Janet Miller’s dream home in British Columbia’s interior illustrates why so many pioneers were drawn into the lure of the mighty Chilcotin area.
By Deanna Kristensen
Nestled on the property of the historical Chilco Ranch at Hanceville, British Columbia, Miller’s log home would tantalize the heart of any western romantic. Since the 1880’s, the Chilcotin has been home to the historic Chilco Ranch. Miller Ranches Ltd. (Miller’s parents Dean and Lorraine Miller) have owned and operated the ranch since 1992. The family goal was to purchase a ranch that had amazing water, grass and timber, where you could run a large scale cattle operation, right out its back door.
Repurposing the essence of the ranch was Miller’s approach to creating this magnificent 4500 square foot (including basement) log home assembled by High Mountain Log Homes of Clinton, B.C. Having 130 years of history to build upon, Miller incorporated all available elements of the Chilco, to bring character to this new gem of the Chilcotin.
Majestic views are certainly what sold early settlers on this area. As described by Richard P. Hobson, in his legendary novel, Grass Beyond the Mountains, the Chilcotin area is truly the “Last Great Cattle Frontier on the North American Continent.” The vast spectacle of this unspoiled landscape is right-off Miller’s front porch.
“I had to be able to stand out on my desk and see the Chilcotin River . . . the Davey Allen hayfield and the big rock face overlooking the river that turns gold purple and orange when the setting sun hits it,” smiled Miller.
A cup of coffee, a million dollar view of the Chilcotin River, is now part of Miller’s daily routine.
Not only does Miller’s home have an amazing panoramic view of the Chilocotin Valley, it is also conveniently nestled adjacent to the Chilco’s ranch site. An addition to this property is a quaint 700 square-foot log cabin (built out of excess materials from the building project), which now facilitates renters and ranch visitors.
Hanceville is 97 kilometers west of Williams Lake on the Chilcotin-Bella Coola Highway and it is a small, isolated town. With contractors in short supply in the area, Miller and her family took on the project themselves.
“The easy part was picking the log package. It took three-and-a-half days to set up the house and the log cabin. We did the majority of the work ourselves. There weren’t any contractors who wanted to come out here.”
The building of this home became a true pioneering-style project.
Miller’s gallery styled kitchen is her favorite area and ultimately the heart of her home. Granite countertops and custom Mother Hubbard’s Cupboards kitchen cabinetry (built by Coutry Woodworkers of Powell River B.C.) – combines high-end design with many western decor items in this area of the home. The focal point of the kitchen is the dramatic view towards the home ranch, which can be seen from the windows above a traditionally styled farmhouse sink. The open arrow brand of the Chilco is branded into the tin cabinet doors below this area, punctuating the ranching nature offered up in the style of the decor. The home’s open floor plan allows the dynamic kitchen area to flow over in the living and dining areas, for entertaining during family gatherings and holidays. Miller’s kitchen is designed for those who not only enjoy cooking, but for those who love the character of life on this ranch.
Five years after Miller and her family began the building process, this log home now emits a new dimension to the Chilco Ranch estate. One that seems timeless and a natural progression to the legacy of the ranch.
“It’s home,” smiled Miller.