Room for rent

A Golden Girls-concept home will encourage women to age together near Lake Nokomis

This 1941 home was remodeled to include four rooms with ensuite bathrooms to create a Golden Girls-style living environment. Photos courtesy of Vibrante
This 1941 home was remodeled to include four rooms with ensuite bathrooms to create a Golden Girls-style living environment. Photos courtesy of Vibrante

Aging in place is the intended path for many seniors, who want to stay in the homes they’ve known, sometimes, for decades.

But aging in place, especially after retirement or the death of a spouse, can come with serious downsides, too, including a lack of social engagement.

Giant retirement communities, on the other hand, despite offering numerous activities, can sometimes leave seniors lost in the shuffle, especially if they’re introverts.

Roxanne Cornell of Minneapolis, a longtime clinical social worker, has seen firsthand the loneliness and isolation older adults experience with aging.

“I was struck by how few choices were available,” Cornell said. “They could either live alone in their own homes, or they could move into an independent- or assisted-living environment.”

Cornell also watched her father age alone in his own home with paid help.

“He was very lonely and isolated in the end, especially since some of us lived across the country,” Cornell said.

Newly remodeled common areas feature contemporary furnishings.

And so Vibrante was born.

Cornell’s dream is to bring together a small group of like-minded women to live in a newly remodeled 1941 home situated on a corner lot in Minneapolis with views of Lake Nokomis.

She bought the home, a private residence, in February 2016 for the purpose of creating a shared-living community. She added a private bathroom to each bedroom and decorated the common areas.

It’s her modern take on The Golden Girls, the famous 1980s TV series, featuring four dynamic females, living out their golden years together in a shared space.

Cornell — who also spent five years as the owner of a small home-improvement business — hopes to provide a sense of camaraderie as well as concierge services that cater to each member’s interests.

And she’ll use her knowledge of social work to help members gain access to the services and activities they need — all as they age near the southeastern shores of Lake Nokomis.

If the concept takes off, Cornell hopes to duplicate the success with other local properties.

“What mattered most to the people I knew was active involvement in the community, companionship, opportunities to grow and remain active, and the ability to pursue a meaningful and joyful life,” Cornell said. “I decided to dedicate the next stage of my life to helping other women remain engaged, connected and vibrant as they grow older.”


Where: 5455 Woodlawn Blvd., Minneapolis

Opened: November 2016

Openings: 4

Ages: 55 and older

Number of units: 4 private, one-bedroom suites with en-suite baths. Each suite is unique; one includes a private deck overlooking the downtown Minneapolis skyline, another includes a private sitting room with a fireplace.

Cost range for a single member: Rent is $2,700 to $4,450 (depending on the suite), plus a monthly membership fee of $350, which includes concierge services, social activities, twice-monthly housekeeping and professional property management.

Property owner: Vibrante is owned and managed by Roxanne Cornell of Minneapolis, who lives in the neighborhood, but not
on site.

Info: 612-816-6940 or


  • Almost every room in the house offers views of Lake Nokomis
  • Each suite is a blank canvas for members to furnish as they wish
  • Common spaces are fully furnished, including original artwork
  • New window treatments throughout
  • Living-room fireplace
  • Library
  • Sunroom
  • Patio and plenty of space for gardening
  • Large two-car garage, plus ample off-street parking
  • Wireless Internet, cable and other utilities are included
  • Walking and biking paths just across the street
  • Restaurants, coffee shop, shopping and library within walking distance.

Do you know of a new or interesting senior housing facility in the Twin Cities that might make a good Housing Spotlight? Write Minnesota Good Age editor Sarah Jackson at [email protected] with the subject line HOUSING SPOTLIGHT.