The Harbucks have blended family heirlooms with new pieces to create their dream home.
Ryan and Leighton Harbuck have called Hoover home for a lifetime, it seems. Both attended and graduated from Hoover High School, and after college, they returned to their hometown for a job in 2016. That’s when they found their dream home in the Kirkman Preserve.
“We knew Hoover was where we wanted to raise our family,” Leighton says. After looking at the Kirkman Preserve, the Harbucks dubbed it Hoover’s “hidden secret.”
“What drew us to Kirkman was the convenient location, the schools, the sidewalks, the families. We fish and boat in the small lake, spend many weekends at the pool and have hosted numerous parties at the clubhouse.
Leighton, a realtor with Remax Advantage, says one of the selling points for the home they chose in Kirkman was additional living space and a play area for their two girls, Mae and Maggie. “A playroom was very important for the girls, and I wanted them to know their rooms were their own and for sleeping,” she says. As a family of four, the Harbucks also knew they needed a house that was move-in ready, but also gave some freedom to incorporate some of their own details to make the house truly theirs.
“For me, what makes my house a home is the people in it,” Leighton says. “Then in return, the décor to fit the needs of the people in it, my family. I love for things to have their own place and for each piece to have meaning.”
Knowing what her family loves helped set a specific style for the home. “We moved five times in six years, so I had the chance to change my style every time we moved, like a fresh start,” Leighton explains. “However, I knew when we were planting our lives in Hoover, and that this was our last move for a long time, we needed to implement a ‘timeless’ approach and style to our home.”
To achieve this, the Harbucks wanted to use colors, furniture and accent pieces that were timeless and not trendy. “After moving all those years, we wanted to be able to only add pieces we truly love and pieces that have meaning to the family,” Leighton says. “I have been a first-time home buyer, I have sold a house that we brought our babies home to, I have searched for a home in a city that I never thought I would call home. We have bought and sold a fixer upper, and we have bought a home that we love and added our own personal taste and attention to detail.”
“Choosing a favorite is hard, because each room has favorite pieces in it,” Leighton admits. “By far my favorite space is not an actual room, but instead our front porch because it is a cozy space where we spend most of our late afternoons.”
A porch swing Ryan made from reclaimed wood for Leighton’s birthday tops the list of favorite birthday gifts to date, she says. “I cannot tell you how many days we have prayed on this porch, watched our kids play, enjoyed a glass of wine, greeted neighbors, read, kissed scraped knees, colored, eaten meals and laughed out in this space,” Leighton says.
The dining room table was handmade by Ryan’s grandfather. To make it their own, Ryan stained the bottom of the table to add a personal touch. The antique buffet was also a family heirloom. “I love how my Grammy’s fine silver can be displayed in here, as well. Ryan has made handmade wooden candles out of trees and logs, so we always have these candles displayed as the centerpiece,” Leighton says.
Another piece Ryan built is a long sofa table for the living room that blends with a leather chair. It belonged to Leighton’s parents and has a story behind it with great meaning to their family. “The cigar table to the side of the couch was my great uncle JC’s, and the antique armoire is a favorite from my side of the family, as well,” she says. “It holds family games on the inside … I am a sucker for any board games.”
Another major need for the family—and Ryan’s favorite space—is a three-car garage. Ryan inherited both grandfathers’ woodworking tools, and not only did he need a space for them, but Leighton says they also wanted him to have a space to create pieces for the home and for the family.
The master bedroom is also a space of retreat for Ryan after a long day at work. “It was important for me to make our room cozy, light and fresh, and an oasis for us,” Leighton says. “We got our headboard from Pottery Barn right when we got married, our bedding from Ballard Design recently, and the lamps were a rare TJ Maxx find. The furniture pieces were a gift from Ryan’s parents when he graduated college. I had them refinished by a friend when we got married, and we changed out the hardware for some extra flair.”
The playroom is Mae and Mattie’s special space. “They love all things baby and art. We created an area for dolls and also a space for them to craft and draw.” The girls also love to read in their space and watch movies, play house and dress up. “I hear so many girly giggles from this room and love that they have their own space to let their imagination go.”
One of Ryan’s projects this year was turning some attic space into an office for Leighton. Having two young kids at home made a home office an essential tool in the realtor’s bag. “Having my work from home space has been crucial,” she says. The hardwoods are from an old building downtown and are between 75-100 years old. The antique table and filing cabinet are both family antique pieces the Harbucks inherited. “We went with a shiplap theme. What can I say? I am a sucker for Joanna Gaines (Fixer Upper). I love the way my little ‘retreat’ turned out.”
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