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Starting from scratch

Woodstock couple gets creative when selecting new home at Charlestown

Created date

February 12th, 2016
Elissa and Don Metzger
Elissa and Don Metzger

When Elissa and Don Metzger began searching for their new apartment home at Charlestown, the Erickson Living community in Catonsville, Md., a large den was at the top of their wish list. Don needed a place where he could work on his favorite hobby, remote-control model airplanes, and Elissa wanted a home office. It turns out Charlestown’s Harbor View neighborhood had just what they were looking for, only it wasn’t in the form of one apartment, but two.  

“We found out that there were two apartments available right next to one another, and they were planning on combining the two into one large apartment,” says Elissa. 

The Metzgers toured the neighboring apartments and envisioned the possibilities. 

“It was big enough that we could have the two bedrooms and two baths that we wanted and still have enough room for a large den,” says Elissa. “We also liked the idea that we could have a say in the design and layout of the apartment.”  

The Metzgers kept tabs on the progress of their soon-to-be 1,600-square-foot apartment from their former home in Woodstock. 

“The people we worked with were really superb,” says Elissa. “They called, emailed, and kept us informed throughout the renovations. Since we lived close by, we would periodically drop in to see the status.” 

Personal space

Because the apartment was in the beginning stages, the Metzgers were able to structurally design the apartment to suit their needs and tastes. In order to achieve the floor plan they wanted, both apartments were stripped down to the cement floor and studs. A doorway was then cut to connect the two apartments. 

By eliminating the front door of the second apartment, the Metzgers were able to add a large kitchen pantry. Replacing a double sink with a single sink in one of the baths allowed for an additional closet. And a new laundry room was born out of the space where the second HVAC unit was once housed.  

“One of the things I really wanted was a special island in our kitchen where I could display holiday decorations,” says Elissa. “I had something similar at our house and I really liked it. They were able to build that for me with a cabinet underneath for added storage.”

Don also received two items from his wish list: hardwood floors and a custom-painted green accent wall in one of the bedrooms. 

“They really did a beautiful job!” says Elissa. “I don’t think we could have found a better layout for us than this. It’s almost like living in a ranch-style home. We have our dining room, living room, one of two bedrooms, and a bathroom in what used to be the first apartment. The kitchen, huge den, and the second bedroom and bathroom are in the second apartment. I also really like the location. I love to walk, and it’s easy to get wherever I want to go on campus.” 

Unique opportunity

The combination apartments at Charlestown are part of an ongoing revitalization effort to modernize many of the original apartments on the Catonsville campus. 

“Over the years, we have made more than 100 combination apartments of different stages and sizes. We currently have a few that are available and in the works at various stages of the construction process,” says Molly Bowman, sales counselor at Charlestown. 

“It’s difficult to know when we will be combining apartments as there is no way to predict when two adjacent apartments might become available. My best advice to folks who may be considering moving to Charlestown and are interested in a combo apartment is to join our priority list. This will ensure that you will be notified of upcoming projects. Combination apartments are usually reserved prior to being fully completed, so being on the priority list has a big advantage.” 

Since moving to Charlestown two years ago, the Metzgers are happy with their new home and are enjoying the convenience, amenities, and worry-free lifestyle Charlestown affords them. 

“Don enjoys working on his airplanes, and I enjoy taking on-site classes. I’m also a member of the fitness center, but I enjoy walking throughout the campus more than anything,” says Elissa. 

And if you ask Don and Elissa what their favorite feature of their new apartment is, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with the same answer.

“We really like the den, and we spend a lot of time in there,” says Elissa. “It’s exactly what we wanted.”