By Mary Wakeford| April 26th, 2019
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Mary Beth and Bruce LeBoeuf both lost parents at a young age, which may explain why the couple has created such a sanctuary for their family.

They’ve lived in a home near Happy Valley Road and 47th Avenue for 25 years.

The importance of family is found in signage and photos throughout the 2,700-square-foot home that has been extensively updated through the years.  

Building a beautiful home

Mary Beth was 4 years old when her mother died of cancer. Bruce was 9 when his father succumbed to a heart attack.

For Mary Beth, the experience set a fire deep inside her to create a loving home filled with happy times.

For Bruce, the experience made him a self-taught fixer-upper. When bikes and household items broke, replacement was out of the question as money was scarce. That tenacity has served him well.

The two grew up in the John F. Long community of Maryvale in west Phoenix, just 2.7 miles apart. But they wouldn’t meet until years later, while both were students at Glendale Community College.

They married in 1990. Three years later, the couple began the search for a place to build their dream home.

A home in the ‘boonies’

In 1993, Happy Valley Road and 47th Avenue beckoned. Half-acre lots in the "boonies" were selling for $47,500.

They chose one with a northern exposure and a mountain view. They cobbled together a down payment on the lot with $6,000 from the sale of their first home and from Bruce selling his 1989 Toyota 4-Runner for $9,000.

The couple would picnic on their half-acre claim of dirt with their young daughter, listening to coyotes, bobcats and owls sing at night while the family stargazed. There were no traffic signals on Happy Valley Road in 1993. They often yearn for the old days of zero traffic.

The design elements for their home's layout came from a Maracay model, with a few modifications. Plans were drawn, approved by the city, and construction on the four bedroom/office, three-bath split-plan home began in 1994. 

Sweat equity and an abundance of family and friends with building trade talents — fortified with pizza and beer — built their home on Desert Hollow. 

A three-car garage and large patio bring the total under-roof footprint to 4,000 square feet.

Making a house a home

The family moved into the home in 1995, and welcomed their second child, a son, two months later.

The home has evolved with the family through the years. Bruce is a captain with the Glendale Fire Department and Mary Beth is a registered nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Bruce has worked to keep the home current between shifts at the fire department. It’s on its third phase of flooring; from tile to laminate, and currently sporting vinyl laminate click-in flooring. 

A single wood beam runs across the vaulted ceiling that spans the living/dining great room, also known as the shuffle board engagement area. Ten-foot ceilings abound in the common areas, with 9-foot ceilings in the bed/baths and hallways.

A free-standing two-story garage/workshop is Bruce's favorite space in the home. The expansive patio runs a close second.

Large windows take in views of the manicured lawn and pool area beyond. A playhouse loved by their children, now grown, remains at the back of the lot, awaiting the next generation.

A handy man in residence

Nearly every window in the home is dressed in upholstered cornices, with fabric chosen by Mary Beth and the build executed by Bruce. 

When asked how he learned the various trades he excels at, he says he's not that talented, he just researches and jumps in. Sometimes, it takes a few attempts, but he's willing to put the time and effort into each endeavor. 

His work is creative. When their children grew out of pink or light-blue custom-sized cellular blinds for arched windows, he spray-painted them shades befitting young teens. 

Bruce just completed renovations on the master bedroom and bathroom with a makeover that exudes Joanna Gaines' "Fixer Upper" style.

He hung shiplap to feature walls in both rooms. 

In the master bath, he replaced a clumsy corner jet tub with a modern soaking tub. Rustic flooring complements the country hues. An open walk-in shower sits opposite the tub, and has been updated with wood plank ceramic tiling that features pebble accents on the floor and product niche.  

Bruce repurposed the bathroom’s 25-year-old oak vanity, adding a 2-by-4 to raise the cabinets and then painting them with a two-coat/scratch and sand application.

The gathering place

The kitchen was updated a few years ago, with granite countertops and an island enhanced with stacked stone facade. 

The kitchen and family room combo are Mary Beth's favorite space in the home, creating a gathering place for family, extended family and friends. 

Know of a unique home in metro Phoenix that is not on the market that should be featured? Email [email protected].

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