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CA: This shed is the coolest thing. It was leaning way over to the side when we first moved in, and everyone said we should bulldoze it. But we loved it the way it was and couldn't imagine destroying it. We could have straightened it, but we didn't. We've done a lot of work to restore it and preserve its sweet lean. Everyone who sees it has shed envy. Right now it's Obbie's tool shop. But my hope is that in a few years it will be my studio.
SG: How did you know that this home was "the one"?
CA: I sat on the front porch and just had this overwhelming feeling that it was home. I spent years in a state of chaos, moving from house to house, and in all that time I never felt like I was at home anywhere. I just had a breakdown. I wept. I felt like I was home for the very first time in my life.
SG: Where is your favorite spot in the house?
CA: In the summer, it's outside. But in the colder months my favorite place is on the couch with a cup of coffee looking out the picture window.
The central living space is a cool, calm mix of white and sage green. The couple plans to rip out the ceilings, which were dropped sometime in the '60s to preserve energy and lower heating costs.
SG: What was the state of the house when you moved into it?
CA: Pretty sad. It smelled bad, and everything needed to be done. The carpet had to go, nasty built-in bookshelves needed to come out, windows — everything. The people who had lived here were heavy smokers. The first time I came out here I stopped in town and had a refrigerator delivered. I showed up at the house with a fridge, a mattress and a tub of TSP (trisodium phosphate). I thought, "What the hell have I gotten myself into?"
SG: Tell me about the art in this room.
CA: We filled the walls with meaningful art. The painting above the sofa is of a family member's home in Paso Robles, California. It was painted by my mother's friend, Willa Sell. Obbie created the framed eagle drawing to the right when he was just 12 years old as a nod to his Native American roots.
Sofas: Z Gallerie; paint: Olive Sprig, Olympic Ultra; red corner lamp: yard sale
The dining room is opposite the living room and usually filled with morning light. Connie found the huge antique German sideboard, which she painted white. She admits, "I stewed about painting it for three years and then finally took the plunge."
SG: What inspires your personal aesthetic?
CA: Sadly, everything inspires me. I have a floundering sense of style. If I visit a beach house, I want to come home and do the beach house look. Same with log cabin, or Native American, or Southwest, or desert or English B and B. I want to try it all. Since I'm in a farmhouse, I sort of have to do a country style.
The classic blue and white master bedroom has a wide bay window that faces the front of the property. Connie chose bedding that matched her mother's blue and white porcelain pottery.
SG: Where is your favorite place to shop for your home?
CA: Thrift stores and antique places. We have an old place and I like old things. And I love a deal!
Blue chair: JD Mercantile in Richland; paint: Navigation, True Value; bedding: Tuesday Morning; throw pillow: Ikea
The upstairs guest room reflects the Western terrain and the colors of the surrounding high desert. A hat rack, woven rugs and a vintage Grand Canyon wall hanging help to create a backcountry ambience.
The couple calls the upstairs bedroom the "AARP Dorm." Several beds can be pushed together to create king-size sleeping arrangements, and there's a '70s-era accordion room divider.
Grandchildren frequently visit and enjoy sharing these cozy quarters, which Connie has lovingly outfitted with matching twin beds, handmade dolls and a vintage children's desk.
CA: One of the main reasons we purchased this home was to facilitate family gatherings. We wanted a beautiful place where our kids could relax and bring their children.
Bedding: Target; desk, chair: yard sale
The Atkinsons purchased the home in 2005 from Dan Forsea, a third-generation rancher. Forsea created a wrought iron sculpture as a gift for the Atkinsons, inspired by the hordes of quail that populate the property. It hangs on the side of Connie's potting shed next to an enormous lilac bush.
CA: We have made the most amazing friends here in the valley. I feel like they've been here all along, just waiting for me to show up and join the gang.
A yellow vintage rocking bench adorns the east side of the wraparound porch. Connie sewed the throw pillows using vintage tablecloths and handkerchiefs.
CA: We hadn't intended this to be our full-time home, but it grew on us big time. Every time I sit on the front porch, the house feels like it's mine. This home is my sanctuary. Obbie and I can't get enough of the peacefulness here. I sat out here for 20 minutes the other day and didn't hear one man-made sound. You can do that here.
SG: What do you love about gardening?
CA: I didn't know I liked gardening until I had space to garden. This place is called Richland for a reason. The soil is amazing. First I started a little perennial garden, and then I just went crazy and started digging everywhere. I don't know anything about gardening, and I didn't have a plan. I'm learning as I go. If a plant does well then it gets to stay. Next year, I'll try more veggies.
There are five outbuildings on the property, including a toolshed, a potting shed, a chicken coop, a storeroom and a barn.
CA: I always say, "My barn is like the ocean. I love to look at it, but I don't really need to go in." Obbie loves it, though. He's in there all the time.
SG: What was your proudest homeowner moment?
CA: I have it all the time. It happens when someone from the valley sees what we've done with the place. They can't believe it. It feels so good to give this beautiful home the love and tenderness it deserves.