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Paring down to live it up

More homeowners choosing smaller homes, bigger lifestyles

Created date

February 8th, 2016
Phyllis Stave in her one-bedroom with den apt home
Phyllis Stave in her one-bedroom with den apt home

More and more Americans are favoring smaller living spaces. Census studies show that new houses are being constructed with fewer bedrooms, and the percentage of homes with three or more bathrooms has also decreased. 

One trend indicator is that industry experts have shifted from using the term “downsizing” to using the term “rightsizing.”

That’s how Phyllis Stave views her move to a one-bedroom apartment home with a den at Wind Crest, the Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, Colo. 

“When I visited my daughter, who built a big new house near Fort Collins, I came back appreciating my space,” says Phyllis.

Phyllis says she has just the right amount of living space in her Georgetown-style apartment, and Wind Crest provides all the other amenities she needs as an extension of her home.  “I like all the amenities we have here. It feels like home to me,” she says.

The community has several common areas; classrooms, meeting rooms, and craft rooms; the new Arts and Enrichment Center; restaurants; a library; three fitness centers; and an aquatics center. Its outdoor space includes community gardens, walking trails, and patios with stunning vistas.

Clear of clutter

With all of that available just outside her door, Phyllis keeps her home neat and tidy—just the way she likes it. “I don’t like a lot of clutter,” she says. 

In the dining room, her buffet table fits perfectly in a space that appears to have been designed just for it. Usually, her table seats four, but she entertains occasionally and opens it up to comfortably fit two additional leaves. “It gives me a lot of room,” she says. 

She has an additional table with two chairs in her kitchen for a quick breakfast or lunch. She usually enjoys dinner at one of Wind Crest’s on-site restaurants, which include several new options.

Her dining room opens up to the living area—a cozy sitting space with two couches and an electric fireplace that Phyllis installed after moving in. “I’ve enjoyed that a lot,” she says.

She keeps coats tucked away in the foyer coat closet, and her stacked washer and dryer hide neatly behind closed doors in the hallway that leads to her master bedroom and bath. 

“I have a nice, large bedroom with two entrances to the bathroom, which is nice for when I have company,” she says. 

She has plenty of storage space in her spacious walk-in closet that is stocked with shelves, perfect for organizing clothes and shoes. 

Great value

Phyllis has more storage space in her den, which boasts two closets. She finds the den to be a treasured living area, both for storage and wall space. She has hung family photos on the walls and stores seasonal decorations and other odds and ends in the two closets. 

She also appreciates the space for its flexibility. For the past eight years, she has used it as her reading room because it’s “nice and bright.” But she recently added a pullout couch for when her daughter visits. With no windows, it’s a private bedroom for guests.

“Everybody who comes to my apartment says they wish they had the space I have in the den. It’s a great value for a one-bedroom apartment,” she says. 

Phyllis says she researched apartments and feels she got the best value and use of space in choosing the Georgetown model. “I have a great view—all the Georgetowns have great views,” she says. 

Opportunities right outside her front door

And she’s happy to never spend another snowy winter alone. She plays card games, participates in Bible studies and a monthly Lutheran group, and volunteers as an ambassador answering questions from people interested in moving to Wind Crest. “I use the shuttles to take me to the grocery story, library, or drug store. I really like that about living here.”

Best of all, “I’ve met a lot of new friends,” says Phyllis. Being alone in a large home, she wouldn’t have the opportunities to meet people and stay actively involved. Phyllis found the “right” size home for her.