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‘Living well’

Couple trades condo living for amenity-rich lifestyle at Brooksby

Created date

January 5th, 2018
Harris and Sandra Gold traded condo living for the amenity-rich, maintenance-free lifestyle at Brooksby Village.

Harris and Sandra Gold traded condo living for the amenity-rich, maintenance-free lifestyle at Brooksby Village.


It’s been one year since Harris and Sandra Gold first visited Brooksby Village, and much has changed over the past 12 months.

“This is the epitome of living well,” Sandra says of the couple’s new lifestyle at Brooksby. “If I had to list all the features I like about Brooksby, I don’t know which one I’d list first.”

Yet the Peabody, Mass., Erickson Living community wasn’t initially part of Harris and Sandra’s retirement plan.

Downsizing to a condo

“We lived in Lexington for 45 years,” says Harris. “In 2012, we downsized to a condo in Waltham, where we thought we’d stay for the rest of our lives.”

Harris and Sandra were working full-time when they moved to Waltham. Harris, an engineer and scientist, worked for a consulting firm in Acton. Sandra, a decorating consultant, launched her own business after a 30-year career with Sherwin-Williams Paints.

“We were busy, and that’s one of the reasons we downsized from the big house in Lexington,” says Sandra. “We wanted a smaller place with less upkeep. We were trying to simplify.”

But as the couple began to ease up on their workload, they realized the condo didn’t offer the opportunity to socialize with neighbors or have amenities to enhance their lifestyle.

“It was the kind of complex where everyone went to work,” says Sandra. “We didn’t notice that there wasn’t anybody around during the day until we started staying home more. Then life in the condo seemed less appealing.”

First visit to Brooksby

At the same time, Brooksby began popping up in everyday conversation.

“My hairdresser mentioned that one of her clients had moved to Brooksby and was very happy there,” says Sandra. “Another day, Harris and I were at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem and ran into a group of Brooksby residents. I filed these encounters in the back of my mind and wondered, ‘Why do I keep hearing about Brooksby?’”

In January 2017, one of Harris and Sandra’s daughters made an appointment for them to meet with Jane Kiegel, sales counselor at Brooksby.

“We were hesitant to visit the sales office at first,” says Sandra. “Even though the condo wasn’t meeting our needs, we weren’t sure we were ready to make another move.”

Their views changed after that first meeting with Kiegel.

“As we were driving to the community, I thought, ‘This is never going to happen,’” says Harris. “But my mindset shifted during that visit. The grounds are magnificent, and I realized how many activities and amenities Brooksby has to offer.”

“Jane was lovely and well informed,” adds Sandra. “Now that I’ve lived at Brooksby for many months, I can say the same about all the staff. They’re friendly and helpful and want the best for residents.”

Choosing a floor plan

Harris and Sandra joined Brooksby’s priority list during their first visit to the community, putting down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit to reserve their place in line for the floor plan of their choice.

The day a prospective resident joins the priority list becomes their priority date, giving them preference over everyone else who joins the list after that date. When their preferred floor plan becomes available, they’re given first right of refusal based on their priority list status.

“I studied the floor plans on the Erickson Living website and was drawn to the Jackson,” says Sandra.

The Jackson is a two-bedroom, two-bath corner floor plan, which allows natural light from two directions.

“The kitchen in our condo was on the interior, so I loved the idea of having windows in our kitchen at Brooksby,” says Sandra.

‘Just what we wanted’

Harris and Sandra told the sales team they were interested in a Jackson-style apartment. Less than two months after their first visit to the community, Brooksby Personal Moving Consultant Laurie Phillips visited the couple in their Waltham condo.

Phillips, whose services are complimentary for anyone moving to Brooksby, works with future residents to create a moving plan tailored to meet each individual’s needs and provides referrals to trusted real estate professionals. 

“When Laurie came to our condo, she told us that a Jackson had just become available,” says Harris. “We drove to Brooksby soon after to look at it.”

As soon as they saw the apartment, Harris and Sandra loved its location within the community. 

“The apartment is right next to the covered walkway that connects the Kingsbury and McIntosh clubhouses,” says Sandra. “It provides quick access to several amenities on campus.”

“We took the apartment on the spot,” says Harris. “It was just what we wanted.”

Dynamic lifestyle

Harris and Sandra listed their Waltham condo, which sold in three weeks, and moved to Brooksby in April 2017.

Sandra immediately set to work decorating the couple’s apartment to reflect their shared love of art. Paintings by Sandra’s aunt adorn the walls. A coffee table handcrafted by Harris provides a unique conversation piece in the living room.

“This place just works for us,” says Sandra. “We love the convenience of having everything we need—the fitness center, restaurants, clubs and activities—right here at Brooksby.”

Harris, for his part, enjoys artistic pursuits in his spare time, including woodworking, photography, and jewelry-making. Brooksby’s well-equipped woodshop is high on his list of advantages to living at the Peabody community.

“We’re much more relaxed now that we’ve moved to Brooksby,” says Sandra. “Life is easier and more interesting than it was in our condo.”