Since 1996, Maplewood Park Place in Bethesda has provided gracious retirement living while remaining responsive to its owner residents in all aspects of life. A perfect example of this is the recent renovations that elevate the everyday experience for all.
To go far beyond what the photos show, we spoke with Barbara Harry, Executive Director; and Michelle Michaels, Director of Sales, for the story behind these enhancements and what they mean for the community as a whole.
Four years, two phases, and one brand-new experience
“Winning awards like ‘Best Senior Living Community’ from Bethesda Magazine for 11 consecutive years isn’t possible without constantly working to improve, and these renovations reflect our commitment to that mindset,” Barbara said. “But it’s not all about the awards—it’s about providing a place that inspires our owner residents and gives them a voice.
“Renovations were all driven by feedback from our owner residents, which was the most important guidance for us. This is their community, so the renovations were about how they wanted it to look and feel and how we can meet everyone’s needs for now and into the future.”
With plans set and a healthy budget surpassing $8 million, the renovations began in 2016.
“We started with the Garden Level by refreshing our Assisted Living, Rehab, and Skilled Nursing spaces,” Michelle explained. “We transformed our entire first-floor health care services into a residential model. That was phase one, which took about two years.”
The idea behind the sweeping changes to the health care settings at Maplewood Park Place was to make the entire environment more appealing, so it would not feel like a hospital or clinical setting. Rather, as Barbara explained it, all was designed to feel inviting, open, and like a true extension of one’s home.
“The renovations made family visits so much easier and so much more uplifting,” Barbara added. “Plus, we made the décor match the upstairs Lobby Level. So, for example, if an independent living resident needs to visit our Rehab Gym, they know they can get high-quality services right downstairs and feel like they’re still at home.”
With the health care experience on the Garden Level totally revamped by 2018, the renovations moved right along and up to refreshing the Lobby Level.
“We structured the Garden Level and Lobby Level projects on separate two-year cycles, to ensure minimal disruption of the day-to-day experience for our owner residents,” Michelle said. “Another benefit of this schedule structure was that we could manage it financially without any negative impact on our homeowners. That really mattered to them.”
Modern, amenity-rich spaces for dining, socializing, and thriving
As for the updates to the Lobby Level (which concluded in 2019), the new amenities and associated benefits are almost too many to fit into this article—but we’ll try!
First, each restaurant and culinary venue got an overhaul, creating three brand-new dining options: the 9707 Café, Urban Table, and Market on the Square Bistro.
“We refreshed our dining room and actually created space for two separate main dining venues,” Barbara explained. “The 9707 Café is our casual dining space where owner residents can come without reservations and enjoy a meal from the new hearth oven along with other special fare, or grab a seat at the full bar. Urban Table is an elegant, five-star dining experience that brings the wonderful flavors and ambiance that the DC restaurant scene is known for all right here on site.”
No matter your taste or the dining style you prefer, you’ll enjoy cuisine crafted with the oversight of our Executive Chef, Francis Otoo, featuring the freshest ingredients that make every meal at Maplewood one worth savoring.
Plus, if you’re on the go, you’ll find quick bites, sundries, wine, and beer all available at the convenient Market on the Square Bistro. The bistro, as well as the nearby Maplewood Market, are clever additions to our refreshed common spaces that were crafted with today’s active older adults in mind.
Second, as for those plentiful activities, the renovations at Maplewood Park Place also included creating some stunning spaces for events and socializing. The ballroom received $180,000 in audiovisual upgrades, making it a hub for all sorts of gatherings and celebrations enjoyed by residents and guests alike.
“When we have an event, the ballroom and new piano lounge can transform into one massive space,” Michelle said. “We have a grand reception setup and a great sound system, which really gives the entire area an elegant look and feel.”
Even on days when there is not a special event, the Lobby Level now includes many more spaces for gathering in groups, too. This makes for a much more pleasant and homelike experience when family members visit or when you want to meet with neighbors and friends outside of one another’s homes. Everywhere you turn, you’ll find bright, inviting, modern spaces all designed and specified by DC local interior designer Natalie Nunes.
Since the renovations were completed, Barbara has noticed how members of the Maplewood Park Place community have enthusiastically made use of all the new spaces and amenities.
“We’ve created spaces that have inspired our owner residents to take on new things on their own,” Barbara said. “It used to be that the staff would lead the way on activities, and now residents are taking ownership of these new possibilities, using these new spaces as extensions of their home.”
This goes hand-in-hand with our unique ownership and governance structure, as this place really does belong to the people who live here! That was something that permeated throughout the entire renovation process.
“We involved owner residents every step of the way,” Barbara shared. “During the renovations, we hosted hard-hat tours with our construction partner, Wagman Construction, and continually kept everyone engaged. It was an exciting time.”
Even though the main Garden Level and Lobby Level renovation projects were completed in 2019, Maplewood Park Place has continued to invest in and improve the community. This included updating hallways, wallcoverings, lighting, flooring, and more within the residence areas to give the entire community a contemporary, consistent look and feel.
Barbara added that the team is also planning creative uses of the ample outdoor spaces to enable active engagement among community members. This includes a patio project as well as providing sports (e.g., croquet, bocce) and fitness classes outside when possible.
To get the truest sense of how these extensive renovations enhance the Maplewood Park Place experience—more than a photo gallery or video ever could—we encourage you to sign up for a private, personalized tour. Simply click here or call 301-571-7444 today.