Trading Spaces

The Marons found a sense of community with a liberating move to Judson Manor that suits their lifestyle.

The Marons were pioneers of downtown Cleveland living, calling the 16th and 17th floors of the former National City Bank building home for 18 years — long before the city center’s residential scene exploded. Their spacious high rise boasted skyline views, and Rick Maron often commuted on foot to meetings and project sites he was developing. “It fit our lifestyle at that point,” he relates, adding that the couple enjoyed the bustle and convenience. But as years passed, “We realized it probably wasn’t the ideal community for us,” he says.

While Rick and Judy didn’t want to give up their metropolitan surroundings, the couple was looking to downsize a bit. Also, they realized that despite living in the populated downtown destination, they were actually quite isolated. At Judson Manor, the Marons found the best of both worlds, including views they appreciate. “We have a lot of history and love for University Circle with Severance Hall, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) — everything in that area, and our place looks right over the lagoon, which was a real draw,” Rick says.

An Active Lifestyle
Before making a move, the Marons decided to test drive Judson Manor by participating in some arts classes and events, and enjoying meals in the dining room. “The idea that this would be a different lifestyle was really understood, and we knew at this point in our lives, it would be great for us,” Rick says. Both liked the idea of connecting with a community of residents with shared interests. “You walk out the door and there is so much to do,” Rick says, pointing to the robust music program with resident CIM students who perform often. Both attend lectures, and Judy takes poetry classes and Tai Chi. Because the campus is steps away from restaurants, shopping, and other conveniences, the Marons often walk to neighboring businesses like Planet Fitness, where they exercise, though they don’t have to leave to work out with Judson’s in-house accommodations.

“The socialization here is important to us,” Rick adds, relating that they quickly made close friends they dine with regularly, along with inviting friends who live elsewhere to share meals. Judy says, “I just really enjoy being here, the people around us are terrific and everyone is so helpful.”

Customizing the Space
Initially, the Marons moved into a two-bedroom unit on the 11th floor of Judson Manor, close to the rooftop where they could look out over University Circle and walk among the garden planters. They planned on eventually switching to a larger apartment home, once a unit became available. But when they considered the next space, they decided not to give up their views and instead, retrofit the 1,150 square-foot residence to better suit their needs. “The motivation became, what can we do to our unit to make it more desirable for us?” Rick relates.

Judson has a customization process that helps each resident to really make the space their own. Together, they tore down walls, moved closets, and reconfigured the floor plan. They opted to remove the washer and dryer to free up room for more storage. “We can easily take the elevator down to use the units in the building,” Rick says. By removing the hallway closet, they expanded their master bedroom closet. They opened up the kitchen, selected new cabinets and countertops, and now the space is open into the living area. The second bedroom was converted into a den office. “That is very functional for us,” says Rick, who is not fully retired.

While their Judson Manor home is a considerable downsize, it’s liberating. Besides, the common areas in the building are an extension of their apartment. “You really don’t need the amount of space you are used to,” Rick says. The couple spends a great deal of time participating in activities and socializing outside of their space.

“In the old days, you’d have family come to stay at your place, but here, if family comes, there are hotels close by and Judson has guest rooms so they can stay in the building if they choose,” Rick adds. For others transitioning into a community like Judson Manor, Rick suggests experiencing the campus by dining there or joining in an activity first. See how the lifestyle suits you. And don’t feel boxed in by the way an apartment is arranged.

At Judson Manor, the Marons discovered that customizing their space checked all the boxes they need to live comfortably, along with providing amenities like a cleaning service that allow them to spend their time how they choose. “Think ahead about your lifestyle,” Rick says. “You’ll be surprised at how much you can downsize and really enjoy a change.”

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