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Endless customizing options transform apartments from ordinary to extraordinary

Created date

January 8th, 2016
Resident Janet Plakatoris and her son Dan Plakatoris
Resident Janet Plakatoris and her son Dan Plakator

Janet Plakatoris had once entertained the idea of trading in her Bel Air, Md., condominium for a maintenance-free apartment at Oak Crest in Parkville. When her son Dan started working at the Erickson Living community in 2014, she decided to give it another look. 

“I wanted a place that was affordable and that offered continuing care health services if I would ever need it,” says Janet. “I had visited the community a few years back, and when Dan started working here, he said, ‘Mom, you would love it!’” 

So a little more than a year after Dan had settled into his new position as sales manager at Oak Crest, Janet followed suit and reserved a one-bedroom apartment with a den. But before a single piece of furniture was moved into her new home, she felt it needed her personal touch. 

“The apartment was nice without any upgrades, but I wanted to make it homier and more my own,” says Janet.

Custom treatments

To help her with her vision, Janet contacted Oak Crest’s Custom Interiors department where residents can take advantage of custom carpentry work such as built-in bookcases, shelving, crown molding, custom closets, lighting, upgraded carpet, tile or hardwood flooring, tile backsplashes, upgraded countertops, custom paint, and window treatments. 

“All Oak Crest residents have the opportunity to work with the community’s Custom Interiors staff,” says Joe DelGavio, facilities coordinator. “We have a showroom in our Town Center Clubhouse where you can see a variety of upgrades and different looks you can achieve in your apartment.” 

Janet touched on nearly every room in her new home. But one of the biggest changes was opening up the space between her kitchen and den. 

“They cut out a portion of the wall about the size of a window and made a pass-through trimmed with molding and a ledge,” says Janet. “It really opens the apartment up.” 

Janet selected Benjamin Moore’s buttery waterbury cream paint for her living and dining room walls and chose soft fern for the kitchen, den, bedroom, and bathroom. She also opted to have crown molding installed. Recessed lighting, granite countertops, and a lit glass corner cabinet for displaying knick-knacks were also added to the kitchen.   

“I’m really happy with the way it all turned out. I think it looks nice, and it feels like home,” she says.

Blank slate

One of Shirley and Wesley Bartenfelder’s favorite features of their two-bedroom, two-bath apartment is the flow and open layout of the floor plan, but it took some tweaking to get it that way. 

“When we first walked through this apartment, they were in the process of gutting it. They showed us some options that would create a more open concept,” says Shirley. 

To achieve that open concept, the Bartenfelders had one wall of their kitchen partially removed, creating the perfect space for a breakfast bar with stools.

“We like it very much!” says Shirley. “It gives you a feeling of openness. Now you can actually see into the sunroom from the living area. It adds a lot of light, and you don’t feel closed off when you are in the kitchen.” 

Shirley selected cherry cabinets with nickel hardware for the kitchen and coordinating granite countertops.

“We looked at cabinet styles and finishes in the showroom and toured several apartments so we were able to get a lot of ideas and coordinate everything just like you would if you were buying a custom home,” says Shirley. 

Personal space

Gloria Meisel doesn’t miss her home of 63 years since she and her husband Charles moved into their customized one-bedroom apartment last August. 

“During the winter, we were stuck inside all the time. And although we had a nice yard, we had to have someone come and take care of the grass and the snow,” says Gloria.  “We had three floors with the bedrooms up on the third floor and the laundry in the basement. The stairs were really becoming a problem.” 

The Meisels personalized their new home with hardwood floors, crown molding, recessed lights, custom blinds, and granite countertops. To complement their new space, they also purchased new living room furniture. 

As much as they love their new custom one-level living space, they love the winter-free aspect of their new home even more. 

“We just joined a bocce group and signed up for the fitness center,” says Gloria. “We feel like this is the best move we could have made.”