The Layton’s Story
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Forty years ago, they fell in love, twice.
Tom and Luana Layton met each other in a retail store in Livermore in 1977.
And within a few short months they not only married, they also purchased a beautiful home on First Street –now soon to be the site of Sunflower Hill, Livermore.
“Luana was very friendly and smart. I fell in love with her and we both fell in love with this house,” said Tom Layton. “When we saw it we said, ‘wow!’ do you think we could get this? And we did.”
They purchased the Spanish revivalist-styled home, built in 1927 by Robert Schenone, the great-grandson of city founder Robert Livermore, from the local Unitarian Church. Both Tom and Luana were in the real estate and mortgage business at the time and wanted an older house “with character.”
“The house just spoke to us. We really bought it sight unseen and we immediately held our wedding reception here,” said Luana.
That event would turn out to be one of many that would occur at the home.
Their combined children, Kevin, Kristine and Todd grew up there, amid chickens, cats, a special dog named Chloe and a goat named Corinna, who was very good at “landscape maintenance”.
“We’ve always felt this house was a gift,” said Luana. “We’ve shared it for many weddings and travelers.” But as their children grew and time progressed, they realized they were both ready for the next chapter in their lives. Although Luana grew up in New York and Tom in Ohio, Florida was always part of their family vacation travel plans. Now it called to them to reside there permanently. They plan to move to Delray Beach, Florida this Fall.
“But it was important to us to find the right new owner for this house,” said Luana. “It could not just be a business transaction.”
With a granddaughter on the Autism Spectrum, the Laytons knew of the need for residential housing for individuals with special needs. Luana also had a cousin with Down Syndrome and many years ago she’d worked as a Girl Scout troop leader for scouts with special needs. The connection to Sunflower Hill’s mission seemed perfect.
“I’ve always had a heart for individuals with special needs, “ she said. “Life is sacred and everyone is here for a reason and everyone has a gift. All of our gifts may be different but we can all fulfill our destiny.”
“We hope that the new residents of Sunflower Hill Livermore will be able to enjoy the peace and happiness that we’ve experienced here,” said Tom.
“And we’ll be back to visit,” noted Luana. “We know this will be a very special place.”