Cooling it at the Compound

When we were in our early 20s my sisters and I made a plan to build what we call the "Retirement Home." The plan required that we build a house on the beach (various locations from the Carolinas to Florida to the Bahamas have been discussed but all seem to have the major drawbacks of either being too remote, too crowded or too commercial so we don't have an actual destination set).

Each person (we remembered our brother at some point and decided to include him as well, although, as usual, we have failed to mention it to him) would have a wing that radiates from a central living space, which would include a state-of-the-art kitchen, a massive dining room for extended family gatherings (no one else knows how many grandchildren I am planning to have - at least six and I want them to call me The Cool One, "Cool" for short) and - this is the most important element - a yoga room. (We plan to avoid aging by practicing yoga well into our 90s.)

I was at the time (and still am) the only one of my four siblings who is married. When we began working on the plan, we were accustomed to life as a group so we decided that we would only be able to move into the house once our husbands had died to avoid having to deal with outsiders. I haven't told them yet, but I've finally gotten so used to my husband that I can't bear to plan a future that doesn't include him so I intend to sneak him into my wing.

Sure the plan is unformed. If I have this many hidden goals and agendas I can only assume the others do as well. And there are other unknown factors; while it is looking as though none of my sisters will ever marry, they could. What sort of wild ideas will these spouses bring into the "Retirement Home?" Now that I am a little more used to the concept of marriage, I hope if my sisters do marry they will love their husbands enough to want them around. (Although I did hedge by advising them to marry older men.)

I am not sure why my sisters think they want to live out their end years together but for me it provides the opportunity to fantasize about the compound of which I have always dreamed.

I like the idea of living near my family, probably because I don't. My parents live in the country in an overwhelming house they have been threatening to sell for years but probably never will. My sisters live in New York, San Francisco, my youngest is making a stopover here on her way from France to Colorado or New Mexico and my brother lives in Atlanta. I would even move to any of those places if everyone else would. But "New York is to crowded," "San Francisco is too far away," "What is there to do in New Mexico," "Forget Atlanta, if I want to hang around a bunch of preppy bigots I can live in Lexington and not have an hour commute." (OK, I said that last bit.) My brother could be talked into moving to Lexington but my sisters seem pretty adamantly opposed. Since we clearly won't be living near one another any time soon, the "Retirement Home" planning persists.

John and Sharon Thelin planned a family compound that didn't work either (could the idea of living in such proximity to family be outdated and I just don't realize it?). The Thelins moved into Sharon's grandparents' house at 324 Chinoe Road (which is next door to her mother) several years ago. When the house behind them became available, they purchased it for John's mother. She lives in California and could never be convinced that she would like to live in Kentucky so eventually the Thelins gave up and put the house on the market.

Two large bedrooms on the first floor make it ideal for a person who no longer wants to negotiate stairs while two bedrooms upstairs provide private rooms for guests or children. An eat-in kitchen overlooks a cozy fenced back garden which has a gate that connects it to the Thelin's house behind it, which is also for sale - see last week's edition of On the Block. And the house next door at 320 Chinoe Road (the other side, not Sharon's mother's) is for sale as well (contact Rick Queen 266-6999).

Not many opportunities present themselves to purchase whole compounds (come to think of it, uber-compoundeers like the Kennedys have quickly unloaded parcels as various criminal investigations have unfolded).

I would gladly purchase all three houses if I thought for a second that I could convince anyone related to me to start the Sims Compound. I know the real reason no one in my family wants to live near me; they assume I will constantly be asking them to watch my children while I practice yoga. They want to wait to live with me after my children reach adulthood.

But, again, they don't know about Cool and her grandchildren.


313 Culpepper Road


1910 Square Feet

4 bedrooms, 3 & one half baths

Contact Courtney Lagrew 294-2515

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.