At their Marysville ranch, Lone Oak Longhorns, Heather and Ron Thompson raise Texas Longhorns. ‘They’re like show horses,” says Heather. ‘In Texas, they use them like lawn ornaments.’
A country girl returns to her hometown, family in tow, to embrace rural life.
By Marybeth Bizjak
Photography by Nicole Dianne
Interior design: Whitney Fecteau, Design Shop Interiors
Home design: Michael Desmond
Construction: Lexington Construction
GROWING UP in rural Marysville, Heather Thompson couldn’t wait to leave. She remembers her parents saying, “One day, you’ll appreciate living here in the country.” It turns out they were right. A couple of years ago, Heather moved back to Marysville with her husband, Ron, and their two kids.
Their new base of operations: a low-slung, one-story modern farmhouse that sits on almost 13 acres. In a stunning reversal, the former city slickers now breed registered Texas Longhorn cattle. The “fancy cows,” as Heather calls them, live out on the back forty along with one lamb, two pygmy goats and 16 chickens. Farm living, it turns out, suits them to a T.
The Thompsons are only the second owners of the 6,300-square-foot house, which was built in 2012. The couple fell in love with the house’s generous proportions and open living spaces but knew it needed some lightening up. So they enlisted the help of interior designer Whitney Fecteau of Folsom-based Design Shop Interiors. Fecteau, who lives in a farmhouse of her own in Newcastle, shares their rustic-modern aesthetic and understood their desire for a brighter look.
They painted the home’s dark exterior white and added pine shutters. Inside, they lightened up the walls. Then Fecteau went to town, furnishing and accessorizing with new and existing pieces. In the large living room, with its soaring ceiling and truss beams, she created several seating areas and a dining space with a massive custom table that seats 10. A set of mounted longhorns—a housewarming gift from fellow ranchers Justin and Julie Hansen of Diamondback Ranch—hangs over the fireplace.
Separated from the living space by an entertainment wall, the kitchen was already pretty spectacular, with a ginormous island, custom cabinets and top-of-the-line appliances. “We started with awesome bones,” says Fecteau, who painted the cabinets light gray and added upholstered cushions to the built-in benches.
Between the living room, kitchen and a covered outdoor patio, the house is perfectly set up for entertaining. Four sets of sliding glass doors allow the Thompsons to open up the house for great indoor-outdoor flow. “It’s pretty accommodating,” says Heather. “We had a party for 80, and there were plenty of places for people to sit.”
The couple’s two children—16-year-old Lianna and 7-year-old Bodhi—have taken to the simple life. Both participate in 4-H. Everyone enjoys watching the longhorns out in the pasture. “It’s been really good for our family,” says a happy Heather.