If you are looking for a river front home with privacy, exceptional views, and a minimal carbon footprint, this is the home for you. Instead of just talking about the need to combat climate change, this is an opportunity to actually walk the walk.
The house is made largely of rammed earth, and all electrical power is provided by a photovoltaic off grid system. Recycled or renewable materials were used throughout the house. All appliances are energy efficient, and bathroom fixtures are all low flow.
This home is nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills in the small central valley community of Three Rivers, California, the Gateway to Sequoia National Park. The parcel is 25 acres in size and the house sits roughly in the middle. The south fork of the Kaweah runs through the property, with 600 feet of frontage on both sides of the river, for a total of 1,200 feet. The house sits on a bluff overlooking the river, above the flood plain, so no flood insurance is required. The property can be subdivided into 5 acre minimum lots. On a moonless, cloudless night, the Milky Way is clearly visible to the naked eye, owing to the absence of ambient light from neighboring properties.
The home is 3000 square feet, 2100 square feet on the first level, and 900 feet on the second floor. All of the main living areas are on the first floor. The second floor consists of two bedrooms, a full bath and a large office. The first floor walls are 18 inches thick and are made of rammed earth, which provides outstanding insulation both winter and summer, as well as excellent fire protection. The insulating effect of the rammed earth typically keeps the indoor temperature 15-20 degrees cooler than the outside during the summer months and 15-20 degrees warmer during the winter. The second floor is made of wood frame construction, but the exterior is completely covered with slate roofing tiles, which also provide excellent insulation and fire protection. All upstairs windows have insulating blinds. The flooring material on the first floor is slate, and upstairs it is Swedish oak.
The home is powered by an off grid photovoltaic system, with a solar panel array consisting of three separate racks containing 12 solar panels each. Each rack utilizes a passive system that tracks the sun, insuring maximum exposure of the panels to the sun from dawn to dusk. In the event of an extended period of overcast weather, the system also has a propane powered 20 KW backup generator that comes on automatically when the storage batteries reach a low voltage level and runs until the batteries are full. The backup generator runs infrequently, even in winter. All utility lines are underground. Owing to the construction materials and the off grid electrical system, the home has been featured in several ecofriendly home tours.
The interior is heated by means of a radiant heating system located under both the downstairs and upstairs floors. In addition, the great room contains a large river rock Rumford type wood burning fireplace which is 70 percent more efficient than a conventional fireplace. The master bedroom and breezeway fireplaces are also Rumford types. Summer cooling is provided by two evaporative coolers, which are rarely operated above the "low" setting. The area immediately adjacent to the house contains several large oak and sycamore trees which provide extensive shade during the summer.
The threat of fire is always present in the Sierra foothills, so this house has been designed to keep the threat to a minimum. In addition to the rammed earth and slate covered walls, the roof is made of metal. The only flammable material consists of window and door frames, and the roof eaves, which are enclosed. In addition, there is a 5,000 gallon water tank on site, connected to a fire hydrant which is easily accessible by the local fire department. Also, the current owners annually have dried brush cleared to a distance far in excess of the 100 foot minimum required by the fire department.
The house has a septic system and its own well. The 75 GPM well provides ample water for both household and irrigation needs. There is also a backup system that pumps water directly from the aforementioned 5,000 gallon tank.
The only fossil fuel used on site is propane gas. Total propane storage consists of more than 1,200 gallons, which could operate the gas appliances in the house (stove and ovens), the water heater and the backup generator for months without running out.
There is a large fully fenced garden consisting of eleven 5' by 8' raised beds, which provide much of the produce for the current owners throughout the year. In addition, there is an orchard containing a variety of stone fruit, citrus and nut trees. Both the orchard and garden are irrigated with automatic systems. There are also grape arbors containing two types of table grapes.
The kitchen cabinets are custom made of cherry wood, and all appliances are high end and energy efficient. There is a walk in pantry with three of the four walls built with rammed earth, so the temperature is consistently cool the year around.
The master bath contains two vanities, and a walk in closet with built in chests of drawers and slide out shelving. There is a huge step down shower/tub with mahogany framed windows on three sides looking out onto the natural landscape.
The attached two car garage also contains a 7' by 7' storage nook.
There is a large deck made from recycled plastic material adjacent to the lawn area which contains a six person electrically heated and operated Caldera spa, the most energy efficient spa available. If peace, quiet and refuge from the hustle and bustle of urbanized areas are something you are seeking, this property is a must see.
The home is part of Sequoia Oaks Estates, which consisted of 8 parcels ranging from 25-31 acres. Some of the parcels have been subdivided into 5 acre parcels or larger. The property immediately to the east is 26 acres, and the property to the north is about 12 acres. The property to the west consists of several 5 acre properties across the river, which front on South Fork Drive. The property to the south is part of a 3,000 acre cattle ranch.
The town of Three Rivers has a typical small town feel, with a very involved volunteer community. Owing to the proximity to Sequoia National Park, it is largely a tourist town, with several motels and restaurants. Most of the tourist activity is confined to the highway through town. One of the restaurants is listed in the Yelp top 100 in the United States. There are grocery stores, and a hardware store, as well as dental and medical facilities.
The Three Rivers School District serves students in grades K-8. High school students have their choice of either Woodlake High, or Exeter High, both of which have very good reputations for academics.
Most of the South Fork canyon consists of 5 acre minimum parcels. There are also several large cattle ranches, using both private and BLM land. Many of the property owners have horses and other large livestock. A section of Sequoia National Park is located at the end of South Fork Drive, about 10 miles up the canyon. It does not get nearly the traffic of the main part of the park, yet contains redwood groves and trails some of which lead to Mineral King.
|Agriculture in Area||Yes|
|Industry in Area||No|
|Air Pollution in Area||No|
|Cleaned with Green Products||No|
Hydronic Floor Heat (radiant)
Part of Cooling System
|Whole House Filtration||
|Whole House Vacuum||No|
Off the Grid
Solar - Photovoltaic
Wood Framing: 2x4, 2x6, etc.
Wood - Solid
Wood Dual Glazed
|Garage / Carport||Yes|
|Number of Cars||2|
|Garage Area||650 sqft|
44511 Buckhorn Trail
Three Rivers , CA 93271 US
Listing ID: 20414