July 12, 2016
By Jerome Obemark
– The Commercial Appeal –
Moving to a Collierville condo freed empty-nesters Jim and Lynne Gardner from yard work and other maintenance projects.
The move to a new condominium simplified their lives and put Jim closer to his job as controller at Spring Creek Ranch, a private, high-end, 320-acre golf course development north of Collierville.
He had been driving 40 to 45 minutes each way when they lived near Audubon Park.
“Now, it takes about 15 minutes. Most of it (time) is going through Collierville,” he said.
Lynne’s commute, however, is about twice it had been. She is a support person with W.R. Grace subsidiary in the 6400 block of Poplar. It takes her 20 minutes to get to work.
“It’s still not bad,” she said.
They lived near Park and Cherry for 17 years, but their three sons “have left the nest and our three grandchildren live out of town,” Lynne said.
In their mid-50’s and classic empty-nesters, they wanted to free themselves of yard work and home maintenance, as well as shorten Jim’s commuting time.
Jim had frequently “scouted” neighborhoods on his way home from work in the past three years, looking for zero-lot-line homes and condos.
Then, one Sunday when he wasn’t playing golf, he and Lynne saw an article about The Oaks as Schilling Farms in The Commercial Appeal and drove out to take a look at the development off Winchester east of Bailey Station.
“We wrote a contract (that) Monday,” Jim said. “We definitely wanted to go to Collierville. One-story condominiums are rare. We liked everything about it.”
Their new 1,800-square-foot home has three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and an open living area, where the kitchen, dining and living rooms all flow together beneath cathedral-like ceilings.
“We like the openness of the layout, the high ceilings and the abundance of arched windows,” Lynne said.
“We downsized. We had to get rid of a lot of things.”
And a lot quicker that they’d planned: their Audubon Park house sold within days of going on the market.
“When I put the sign in the yard, I saw these people looking at it,” said Ann Etta Moore, a Crye-Leike Inc agent. “They bought it after the second or third day.”
The quick sale gave the Gardners only a few weeks to move, but since their condo was still under construction, they lived in an apartment for eight weeks.
“We sold just about everything we owned. We kept the dining room table and one bedroom set,” Lynne said.
They finally moved into the condo near the end of July.
It is one of four units in a building designed and situated to look like one large home.
The only change they made from standard features was to have a friend install the carpet and floor tile.
Lynne said she’s almost done decorating, except for some window treatments.
“Moving is a lot of work and it puts a lot of stress on a marriage. We were fortunate. We didn’t have to make any big decisions,” she said.
Getting Jim to throw things out was a chore sometimes.
“If I did give anything up in the move, I didn’t miss it,” she said.
“It’s less work for me,” she added. “I spent a lot of time working on the yard.”
Though schools were not a factor in their decision to buy, the neighborhood and location were important.
“Collierville offered affordable housing, less congestion and lower taxes,” Lynne said.
Their home has mature trees behind it, giving it a feeling of being in the country. But it is near shopping, entertainment and restaurants.