• News Archive

When Kay and Mike Murrell first heard about the new HopeWell apartment building at Still Hopes four years ago, they had no idea what to expect.

At the time, they were living at a Lake Murray home they loved, but Mike was getting a little tired of managing the property. They knew they didn’t want to saddle their kids with a tough choice to make if Kay or Mike became sick or incapacitated. But most importantly, they wanted to make the decision for themselves.

“We felt like it was a gift for our children, but also each other, because we were choosing where we wanted to be and when,” said Kay. “We looked at a couple of other places and they were very nice, but once we saw Still Hopes, nothing else compared, to tell you the truth.”

At the time they first visited the community, Still Hopes wasn’t using the YourTour tool, so there was no easy way to visualize how the building or their apartment would look when construction was completed. But after seeing a few early diagrams of each of the apartment styles and discussing their “wants and needs” with the marketing staff, they settled on the Gervais floor plan layout.

“This was the first time in our 56 years of marriage that we moved someplace sight unseen,” said Kay.

Fast-forward to spring 2021, and one week before move-in day, the Murrells visited their Gervais apartment for the first time. 

“We just opened the door and it was very bright,” said Mike. “If you are standing at the entry door, you are looking out at floor-to-ceiling storefront windows in our living room and master bedroom. And it’s wide open.”

Kay was thrilled with the space.

“We love the fact that we have a very long balcony,” said Kay. “It’s about 18-feet long. And the bathrooms and the walk-in closets are nice and large.”

Since the Murrells are high up on the fourth of five floors, from their particular balcony they can spot the iconic Guignard mansion. But their main view is of the roof of the chapel.

“If I get sassy Mike points at the cross that’s outside our window and says ‘remember’,” Kay laughed.

Just below their building is the courtyard, which will also be used for community social gatherings. The first event Still Hopes hosted in the space was well-attended - a Kentucky Derby themed event.

“They had ice cream and horse-racing themed contests,” said Mike. “And best-dressed contests - women wore all the big hats.”

“And mint juleps,” Kay added.

Another feature of the Gervais floor plan includes a second bedroom that the Murrells use as a den and office, but have also furnished it with a sofa bed and a TV for occasional use as a guest bedroom. 

Mike often uses the wellness center that can be reached from their apartment without ever having to step outside. And they are looking forward to signing up with the resident concierge physician service, something that sets Still Hopes apart from many other retirement communities in Columbia, SC.

Kay said she has also enjoyed having a cleaning service once a week, and having repairs handled with just a phone call. 

“Mike can fix just about anything. I break it and he fixes it. But it’s wonderful for him to not have to fix anything. So we just love that aspect of it,” said Kay.

And while they both like to cook, they’ve only fixed a handful of dinners in their open layout and well-equipped kitchen. Instead, they opt to eat nearly all their lunches and many dinners downstairs at Emilie’s cafe where they can see friends. Kay and Mike have been thrilled with the community, making friends quickly (having neighbors and friends in for drinks nearly every night before dinner) while still maintaining their relationships and lives in the Columbia area, where they venture out many mornings for breakfast.

“There is a lot of satisfaction in making this decision, recognizing that we were not going to stay in our house until we died,” said Mike. “And there’s a whole lot of living to do after 75.”

Mike also added that it was a relief that it was a “done deal” - recalling a time he had a bad fall at the dock of his home and punctured his lung.

“Those things do happen and often, earlier than at our age,” he said. “We don’t have to worry if we slip and bust our bucket. Someone will be here in 10 minutes and we are going to be well cared for.”

The Murrell’s have had six months to get settled into their new independent living residence, and admit that while any new move is an adaptation, they can comfortably say Still Hopes and their Gervais apartment officially feels like home.

“This is our community now,” said Kay. “And when you turn down your street and you can say ‘we’re going home’... then you know everything is good.”

Schedule your own tour of the last few remaining HopeWell apartments before it's too late! Contact Stewart Rawson in the marketing department at (803) 739-5040 or submit our contact form.