The more I think about what I want to do once my youngest daughter is off to college, the more I realize how open-ended that question is. As Jim Mercier, one of our homeowners, puts it, “It’s back to what you want to do—as opposed to what you have to do.”
Jim and his wife Chris came to us with their dream floorplan after being inspired by the outdoor living they saw in sunny Phoenix, and they asked us to build their custom home in one of our communities at the Bridgewater Club in Carmel. They were ready to downsize dramatically—from 6,200 square feet to 2,200 square feet—and reclaim some of the hours and days they used to spend on their home’s weekly upkeep.
Here, Jim gives us an inside look at how his new home has freed him up to do the things he really loves.
First, tell us about your new place. What are your favorite areas in your home to spend your time?
One of my favorite features is when you walk out onto the patio, we have a huge fireplace out there. For my wife and I, fires have always been relaxing, so that was a big draw in what we wanted. Our kitchen, living, and dining areas are all one big room, and the dining area is overlooking the pond. In our last home we had lots of dining areas and places where we could eat dinner—and lots of expensive dining room sets we never used. Now there’s just one, and it’s the best.
You’ve been in your new home for 13 months now, and you haven’t had to do any yard maintenance or snow shoveling—what keeps you busy instead? Any new hobbies you’ve been able to pick up since moving?
Golf! I stopped playing after college, and there just wasn’t time once the kids came along. Now I get to go out on the green sometimes four days a week after work. I play with my wife, and there are some couples in the neighborhood we play with too.
But my big hobby is cooking. Our new kitchen is a chef’s dream. I cook every night, and I love to put together two- to three-hour dinners, especially on the weekends. Our new home afford me the time of doing what I love without the pressure of doing this and this and this.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed in your lives since you moved?
In our previous house, I worked to maintain the inside and outside. Trust me, trying to keep 6,200 square feet clean is all you want. It could take your whole Saturday. And then you turn around and have to take care of the yard on Sunday. Here, you hear the sound of lawn mowers, and you actually relax, because you know it’s not you.
My sister-in-law came out to visit us at our new place, and she went with us to the gym and then the pool and then to lunch at the clubhouse, up and back on the golf carts. Afterward, she looked at me and said, “You don’t even carry a billfold, do you? You know you live at a resort!” And it’s true.