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HOMEOWNERS - Robert and Debra Coffee

HOME SITE - Nevada City, California

BUILT - 1989

INTERIOR HIGHLIGHT - The routlette table in the saloon was once in the collection of the Gene Autry Museum.

Kitchen Comforts

Working saloon

Nevada City, California — The town of Nevada City, California, is a living museum to gold rush days gone by. And tucked amid the cedars and firs in the foothills of the Sierras, there's one more treasure: the home of Robert and Debra Coffee.

The location proved perfect for the pursuit of the couple's passions — Debra's love of horses and Robert's fascination with of one the wildest aspects of the old West (saloons and gambling). To look at the stately stucco Colonial, you might guess it was built in 1889, not 1989.

It was originally built to recapture the scale of a grand Victorian era which, unfortunately, was not always compatible with contemporary realities … especially when the Coffees bought the house in 1999 and launched into remodeling.

"The staircase was so narrow, we couldn't get the furniture upstairs." says Robert. So they replaced it. They also replaced nearly every light fixture to match the Victorian style of the house.

This house is a stately stucco Colonial, built in the foothills of the Sierras. It embodies Wild West luxury. Shop Outdoor Living.

Outside, a cabana and swimming pool were added. Inside, the kitchen was the first room they tackled. "We tore that kitchen apart," said Debra. "Installed a new stainless steel hood and replaced the countertops with blue pearl granite." Mahogany flooring was laid in the kitchen and continued throughout the first floor, including the living and dining room.

When you walk through an arched doorway in the back of the living room, you enter not just an addition, but a remarkable gateway to the past. It's an authentic saloon that adds an additional 1,300 square feet to the house. Walking through the archway connecting the living room to the saloon is, as Robert says, "like walking back in time."

"When the sunlight hits it, it lights up like a spotlight."

The 22-foot ceiling not only complements the existing roofline, but creates a sense of grand scale. It's also home to Robert's extensive collection of authentic Wild West memorabilia. And everything about the room captures the spirit of an authentic saloon — starting with the bar.

"I looked all over the country looking for bars. None really fit, and then I found a company that made bars from the old West. I told them what I was looking for and they were able to make it."

Constructed from African mahogany, with massive beveled mirrors, the bar forms a backdrop to rare gaming tables, saloon paraphernalia, and other memorabilia. The 1904 grand Victorian stained glass window that stands 9 feet tall and 4-1/2 feet wide creates an instant focal point on the opposite wall of the casino. "When the sunlight hits it, it lights up like a spotlight," Robert notes.

Other star attractions include a roulette table purchased at auction from the Gene Autry Museum and a turn-of-the-century roulette wheel with clawfoot legs. Shop Furnishings & Décor.

"We've had a few parties in here," Debra tells us. "But all electronics are carefully hidden from view to preserve the effect." Make no mistake: this is not a museum, but a working saloon.

Future plans include adding more stained glass pieces, crafted by Debra, for the bar. And of course, there's that next addition to the saloon waiting to be discovered by Robert somewhere out there in the old West.

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