Bringing palm trees to Charlestown

Trading in Florida sun is worth it for maintenance-free living in Maryland

Created date

May 29th, 2020
This layout features Charlestown's Brighton floor plan.

This layout features Charlestown's Brighton floor plan.

For the last thirteen years, Sharon Matthiesen enjoyed the warm weather and sandy beaches of Florida’s Gulf coast. But when she and her late husband decided they wanted to be closer to family, they returned to their roots in Maryland in search of their next home.

“I used to live across the street from Charlestown in a community called Broadfield when it was brand new, so I was familiar with the area,” says Sharon. “We came up to visit my kids at Christmas in 2018 and had an appointment at Charlestown. We put our $1,000 deposit down and planned to visit Charlestown again in June 2019 for a week to get familiar with the campus.” 

Tragically, Sharon’s husband passed away before they had their week-long stay at Charlestown. Still, Sharon decided to move forward with her plans to make Charlestown her home. Having already braved a long-distance move to Florida, she had no reservations that she could do it again.

“My kids mentioned to me, at the time, that I could just get an apartment in Towson near them, but they are busy and have their own lives, and I still would have been by myself. At Charlestown, I could be in a community where I would make friends and see my neighbors,” says Sharon.

Sharon looked at several floor plans and selected one of Charlestown’s most innovative one-bedroom floor plans, the Brighton, which features a large living space, modern kitchen, full bath, and a walk-in closet. 

“There were two things I knew I had to have,” says Sharon. “The first is I wanted to be located on the ground level in the front of the building. The second thing was I wanted a patio. So, when this one became available, I took it.”

Sharon personalized her apartment with wood floors, custom paint colors, and had a stained-glass light fixture that she brought from her house in Florida installed over her dining table.  

“The apartment was completely redone,” says Sharon. “We had very contemporary furniture and I was able to make it just the way I wanted it. I have an accent wall in the bedroom painted gray and there is a palm tree theme. I used to work for an alcohol distributor, so I have a wine motif in my kitchen. My son put an organizer in my walk-in closet. It all worked out nicely.”

Everything under the sun

Downsizing from her nearly 3,000 square foot home was made easier knowing that her apartment came with a 110-acre community outside her door. Three well-appointed clubhouses are an extension of her home featuring a fitness center, an indoor swimming pool, an art studio, on-site medical center, and several other communal spaces like lounges and courtyards she can use at any time. 

“I love going down to the lounges and meeting people. I also enjoy going out on my patio and sitting. I have met many of my neighbors and so many nice people that way. I call it ‘my block,’” says Sharon.

And with seven restaurants within walking distance, Sharon says her beautiful new kitchen doesn’t get used very often.

“I used to cook all the time, but when I moved here and found out that one meal a day is included with my monthly fee, I gave all my pots and pans away,” says Sharon.

Since moving to Charlestown, Sharon is taking things slow and is not jumping into anything. 

“I used to sew. I made every stitch of clothing that my children wore. I had my own kiln and did ceramics. But I don’t want to get involved in a bunch of stuff right now,” Sharon says. “I just want to relax and spend time doing whatever I want. I like the freedom of not being committed to anything in particular. I enjoy the simple things, like having coffee with my neighbors and going to happy hour. I wake up, and I can do whatever I want to do that day.” 

And although her life has changed in many ways since moving back to Maryland, there are some things about Florida she can’t bear to part with. 

“I still wear my sandals, no matter what the weather. I can’t give them up,” says Sharon. “People will say, ‘Aren’t your feet cold?’ To which I say, ‘It’s not like I’m walking through snow in here.’”