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Whimsically modern

Maris Grove home showcases eclectic mix of creative work

Created date

September 20th, 2016
Grayce Hess’s collection of beautiful egg-shaped ornaments hangs in a custom-made display cabinet at the Hesses’ home at Maris Grove.

Grayce Hess’s collection of beautiful egg-shaped ornaments hangs in a custom-made display cabinet at the Hesses’ home at Maris Grove.

When Grayce and Sid Hess moved last November from Chadds Ford, Pa., to Maris Grove, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Delaware County, they were following a plan they’d made much earlier. 

The Hesses had joined Maris Grove’s priority list in 2006 with the intention of moving when they were ready. 

Prompted by previous experiences

That decision was prompted in part by older friends who insisted on staying in their house, although caring for it had become a burden, and by the Hesses’ own experiences caring for their mothers. 

Grayce, for example, had made such frequent trips to Florida to help her mother that the flight attendants got to know her personally. Eventually, she moved her mom to an independent living community near her and Sid. 

But soon after the move, her mother fell due to a previously undiagnosed medical condition, which necessitated a move to an assisted care facility. Then came a third move to skilled nursing care. 

As a result, the Hesses knew they wanted a continuing care retirement community for themselves. They chose Maris Grove because its independent living neighborhoods and the rehabilitation and continuing care neighborhood are all situated on its 86-acre campus. 

There’s a fitness center and a full-service medical center on campus, too. 

Residents who need only a little help to live independently can hire housekeeping and home support services as needed from a staff they know and trust. 

“Maris Grove does everything they can to keep you in your own home as long as possible,” Grayce says. “I think that’s wonderful!” 

A passion for crafts

The Hesses feel right at home in the artistic milieu of Maris Grove. Their two-bedroom apartment home is filled with art that Grayce has collected for decades. Her collection includes pieces from the Hesses’ travels but consists mainly of handmade American crafts. 

Although she parted with many of her pieces, her most cherished ones each have their special places at the Hesses’. The apartment offers ample wall space to display Grayce’s hanging pieces, and its patio holds her outdoor art. 

The home is an eclectic and appealing mix of creative work from 1840 to 2016. Nineteenth-century tiger oak furniture, outsider art, and whimsical modern pieces live comfortably with one another.

Moving to a better lifestyle

Grayce and Sid moved to Maris Grove from a large house on two acres in Chadds Ford when Grayce tired of spending four to five hours a day doing yard work.

They had relocated to Chadds Ford from Wilmington, Del., 28 years prior because Pennsylvania doesn’t tax retirement income. But they never severed their Wilmington connections. 

They attend classes at the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware, where Sid also plays trumpet in the concert band. He plays twice-weekly tennis in Wilmington, too.

Moving to Maris Grove has kept the Hesses close to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild.  

And because Grayce is no longer tethered to yard chores, they can spend entire weeks at their beach house in Ocean City, N.J. When one grandchild plans a visit, says Grayce, the whole family usually shows up.

Because the Hesses so enjoy their newfound lifestyle, Grayce often invites their former neighbors over to see Maris Grove firsthand.

And although the couple’s children are too young to move in, she’s told their oldest daughter to get on the priority list now. “It’s the smart thing to do,” Grayce says.