Inspiring Spaces: Pageo Lavender Farm
by Dana Koster
When Patty and George Kapor first purchased the Turlock land that would become Pageo, they knew they wanted to turn the 10-acre plot of earth and rustic old buildings into a working lavender farm. What they didn’t know was that they had just unwittingly purchased the very land where Patty’s father met Patty’s mother back in the 1940s. “Once we knew this was where my mom and dad met, we felt we had to do something special with it,” Patty said. And something special they did.
In 2010, the Kapors were granted a permit to turn their little piece of purple-dappled heaven into a wedding venue. Since then, over 150 couples have been married at Pageo, and it’s easy to see why – as soon as you open your car door in their lavender-field-flanked parking lot, you’re hit with the heady, soothing scent of their signature crop. And as you walk into the venue itself, you have the sensation of entering a secret garden: soaring pines and native Black Locust trees stretch up towards the clouds. Hedges and planters full of flowers create private nooks for guests to eat, drink and be merry in. Though it’s easy to miss this detail during the day, the branches of the trees and eaves of the buildings have also been strung with twinkle lights so that as soon as the sun goes down, the whole area glows golden.
Walk in further, and you’ll see clusters of converted farm buildings, elevated by the addition of artisan metal roofing and shabby chic furniture hand crafted by George himself. In summer, after the harvest, Patty and George string bundles of fragrant lavender together and hang them to dry in the rafters.
The Kapors describe Pageo as a work in progress, and they’re constantly making additions. One such structure is a small silo they’ve transformed into a display area for wedding cakes. Currently, they’re planning the addition of an English lavender labyrinth and a wine tasting room, though they don’t have projected finish date for either at the moment – fans and guests will just have to stay tuned.
Inspiration Q-and-A with Patty and George Kapor of Pageo Lavender Farm
DK: Where do you find inspiration?
PK: My grandmother was very inspirational for me. She was always gardening and making everything from scratch. I’ve been a gardener since I was 5 years old, and I love taking a little seed and seeing it grow into this big plant.
DK: How would you describe your style?
GK: Rustic sophistication. Pottery Barn, Restoration-Hardware-ish.
PK: Eclectic. Everybody seems to see something different when they come out here.
DK: What’s your proudest DIY project?
GK: For me, it’s this area as a whole. I’m happy turning something that was just dirt into something we enjoy and that other people enjoy, too. It’s still an honor to have a young couple want to get married on our property.
PK: Ever since I met my husband, he’s wanted to work with wood, to make things. He’s a project guy. A lot of different things around here that you see, he’s made. He made the bar and this table.
GK: Most of the tables that I’ve been making are with zinc, but this is just old galvanized tin. It’s interesting utilizing things that we threw away 20 years ago. Now I’m trying to get it all back, but I have to pay for it! I look at things that I used to look at as junk in a new light – what can I make out of this, how can I repurpose it or reuse it or make something out of it? It’s fun.
DK: Did you source any of your decorations or projects locally?
PK: We try to utilize everything we have access to, so for about 30 years, we’ve been collecting and keeping things. This piece with the zinc on it – George’s father was in heavy equipment, and so that was in his shop and it had all the nuts and bolts and tools in it. We loved it so much and that we revamped it, put the zinc on and everyone just loves it out here. Anything we think is cool from the old days we want to keep and reuse.
GK: The roof on that other building – that’s an old chicken egg house that used to be on the other property, and I’m ashamed to say that if I had my way, it would be in a landfill somewhere, but fortunately Patty won that argument. We gutted it and now it’s a bridal room. But the roof used to be shingles, and I came over here one day in 2005 or 2006 and there’s a big pile of used shakes sitting there. Patty was driving through town and someone was reroofing a house and she asked what they were going to do with the shakes. They said they were going to haul them to the dump, so she says no you’re not – follow me! And so we repurposed them.
DK: What has been your biggest challenge?
GK: Actually growing the lavender is a challenge. Our lavender sits on roughly an acre and a half of this ten acre property, and in that acre and a half there are three different soil types. Everything is on drip lines, so in that length of drip line you can have clay, hard pan and sand – one plant’s getting adequate water, one’s not getting enough, one’s getting too much. We struggle with that out in the field.
DK: What’s your best advice for people who are looking to update their space?
GK: Be prepared for hard work.
PK: It is a lot of work! But we’re really grateful and we’ve met so many wonderful people. It’s just a lot of fun. If you enjoy and love what you’re doing, it’s not work.