Until Cleveland called, Sarah Scaturro thought she had it all.
Ms. Scaturro had a plum position at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was renting a parlor-floor apartment in a brownstone in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. And she was a year into a blossoming relationship with a fellow art enthusiast, Chris McGlinchey, a former conservationist at the Museum of Modern Art who now works remotely as a consultant.
But just as the pandemic was gaining speed in 2020, Ms. Scaturro, who was the head conservator at the Met’s Costume Institute, was offered the role of chief conservator at the world-renowned Cleveland Museum of Art. It was a dream job, but it would mean moving to Northeast Ohio, an unfamiliar area. Mr. McGlinchey had been to Cleveland only once, years before.
But the city, with its affordable housing and walkable inner-ring suburbs within a short drive of the Museum of Art, drew her. “People in the museum world know Cleveland, and know the Cleveland Museum of Art’s quality of programming,” said Ms. Scaturro, 46. “I was immensely intrigued, and I just decided to make the jump.”
[Did you recently buy or rent a home? We want to hear from you. Email: [email protected]]
Adding to her confidence was Mr. McGlinchey’s assurance that their romance would survive the move, and that he was willing to join her in Cleveland — and even buy a home there.
“We both had jobs in New York that we loved,” he said, “but there comes a point when the work-life balance is out of whack.”
At the time, the couple weren’t living together. Mr. McGlinchey, 61, was widowed in 2018 and had been splitting his time between a home on the North Fork of Long Island and a house in Jamaica Estates, Queens. So Ms. Scaturro went on her own, renting a house in Shaker Heights, a leafy Cleveland suburb.
Its footprint felt absurdly large — “I had to buy some furniture,” she said — and the rent, at $1,800, felt absurdly low. But the most pleasant surprise was her commute to work: less than 15 minutes on most days.
In the summer of 2020, Mr. McGlinchey’s Queens home sold for $1.05 million. A year later, the couple connected with Edith Myhre, an agent with Howard Hanna Real Estate, in Cleveland. Mr. McGlinchey planned to pay cash and cover the purchase entirely. He was less focused on a budget than on finding a home with annual property taxes under $15,000.
In Cleveland, house hunting proved more manageable than in New York. “There was no smoke and mirrors,” Mr. McGlinchey said.
The couple hoped to find a home with at least four bedrooms — one for guests and two for home offices. Ms. Scaturro, an avid cook, wanted a big kitchen and space for entertaining. Cleveland’s housing stock is varied and distinctive, and with the couple’s professional backgrounds, architectural heritage was also important.
Among their options:
Find out what happened next by answering these two questions: