Photos by Chris Casella

Rock & Relaxation

Mount Parnassus, which looms over the ancient city of Delphi, was believed by ancient Greeks to be the home of the muses—where artists and musicians and poets drew the divine inspiration that created one of the greatest civilizations in history. It’s fitting then that its Granville incarnation serve a similar purpose for Dave Butler of the Black Owls, who has taken up residence there since 2003 in a beautiful, open, modern concept domicile nestled away on its cliffs.

“It’s great because we’re artists and musicians, so that’s kind of the Greek mythology—The Mountain of the muses. Where creativity is born. I didn’t know that when we bought the place.”

The beauty of the surrounding area is itself a feature of the décor, as the home is practically all windows in the front and at the rear. One almost has the impression of being outside, partially from the view and partially from the presence of nature within. A large indoor tree reaches to the sunroof, occupying nearly half of the main living area, and on every surface there are shells and stones and artwork from the four corners of the world.

“We travel quite a bit. North Africa, recently. A lot of the pieces you’ll see are textiles and natural elements we’ve collected. These rocks were from the beaches of Hastings. Pieces we got in Morocco. Oaxaca Mexico. Deserts in Egypt. Just about everything we have in here is a story about where we’ve been.”

A feline is seen lounging on a ledge. What initially appeared to be a single omnipresent cat turns out to be four similar-looking cats that live in the home.

“This is cat heaven, man. If you were to die, and you wanted to come back as an animal, I would highly suggest coming back as a cat that lives at the Butler residence. It’s about as close to Nirvana as you can get. They have the run of the place. They have free medical. Free dental. It’s a great program.”

The remainder of the upper level houses bedrooms and a modern kitchen that Butler and his wife, Amy, crafted from what “looked like a walled-in taco hut from the ’70s.” The lower level is all business—and gorgeous business at that. Amy, a fabric designer by trade, keeps a studio there with bolts of Technicolor fanfare. Vibrant colors and intricate patterns adorn much of the furniture as a result. Dave’s office is an homage to music, including his own work and that of his acquaintances along the way.

“Half the fun of being in a band is making the posters,” said Butler about the artwork on the walls. Pointing to a be-stickered surfboard in the corner, he admits “it’s actually a total crap board. That’s why I have it covered in stickers. I kept collecting all these stickers, and I thought ‘what am I gonna do with all this stuff.’ So, I got this crappy surf board and said ‘there it is! I’ll just gonna plaster this thing.’”

A walk outside reveals a garden of Eden on the hillside with various plants and flowers and water elements. Butler mentions that he’ll soon go to work filling the many empty pots outside. This isn’t just a pretty house, meant to sit there and be appreciated. It’s an evolving collection inside and out that the Butlers take pride in developing.

“This was all woods when we bought the place. Literally all these stones—we did all of this. We brought it in and I laid out this. I do all the hardscaping and Amy does all the landscaping. I built these walls myself,” explains Butler.

Though he has enjoyed many years grinding it out in the rock scene, Butler says this semi-isolated locale is where he looks forward to hanging his when he gets home. He affectionately refers to Granville below as “Grover’s Corners” and touts the benefits of its location outside the bustle of the city.

“It’s the serenity and the escapism. We can just unwind.  We’re a little bit out of the zeitgeist of the city. We’re a little bit autonomous out here.  We’re not trying to kill it at Ace of Cups every weekend. Twenty-five years in music, and you learn a little about balance.” He goes on. “I’m 50 years old. This is our final home.”