Home & Garden

‘A touch of glam and gold.’ SLO designer turns farmhouse into a romantic vacation rental

As a designer, Pattea Torrence is a force. She’s known for taking on the immense task of reviving the century-old Old Edna townsite in Edna Valley.

But when Torrence purchased her latest venture, The Bee’s Knees Fruit Farm in San Luis Obispo, she experienced something brand new: uncertainty.

“Every little detail, the condition of the house, was pristine,” she said. “I was afraid at first to add my touches.”

Torrence has since conquered her hesitancy. Today, the 1916 farmhouse is a three-bedroom farm stay and vacation rental that reflects her romantic yet refined, antique-rich aesthetic.

Torrence found the property in 2018, just before finalizing the sale of Old Edna to Sextant Wines.

Formerly a private residence, it had every feature she was looking for.

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This red door became the basis for a rich color palette at The Bee’s Knees Fruit Farm in San Luis Obispo. Caron Krauch

The house is just a few miles outside the city limits, yet sits on nearly five acres. It’s surrounded by lush, park-like landscaping as well as 43 mature fruit trees and 150 linear feet of assorted berries.

There is rich farmland adjacent for Torrence’s son, Kienun Kocun, who is a hay farmer.

In addition to the main house, there is an 1800s barn, converted into an apartment where Kocun lives. A light-filled workshop in the barn is where Torrence restores her antique finds and has revived her passion for creating fine art.

When she bought the property, Torrence envisioned guests waking up to home-cooked breakfasts in the gourmet kitchen and sitting on the wraparound porch, taking in views of Hollister Peak.

Its new look puts a sophisticated spin on her signature rustic elegant style.

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The Bee’s Knees Fruit Farm in San Luis Obispo reflects owner Pattea Torrence’s romantic yet refined aesthetic. Caron Krauch

“I call it classic-traditional,” she said, “with a touch of glam and gold.”

The house’s previous owners had performed an extensive renovation which included setting the structure around 1,000 feet further back from Los Osos Valley Road for more privacy.

In addition to necessary repairs, they added details such as crown molding, solid cherry flooring and marble in the bathrooms.

The house itself inspired a transformation in Torrence’s style.

Its color scheme, for instance, didn’t initially jibe with her personal tastes.

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The main living areas of The Bee’s Knees Fruit Farm in San Luis Obispo have a rich, jewel-toned color palette inspired by the farmhouse’s red door. Caron Krauch

“The front door was red,” she said. “At first I could not wait to paint it. However, it’s grown on me.”

The red door became the basis for a rich, jewel-toned color palette in the main living areas.

Torrence’s first purchase was a large, red vintage wool Karastan rug. Next came a red sofa and chair set purchased at an estate sale.

Torrence did temper the masculine feel of the room.

She kept some features, such as dark woods and a black leather banquette. To balance them out, she purchased a French Country dining room set at a thrift store and refinished it with white chalk paint, rubbed with stain for an antique finish.

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Atascadero artist Lauren Birkhahn painted this mural in the master suite of The Bee’s Knees Fruit Farm in San Luis Obispo. Caron Krauch

The same treatment brightened up the room’s dark wood chandelier.

In the large master suite, the style is romantic and dreamy. An ethereal color palette, ornate furnishings, crystal chandeliers and gilded accents creates a dreamy honeymoon or guest suite.

Grounding this airy space is a mural behind the bed depicting a scene along Los Osos Valley Road that Torrence commissioned from Atascadero artist Lauren Birkhahn.

Torrence wanted to convey a feeling of “restfulness, something very peaceful, pastoral and nature-filled,” she said.

The master bath was already renovated to be “like what one might find in a luxury hotel,” she explained.

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Marble tiles, a huge soaking tub, walk-in shower and granite countertops give the master bath at The Bee’s Knees Fruit Farm in San Luis Obispo a lavish feel. Caron Krauch

Marble tiles, a huge soaking tub, walk-in shower, granite countertops and a dormer window give the space a lavish feel.

Torrence stepped out of her comfort zone to let husband Jeff Kocan decorate the downstairs media room with a masculine feel, which contrasts with her more feminine aesthetic.

He incorporated western artifacts, weathered woods and a dark color palette. A kitchenette and bar created from a demolished closet makes the room ideal for casual entertaining. Guests began arriving at the farm in April. As with most farmstays, they are invited to participate in farm life, picking fruit to enjoy and interacting with the ducks and chickens.

Torrence plans to offer fruit tastings soon — a departure from the days of Sextant wine tastings at Old Edna.

Her newest endeavor has been deeply satisfying, she noted, and an opportunity to express herself.

“Even though I can be a casual sort of hippie girl, this is really who I am,” she said.

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A painting of the Old Edna townsite is on display at The Bee’s Knees Fruit Farm in San Luis Obispo. Caron Krauch


Freshen up furniture. Chalk paint is a good choice for refinishing furniture because it can be used as is or diluted to reveal wood grain and doesn’t require priming. Its matte finish allows you to add an additional coat of stain, which adds character to the piece and highlights its lines.

Anchor the space with a dramatic feature. Try a hand-painted mural, or a large gilded mirror.

Dress windows simply to keep the focus on views. If privacy and light control aren’t issues, a valance or sheer panels may be all you need.

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The Bee’s Knees Fruit Farm in San Luis Obispo has three bedrooms, including this one. Caron Krauch

The Bee’s Knees Fruit Farm

The Bee’s Knee’s Fruit Farm is located at 5840 Los Osos Valley Road in San Luis Obispo. Rental rates are $250 to $750 a night. Call 805-710-3701 or visit www.beeskneesfruitfarm.com for more informatin.

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