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‘My castle in the sky’

Seabrook resident appreciates her view and so many other amenities

Created date

May 29th, 2014
Originally from Amsterdam, Holland, Irene Merrick enjoys Seabrook’s outside landscaping and chose her Brighton-style apartment home for the wonderful view, where she can watch the sunrise every morning.
Originally from Amsterdam, Holland, Irene Merrick

Some things never change. When Irene Merrick moved to Erickson Living community in Tinton Falls, N.J., back in 1999, her reasons for adopting a worry-free lifestyle mimic those of people moving today. 

“Owning a house had too many responsibilities,” she says. “It was impossible to get a tree surgeon to take down some old, old trees,” for example. And even though she had invested in an automatic-start lawn mower and gutter covers to block the leaves, “it became too much for me to manage by myself.”

Aside from maintenance-free living, Seabrook offered the benefit of an on-site, indoor swimming pool and three restaurants. “Not having to cook every night was a real bonus. I haven’t cooked in 15 years!” she says happily. 

“Irene’s reasons for moving to Seabrook are the same reasons people meet with me today,” says Sales Counselor Susan Coulson. “They’re tired of house maintenance and expenses, and they want to spend their time doing things they enjoy rather than those they don’t. Honestly, most people say they only regret not moving sooner.”

Right size and cost

Irene took advantage of her move to get some things she’d always wanted. She thoughtfully chose a one-bedroom Brighton-style apartment home on the sixth floor to view the sunrise. 

“I selected the Brighton because the size appealed to me—also the cost. Considering the number of overnight guests I might have in any given year, it is more practical to rent a guest apartment than pay for [an extra bedroom] all year,” she explains.

A woman with an interesting history, Irene had never chosen her home before her move to Seabrook.

“By the time I moved to Seabrook, I was 80 years old, and it was the first time in my life that I could choose living quarters for myself,” she says. Irene lived the first 50 years of her life with her parents and focused on her career. When she married, she moved in with her husband to his house in Shrewsbury.

“When I was given the key to my new home at Seabrook on a hot July day, I opened the door to a white apartment overlooking greenery and exclaimed, ‘My castle in the sky!’” she recalls. “I’m so happy here and so glad I could choose to live at Seabrook.”

Heritage décor

Her apartment is no longer white. Irene has added her own flair, which reflects her German and Norwegian heritage. “I was born in Amsterdam, Holland. My father was Norwegian and my mother German,” she says.

Furnished with Scandinavian teak, which features clean, contemporary lines, her home feels spacious and modern. She watches the sunrise from a white leather and teak Norwegian Ekornes Stressless chair and ottoman.

An assortment of large Dutch oil paintings decorates her walls, while Delft Blue and Royal Copenhagen plates adorn shelves. Hadeland (Norwegian) crystal figurines sit on her windowsill, glistening in the morning sun.

Since moving in, she has made some renovations. Several years ago, she replaced the vinyl flooring in her kitchen and bath with DuraCeramic floors. “They look beautiful and are much easier to clean,” she says. 

And she decorated her spacious, two-entry bathroom completely in Croscill’s Rose Garden pattern, from shower curtain to towels to ceramic accessories. 

No slowing down

Now at 95, Irene shows no signs of slowing down. She still uses the swimming pool, and “on alternating days, I am in the fitness center. I’m a member of the 1,000 Workout Club,” she says, adding that she frequently visits the library. The only change from 15 years ago? “I’ve now ‘graduated’ to large-print books.”

But that doesn’t stop her either. As Seabrook’s official proofreader, “I’ll proofread anything that comes my way, from any department. I enjoy it very much,” she says.

Still taking advantage of the reasons why she originally chose Seabrook, Irene says, “I love living here, and I attribute my longevity partially to the lifestyle that Seabrook offers.”