Frank Murray had one requirement for his retirement home: it had to be big enough for his pool table. He and his wife, Maria, had decided nine years ago to build a house at K. Hovnanian's Four Season's at Smithville and the only question was which model.
"He had to have his billiards table," Maria recalls. "We looked at three different styles and this was the only one where his pool table would fit. I'm thinking, 'This is ridiculous. It looks nice, but I gave up a fireplace for a pool table?'"
Alas, there is no fireplace in the Murray's spacious family room. Nor is there much furniture besides the professional-grade billiards table that Frank shipped down from the couple's former home in Staten Island.
But the three-bedroom ranch at the end of a secluded cul-de-sac still has lots of room. With 2,350 square feet of living space, the 3-bedroom Freesia model is the largest home style at the 55-and-old community in Galloway Township. The Murrays discovered it while driving from New York to Atlantic City.
"We were both retired from Wall Street and we really liked the countryside," says Frank, who worked as a stock broker for nearly 40 years. "We thought it would be a great place to build a retirement home."
The home they built sits on a landscaped lot that backs up to a buffer of trees. A blacktop driveway leads to a two-car front entry garage and a covered entry. The floor plan features a formal living room/dining room and a large eat-in kitchen with breakfast room. A half wall sets off the kitchen from a carpeted billiards/family room.
Hardwood floors run through the foyer, hallways, living room, dining room and kitchen, which has cherry cabinets, stainless steel appliances and under counter lighting. A three-season sun porch off the "billiards" room has a ceramic tile floor and door to a concrete patio with gas grill.
Three bedrooms, a full bathroom and a laundry room are located along a long hallway. Double doors open to the master bedroom, which has a bayed window and two walk-in closets - a supersized one for Maria, and a normal sized one for Frank. The master bath has an oversized shower chamber with a seat and a corner whirlpool tub.
As Four Seasons homeowners, Frank and Maria have use of an extensive series of biking and walking trails that run through the woods and ponds at the 1,400-home development.
"We also have a really nice clubhouse," Frank says. "It has a ballroom, a beautiful lobby, two card rooms, a gym, a craft room, indoor and outdoor pools, bocce courts, tennis courts, horseshoes and shuffleboard courts. I feel like I'm always on vacation."
In addition to the clubhouse, the monthly maintenance fee of $190 also covers lawn care and trash and snow removal.
The historic Towne of Smithville, with its quaint shops and restaurants, is just down the road, but the Murray's favorite place is Atlantic City, a 20-minute drive down Route 9 and the White Horse Pike.
"We like to go to the Borgata," says Maria, who worked at Goldman Sachs for 17 years. "I play slots. Frank plays Texas hold'em."
The Murrays are selling the house for the same reason they bought it: the size.
"It's a big house for the two of us," Maria says. "We really thought the children would come around more. Wrong."
They won't be going far. In fact, they're buying a smaller house in the same development.
"It's a wonderful community and we've met some wonderful people that I'm sure will be our friends for the rest of our lives," Maria says. "It's our home now. When I go back to Staten Island I can't stand the traffic."
As for Frank's beloved billiards table, it will not be making the move.
"There's four pool tables in the clubhouse and Frank is vice chairman of the billiards committee," Maria says. "He never plays at home except with his imaginary friends. He plays five minutes before he goes to bed at night. I guess it puts his mind at ease."
An open house at this property, which is located at 401 Kingston Court, will be held Saturday, Oct. 20, from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information and directions call Barbara Morgan of Keller Williams Realty, 609-432-9060.
Where: Four Seasons at Smithville
What: Three-bedroom ranch