Home & Living

The Downsizers

With the market finally on the mend, we went house-hunting to come up with a list of more than 50 of the region’s best neighborhoods, from Annapolis to Roland Park to Havre de Grace, and then tracked down some of the folks buying there.

Gambrills – For their septuagenarian peers, John and Lucille Fusciello are a pretty hard act to follow.

They’re both in good health, and they both continue full-time
careers, John, 76, as a wholesale exclusive distributor for an Italian
wine importer, and Lucille, 70, as the longtime credit and collections
manager for a Trane commercial refrigeration franchise. Between the two
of them, they know a thing or two about keeping a fine Italian rosé
perfectly chilled at 41.5 degrees.

For 27 years, they lived in Crofton in a 3,000-square-foot-plus townhouse on three levels. But it got to be too much.

“Lucille was getting tired of dealing with a big house,” says John.
“It was just the two of us, since the kids had gotten married or moved
out. It just became too big, and she got tired of three levels—and I was
tired of hearing about it,” he jokes.

In nearby Gambrills, just north of Crofton, they’d noticed an over-55
development going up across from a retail plaza on Route 3. And it
started to make sense to them.

“We liked the community and the location of Crofton, midway between
Baltimore and Washington,” he says. “And though we’re city people, we
still like not dealing with the issues of the city. Also, we had friends
and family nearby, and though we’re blessed with good health for now,
we wanted to stay near our doctors and hospitals.” So they decided the
new development would work for them and took the plunge, buying a
two-bedroom unit while the project was still in an early phase of

“It will eventually be a nine-building complex, with about 17 units
in each building, with two elevators in each building, as well as a
community center and swimming pool,” John says. “We’ve just formed two
condo associations, representing residents of three buildings each . . .
and we seem to have a cohesive group of owners. We’re very happy with
the people and the quality of the building.”

So what happens when the day comes that they aren’t as mobile as they
are now? No worries, says John. “There’s a supermarket and retail
stores across the way, a fitness club up the block, and all sorts of
conveniences. I take a walk there every morning—it’s very safe.”

And while getting rid of a lifetime of stuff to squeeze into smaller
quarters is traumatic for some, it was not for the Fusciellos: “When we
moved, it was brutal what we left behind,” he says. “We had to downsize
from a four-bedroom to two, but all the things important to us fit in
perfectly—it was better than we anticipated.

“We’re extremely pleased with the decision we made.”