicality.”

As he points to the traditional green roof, I asked about other advantages. Because it reflects heat, it helps keep the house cool in summer.

Also, because the roof is lined with 6 inches of foam, it is well insulated and encased in nonflammable materials for fire protection. “You might be surprised to know our PG&E bill averages just $70 a month – and our propane bill is just $35 a month in winter,” Mary Bebout said.

Energy-efficient insights and lights

Three strategically placed skylights make the most of natural light. Fluorescent lighting inside and out also minimizes energy use.

Although the many carriage lamps you see look old-fashioned, it’s good to know they’re powered by energy-efficient lighting. Even the magical ground lighting by the creek front is energy efficient.

“Since you don’t see log homes every day, what advice would you offer to people considering buying or having a log home built?”

Russ Bebout was a licensed contractor for log homes and is a consultant for Heritage Log Homes of Northern California, so he answered without hesitation: “Customize the home to fit the property. It’s so important. In addition to being beautiful, rustic and practical, log homes are versatile. With a little imagination and planning, it’s easy to make them look right at home with your property.”

“The other important thing to remember,” Mary Bebout said, “is to put your own heart and soul into how you decorate them. Yes, they lend themselves to simple, rustic furnishings, but don’t be afraid to have interesting contrasts. You can mix rugged with romantic – even modern if that’s your preference.”

Before I left, I wanted to visit the gracious outdoor living area once more. That’s where Mary Bebout’s good advice really shines. With a wood-carved bar and plasma screen behind it, with its large, gracious furniture, a hot tub and many hanging plants, you feel this is the place to truly enjoy a glass of wine, surrounded by a rustic, log-built home, a stunning creekside view and the subtle sophistication that mixes traditional building with modern living.

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