A rustic Texas-themed gate welcomes visitors to the 38-acre Peridot Farm at 729 Orchard Road in Whitesboro. Owner Sandy Thorell designed the property from scratch to pay homage to the adobe architecture she loves from the southwest.
“It was in my head and I had the books and everything and I actually had someone draw it,” Thorell said. “We sat down and I told her what I wanted. Peridot is a semi-precious stone that is green and I just felt like this was my little green gem and that’s why I named it Peridot Farm.”
Thorell moved here from Colorado with a friend and opened Selway Equine Therapy Center. After purchasing the land for her future home in Whitesboro, she began work on the barn/apartment. She lived in the apartment for three years observing the sun’s patterns over the property to determine the perfect building sight for her dream home.
The barn served as a layup center and overflow for the therapy center. The setup includes eight 12 by 14 foot stalls with individual turnouts. All of the corners are rounded to avoid horses becoming trapped. The area in front of the stalls is lit by a series of custom light fixtures made from upside down buckets.
Beyond mere functionality, the custom barn is adorned with ornate glass doors purchased by Thorell at an auction in Sanger. Formerly apartment doors, the number 51 still hangs on the doorway.
The barn was designed by Dorian Arledge of BonTerra Design. Other custom touches include a chandelier that hangs at the entrance to the barn made from an old Italian oxcart. Its twin was used to craft a picnic table that sits at the main house.
The barn includes a complete apartment with kitchen, office/living space, bedroom, bathroom, screened in porch and fenced yard. Unique details continue throughout the apartment with hand-painted doors that lead from the living area to the screened porch. The doors have been painted to look like natural wood.
Thorell explained that she no longer has horses on the property.
“I was always into horses but when we came here, we worked so hard that I didn’t have time to ride my horses,” Thorell said. “So eventually I gave up the ghost.”
Outside the barn are eight paddocks near several storage buildings. Halfway between the barn and the main house, a large windmill and water feature mark the fork from the main drive up to the home. The windmill was restored in Colorado and shipped to the farm and is currently used as a sculpture rather than a functioning piece of equipment. The nearby koi pond plays host to large goldfish rather than koi and is surrounded by unique statues and figures.
The southwestern architectural influence is immediately evident from the entrance to the main house. The exterior of the home is modeled after traditional adobe with a large archway to welcome visitors. A low profile metal roof continues the traditional southwest shape of the home.
The large arching wooden door leads into the open living room area centered around a traditional kiva. The kiva is a southwestern fireplace known for its unique shape. Lit niches display Native American contemporary decor throughout the room.
The television in the living room is hidden behind a painting. A switch on the wall raises the painting to reveal the television. The mechanism for this is called a coffin. True to the southwest theme of the home, the painting is called “The Old Santa Fe Trail” and was originally painted by John Young Hunter and then copied. It depicts a covered wagon scene.
The living and dining room are open to the custom kitchen. Colored artist glass brightens cabinets throughout the home.
A large studio and seating area leads off of the living room. Originally a screened-in porch, the space has been enclosed to provide a more comfortable work environment. The windows along the back side of the home overlook the laguna style salt water pool.
“I call it my indoor-outdoor house because of all the windows,” Thorell said. “You’ll find me outside more than you will find me inside.”
Adjacent to the pool, an arbor provides shade for outdoor living. The other side of the pool leads onto a small garden area. Filled with roses and tomatoes, the garden lies within the gated area of the main house.
A gate at the back of the yard leads onto a path winding down to a large pond. Near the pond, a covered swing serves as quiet seating for the area.
Thorell said the acreage has become too much work for her.
“With all of this land, I can’t do it by myself anymore,” Thorell said. “I wish I could pick this house and about five acres and put it somewhere else.”