Living Large–Boomers Indulge


Flush with equity from family homes, empty nesters opt for luxury and comfort.

Rick Glidewell, 56, did not shed a tear during the fateful garage sale when he sold his lawn mower and leaf blower and everything else that had consumed his Sundays for years.

“We can plant things in pots,” says his wife, Vickie, smiling while leaning against the granite kitchen countertop at a stately 2,500-square-foot display model for a maintenance free villa in Cottleville.

A few miles away, empty-nesters Kathryn and John Blackburn stood in their new home’s meticulous first floor master suite, complete with 11-foot ceiling.  Kathryn, 44, says she will never miss the thousands of trips up and down the stairs in their previous two-story family home in O’Fallon, MO.  John, 45, recalls years of relocating for his job and the rush to buy homes in good school districts stocked with subdivisions full of active children.  The couple’s three children are now in their 20s and on their own.

“Every place we moved, it wasn’t what we wanted.  It was what was best for the kids,” he says.

Not anymore.  The Glidewells and the Blackburns and millions of other baby boomers like them in America are shopping for retirement homes.  For many, their plans for those homes are luxurious, carefree and big–very big.


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