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Gordon and Lee Powell: Right-sizing up in retirement

Cary, NC - The Courtyards at O'Kelly Chapel  |  03.07.17

Some people downsize when they’re ready to retire. Lee and Gordon Powell moved in the other direction—from a 2,500 square-foot home in upstate New York, where they had lived for more than 40 years, to a larger home in North Carolina. They purchased a 2,750 square-foot, single-family home at The Courtyards at O’Kelly Chapel, in Cary.

“We re-sized our life,” says Gordon, a retired marketing professional who continues his passion for photography. He uses a portion of the couple’s second-floor bonus suite as a photo studio.

“The space we have now is much more usable for our current lifestyle,” Lee adds. “The floor plan is very open, which is great because we love to entertain. Gordon likes to bake and I like to cook and the kitchen is very conducive for us to be in there together.”

Lee uses a portion of the bonus suite for her various crafts, like making wreaths and baskets. Two of their grandchildren live nearby, so the kids take over the upstairs bedroom and bathroom for their overnight stays.

Gordon and Lee chose Cary because their daughter and her family had moved there three years earlier. The Powells looked at active adult communities in the area, but found them too vast.

“The one across the street from us has about 1,500 houses. It’s more like a strip mall than a community,” Gordon explains. He and Lee chose the Epcon community of The Courtyards at O’Kelly Chapel because the size was right (150 homes when complete), they liked the maintenance-free lifestyle there, and the clubhouse and pool were only 20 yards away. They selected the Promenade home plan, and added the optional bonus suite upstairs, which includes a bedroom, full bath, and the living area that Gordon and Lee use for their hobbies.

Gordon is pursuing his passion for making bread, and carefully crafts artisanal loafs, including a sourdough starter he has kept “alive” for almost seven years. He has even used their kitchen to teach a bread-making class to people in their community. Formerly a dietician, Lee likes healthy lifestyle cooking.

“Once they learn how to make and eat Gordon’s bread, I’ll teach them how to cook healthy, low-calorie meals.”

Retirement hasn’t slowed the Powells. They’re exploring the area, enjoying their home, the neighbors, nearby family, and the company of their two cats. Their daughter is a marathoner and triathlete, and she inspired her parents to run and walk a half-marathon.

Gordon and Lee Powell have a home and a pace that’s just the right size for their life.

Epcon O'Kelly Chapel Gordon and Lee Powell