Butte Creek Canyon ResidenceChico, California
Originally purchased in 2007, this property perched above Butte Creek between Chico and Paradise was envisioned as a weekend getaway. But over time, the owners fell more and more in love with the beautiful year round creek nestled in a steep canyon peppered with native Sycamores, Oaks and Poplars. They determined to make this their primary residence, taking advantage of the spectacular catch and release Winter Steelhead, and Spring run Salmon fly fishing, accessible right at the edge of their land.
In 2015 they sold the original modular home, and built their dream home. Landscape design here provided plenty of challenges, with hot, dry summers, many mature trees, and soil that was mostly made up of bowling-ball sized river cobbles. Tough native and non-native plant material provides year-round foliage and blooms on little water. A plunge pool opposite the pool house under the shade of mature oaks provides relief from the summer heat, with views of the creek. Quail, deer, turkeys, and bears all visit the garden, but were anticipated, and have not done significant damage. The large green field along the creek accommodates badminton and golf practice, and has hosted two fund-raiser concerts for Friends of Butte Creek and the volunteer fire department, and one family wedding (so far).
Sadly the Camp fire in November of 2018 forced the evacuation of this small neighborhood, and several neighbors lost their homes. This property was spared, likely due to a combination of fate, preemptive brush clearing, and a perimeter of irrigated planting, gravel paths and the crushed rock drive. Since the fire, the owners have worked with PG&E, family and friends to clear burnt and downed brush and trees, helped their neighbors rebuild the bridge that serves the neighborhood, and have removed approximately 100 trees on their own property.
Architecture: Len Goldman
Construction: RMS Builders
Landscape Construction: Craig Stepanek and Owner
Photography: Eileen Roche Photography