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The ‘hold-your-horses’ home off Thoroughbred Loop

Jack and Marilyn Scholl’s search for the ideal retirement property lasted more than five years while they traveled throughout Northern California and Oregon.

“What an epic,” Marilyn Scholl recalled. “But then, our retirement requirements were pretty complex.”

A commercial property management specialist and an accomplished equestrienne, she wanted five acres with grazing, arenas and a barn to accommodate her three hunter/jumper thoroughbreds (two of which are semi-retired).



On the other hand, Jack Scholl, a general contractor and retired Navy captain, had a different agenda.

“I wanted a place where I could fish and hunt nearby. I also wanted a large workshop area,” he said.




Their different expectations were compatible, and Grass Valley fit the bill. But here comes the real challenge: In addition to wanting a horse property, Marilyn Scholl also wanted “a home where we could entertain comfortably, with a bit of style and sophistication.”

Can you mix style with rural living, especially when you’ve got horses, visiting family and friends, dogs, and the inevitable muddy boots and paw prints?

Their well-planned, 2,300 -square-foot, three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom Grass Valley home with a large arena area, eight-stall barn, covered round pen and gigantic workshop say, yes, you can.

The trick is to compromise, making your design and decorating choices somewhere between rustic and stylish.

“The minute we drove up to the front gate, we knew we’d found the perfect place,” Marilyn Scholl said. “The long driveway borders the large front paddock, and it felt like home right away.”

The area between the barn and the garage is paved with excellent car-and-trailer parking and turnaround area. Strategically placed hoses by the garage help reduce shavings and mud being tracked into the house from the barn.

The water runoff goes directly to the plants and shrubs nearby. A beautiful fenced, formal garden with fruit trees, vegetables, flowers and a well-tended lawn graces the back of the house.

The ranch-style home, with its Mexican tile roof and earthy colors, is spacious and bright. The kitchen, dining area and great room are open floor plan and perfect for entertaining, A loft office sits above.

Casual elegance andcommonsense

Each double-paned window frames a different but equally scenic view. The large fireplace in the great room provides comfort, intimacy and energy-efficient heat.

When the Scholls decided this was the home for them, they couldn’t wait to make major changes.

“Some of our ideas were based on personal preference, but we agreed to hold our horses and live in the house before we did anything drastic,” Marilyn Scholl said.

The home had been owned previously by two well-known local horse people, and many of their choices proved to be good ones.”

For example, the large 18-inch-by-18-inch Spanish floor tiles feature a mottled print.

“If I were to see them on their own, they wouldn’t be my first choice,” Marilyn Scholl admitted. “But having been here for over a year now, we certainly like the way they disguise our dog’s footprints when she runs in out of the rain.”

Decorating remains a work in progress, she added.

“I really am taking my time before I repaint and redesign,” she said. “It’s amazing what we learn when we take our time. Living in a house before you make changes enables you to make better choices about colors, furniture, lighting and floor coverings.”

Locating and deciding where and how to live your retirement years is a huge step – one that has to accommodate both partners’ priorities. Jack and Marilyn Scholl are looking forward to making their next years the best ever in their rural retirement paradise here in Nevada County.

Courtney Ferguson, of Nevada County, writes about properties, their owners, their lifestyles and the choices they make.


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