Karen Lopez wanted to own a horse and live in a wood house reminiscent of America’s classic Western television series Bonanza. Forty years ago, Lopez and her husband, John, (who died in 2010) bought almost 1ha of land at 1586 Beulah St in Hanford, Califonia, to live out their dream.
The couple doubled the size of the existing home, built a great room with special wood floors branded with irons and created a backyard retreat with barrel seats, rustic furniture and a horseshoe pit.
“I grew up watching Bonanza and wanted to live like that,” Lopez says. “I love cowboys – the Old West.”
There were horses too, for a time. Lopez jokes that she traded them in for something she didn’t have to feed – a motorcycle.
The 215sq m three-bedroom, two-bathroom house is a Western lover’s paradise. The small rustic kitchen with horseshoe drawer pulls has a 1920s- or 1930s-era refrigerator and stove.
A bedroom and a bathroom with Mexican tile sit off the kitchen as well as a cozy den built in what was once the tank house. After the original home in the front of the property burned in a fire, the owners moved into the tank house, which was built around 1966, Lopez says.
Walk into the den and up a few steps and you’re in the great room with a high ceiling and a tall rock fireplace.
A restored wood bar in the room is from Hanford’s old Ritz Cafe and a 1906 Brunswick pool table came from an old Corcoran bar. The pool table and bar stools come with the house.
Lopez has filled the room with cowboy nicknacks, inspired by F. McLintocks and Harris Ranch restaurants and Sierra Sky Ranch historic hotel and restaurant in Oakhurst where she once worked. There is a guitar, wagon wheels, animal head mounts on the walls and horse saddles.
The wood floors in the great room are special. The couple held a branding party in the backyard to prep wood boards for the floor. Family and friends came over, grabbed iron brands in the shape of a heart, squiggly lines and some letters, then burned them into the wood, says Lopez, who was a carpenter.
“There are a lot of sentimental things in here,” Lopez says.
Two bedrooms upstairs are filled with more country collectibles mixed in with cabin decor like a bear rug and snow-shoes. A door upstairs leads outside to the second-floor balcony with barrel tables and stools overlooking the large backyard entertaining space.
The back of the house looks like a building you’d find in an old Wild West movie with a gun-toting cowboy stumbling out the back door. Only here, you might find Lopez’ two large dogs.
Take your pick of seats in the yard from wine barrel chairs to a long dining table under shaded arbour, log stools, or benches near trickling water fountains or the horseshoe pit. And you have to cap off the night with a camp fire, of course. – The Fresno Bee/Tribune News Service