Driving down a long gravel road, past horses, fields, and farmhouses, it’s entirely appropriate to end up at the Coburg home of Shannon Connor Turner and her husband, Tycer Turner. The house, which matches its surroundings, features among its decor a family heirloom saddle and cowboy hats, and boots belonging to Tycer’s grandmother.
Shannon herself rides horses, although her horse is boarded at Springfield’s Arcuri Stables. Rather than horse pasture, the yard is devoted to a large sand pit for the couple’s 4 1/2-year-old son, Sawyer, who will soon have to share it with his 10-month-old sister, Emmylou (named after the famed country singer Emmylou Harris, naturally).
Outside, their 5-acre property needed little more than a fence and some landscaping. Inside, though, the 2,100-square-foot 1920s home they purchased six years ago needed a lot of help.
“The original home had an add-on in 1994,” says Shannon. “They put in the vaulted ceilings then so it feels more spacious, but it had become a rental so it was run-down and the features weren’t great. It had laminated countertops and linoleum floors and off-the-shelf cabinetry, plastic siding. It was very plain and basic.”
Tycer, an experienced cabinetmaker and builder, fixed all that. Pine flooring fitting the era of the house replaced the linoleum. Previously, the stove was in a small island in the center of the kitchen. That was replaced with a more useful granite-topped island and stainless steel appliances, including a windowed snack fridge.
“The goal was you could swivel on your stool and not get up to get a beer,” says Shannon with a laugh. “But it’s more of a chocolate milk fridge now.”
The island and the banquet seating they added around the kitchen table provides plenty of room for the large gatherings Shannon enjoys hosting.
“I like to have big groups of people over,” says Shannon, “and everyone gathers around the island.”
The flow through the original home was hampered by a mismatch of door and window placements. The window in the living room was transferred to a different wall, to provide a view of the property’s barn. The original Dutch front door is now a side entrance, after being moved 90 degrees to the adjacent wall. Upstairs, the doorway to the master bedroom was shifted and the bathroom entirely reconfigured to avoid an awkward display.
“Two walls in the master bedroom had doorways,” recalls Shannon. “So for walking through the room and for furniture arranging, it was hard. And it had a single shower that you could see from the entrance.”
In the children’s area, the bathroom was relocated to sit between the two rooms. A Pottery Barn canopy-covered bed is the main attraction in Sawyer’s room.
“We named Sawyer after Tom Sawyer, and we wanted him to be adventurous, and he is,” Shannon says. “His room is decorated in camping country style.”
Emmylou’s room is light and bright, with an Arizona-New Mexico vibe, complete with jute-like carpet and a display of metal horses that were once Tycer’s.
Between their two children and their chocolate lab, Oly (“Like the beer,” Shannon says), their growing family is crunched for space. Tycer is adding on a two-level, 1,300-square-foot addition, which will be connected through the laundry room off the kitchen.
“We’re adding on two more full bedrooms and full baths,” says Shannon. “One room will be a playroom and one will be for guests. And a second living room with a wet bar, which will be nice because it will open right to the porch with the sand pit.”
To enhance their outdoor living, they’ve added a roughly 800-square-foot deck with a large outdoor barbecue area and built-in hot tub. There’s an abundance of outdoor seating, and with the deck addition you can walk around the entire house and sit outside.
As an interior designer, Shannon’s decor is constantly changing as she scours antique shops and second-hand stores for herself and her clients. She gives cherished family items their due, like the living room coffee table that’s been in Tycer’s family for 60 years and her grandmother’s crystal chandelier that now lights the couple’s shared walk-in closet. Her most recent acquisition was an unfinished paint-by-numbers of a cowboy on a horse that she hung downstairs on a wall off the kitchen.
She’s currently planning the materials for the addition. A large windmill that she bought two years ago will go on the ceiling of the main room. “I find things that I like that I don’t know where they’re going, and I store them,” she says. “It’s always changing, but it’s a mix of family items and antiques. But it’s just always things that we love.”