When Alan and Sheila Stahl bought their Summerville home in 1978, they planned to live in it for just a few years.
They are still there.
"This was going to be our starter house. We figured we were going to do like everybody else -- fix it up a little bit and down the road sell it," Mrs. Stahl said. "We started doing things to it and that was it. We didn't want to leave. So, now, it's going to be our 'ender' house."
Although the occupants haven't changed, the home has.
When Mrs. Stahl was pregnant with their second child, they needed additional space, so they turned the attic into living space by adding two bedrooms and a bathroom.
They also renovated other rooms over the years. They updated cabinet doors and extended the countertop in the kitchen; painted or wallpapered several rooms; and enclosed part of the porch to create a library.
"This house has evolved. We didn't do everything in one day. It took us years to do all these things," she said. "You change one room and then you end up doing another because you want it to look just as nice, and so on. Before your eyes, you watch your home evolve."
Outside, they created a pond and a courtyard, and added gardens, one of Mrs. Stahl's favorite features.
"I enjoy being out there and working in my gardens. I have a vegetable garden, an herb garden and a flower garden," she said. "I especially enjoy picking flowers from my garden to create arrangements for the home, and for my neighbors and friends."
Keeping the house where they reared their children -- Rachel, 29, and Peter, 21 -- means a lot.
"I believe that it's the memories that tie us to this house, and no matter how many changes we make, the memories will always be here," Mrs. Stahl said.
Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AT HOME WITH ...
THE FAMILY: Alan and Sheila Stahl
THE HOME: Two-story in Summerville, with four bedrooms and three baths
IT'S A FACT: Many years ago, Mr. Stahl created a board game called The War in Virginia: 1862-1865. He kept several copies, and one is on display in the library.