My children are already talking about how in 20 years their kids will be reading about this time in history. It’s true. But we are here, NOW. Making history or rather staying at home, while history is being made around us. Hoping that we do not fall victim and that our efforts to flatten the curve and social distance ourselves from our friends, family, co-workers, and communities will work. Shifting our energy from our self-focused lives to the people that risk their lives for us on the front lines during a time of crisis.
The countless articles, updates, and news reports keep us informed, but it’s the personal stories of sacrifice, true sacrifice: choosing your job over your family, risking your own health for the health of others, rising to the occasion and allowing your skillset and passion to kick in that matter most. We’re all in this together. We can all contribute in one way or another. Even if your contribution is staying at home. It’s a time to reflect, be grateful, reset, slow down, put things in perspective, and even on days when the world seems to be crashing down…remain hopeful. Hopeful that we’ll learn and grow and come out better and stronger on the other side.
Until then my friends: stay home, stay safe, stay healthy, and please wash your hands. #alonetogether
It’s interesting that as I drove away from the home in Waitsfield for the last time, I think I actually felt a bit emotional. Our very first job as Moov Consultants came to an end yesterday. Everything from the floors to the walls to the outside decks is complete. The beds are made, pictures hung, and books stacked. The contractors are paid, the lawn is cut, and the homeowners are heading to Vermont.
This project was given to us last September. And it felt like that at the time and it still does; a gift. We were trusted to create a beautiful, liveable vacation home for a family to enjoy and share with their friends. They live and work in a huge city overseas and had no idea where to start or what they really even wanted their Waitsfield home to turn into. At this point, we have spent much more time in this house than the family has. It has been an incredible experience on many levels. We have learned lots, met amazing people, and solidified that we are on the right track. It surely does take a village to make it all come together. We are hoping that they feel like we have returned the gift to them. Take a look:
After 14 years of living in their 1840s farmhouse in Starksboro, Susan Thompson’s family decided on a major renovation. She, her husband and their 9-year-old daughter had to pack up the entire house and relocate to a 1,000-square-foot garage apartment for about six months. As the May 18 move-out deadline approached, Thompson had no idea where to start.
So she called Claire Mahoney and Marlene Simson, owners of Richmond-based Moov Home & Moving Consultants. The women came to Thompson’s home and went through it room by room, helping her come up with a plan. Their organizing process allowed Thompson to purge unneeded items before putting the rest of her home’s contents into storage.
“I’m not a pack rat, but I have a lot of stuff,” she says. “I was just super overwhelmed.”
Even in the best of circumstances, moving is chaotic and stressful. It can be emotional to leave an old life and embark on a new one. It’s time-consuming for someone with a job and kids with soccer games and dozens of other tasks. Most people can’t just drop everything else to accommodate the transition. That’s when a client might call Moov and say, “I need to get my life back on Monday,” Mahoney says.
Established in September 2018, Moov is a hybrid business: part packing and unpacking service, part house-staging operation, part interior decorator, part professional organizer, and — unofficially, of course — part therapy. Mahoney and Simson will help clients clear out closets and downsize. They’ll pick paint colors to spruce up a house for sale or brighten a new living room. They’ll even manage contractors such as plumbers and electricians.
Some moving companies offer packing and unpacking, but they won’t usually organize in the process or put a new home together the way a customer wants it.
Moov does that. Mahoney and Simson transfer every last utensil into a kitchen drawer. They hang shower curtains. They place laundry detergent near the washing machine. They make the beds.
“We literally fold the towels. We put the towels in the linen closet,” Simson explains. “When [the clients] walk in, they are box-free and can eat at their table if they like.”
When Thompson and her family moved into their temporary apartment, Mahoney and Simson created cozy bedrooms out of the open floor plan to make it feel like home, she says. They even returned to the farmhouse to grab a few colorful items for her daughter’s nook.
“They had this amazing vision for how the bedroom would be set up,” Thompson recalls. “They really have the skills — the way they pair things and place things and arrange things … They sprung into action.”
Their website calls them consultants, but Mahoney and Simson consider themselves “move managers.” Its name notwithstanding, though, there is one thing Moov will not do: “We’re not movers,” Mahoney clarifies.
She and Simson might shimmy a credenza into its designated spot in a dining room, but they won’t load furniture onto a truck. They’ll let movers pack a 52-inch TV and get it safely to its new quarters.
“They are strong guys who are coming to lift baby grands,” Mahoney says.
Mahoney and Simson, both Richmond residents, had completely different careers when they met as neighbors with kids in the same school. Mahoney grew up in South Carolina and spent 20 years in education, first as a teacher and then in school management. She came north to New Hampshire and ultimately made “a lifestyle move” to Richmond when her husband got a job in Vermont. She became the manager of the private Bellwether School in Williston.
Simson, a Shoreham native, went to nursing school in Washington, D.C., and became a psychiatric nurse. She worked in hospitals from Boston to California before returning to Vermont to do home health care. After getting a bit burned out on that field, she jumped from clothing store ownership to pharmaceutical sales to working in the design center at the Ethan Allen furniture store in Shelburne.
There, Simson realized she had a knack for interior decorating. In 2017, she left to start her own decorating business, called Pure Living Interiors, and moved with her husband and two daughters to Richmond.
One day, she and Mahoney were talking in the school parking lot when Mahoney mentioned some friends in South Carolina who had started a moving-assistance business and were “killing it.” Mahoney suggested that Simson try that line of work.
Simson balked at doing it on her own, and finally, Mahoney agreed they should launch Moov together.
The women have no inventory, no overhead, not even an office. To see clients, they carpool from Richmond’s city park, with Simson driving and Mahoney scheduling with clients on the phone. Though they travel around the state, their primary focus is on Chittenden, Addison and Washington counties.
Companies like Moov exist elsewhere, particularly in urban areas. Many such services have carved out a niche in the senior housing market, focused on clients who are downsizing and transitioning to assisted living facilities. Moov offers that, as well.
Simson merged her interiors business with Moov. Their first project was a decorating job that’s still ongoing. For the client — a couple who lives in Taiwan and purchased a second home in Waitsfield — Simson and Mahoney are outfitting the place from top to bottom, artwork to carpeting.
The women have had about two dozen clients since launching last fall. Often, Moov’s services overlap. When the women unpack a family after a move, they might also design the layout of their new rooms. When they stage a client’s home before a move, organizing and purging excess stuff is a big part of it.
Mahoney and Simson each charge $50 an hour for Moov’s services, or $100 per hour if they do a job together. They’ll take on projects large or small, working within a client’s stated budget. Recently, one young mother of a toddler called Moov because toys and clutter had overrun her home; she hoped the team could restore her sanity. For a few hours’ work, she paid $200.
“We did her bookcases and gave her some ideas,” Simson says. “Sometimes we’re just eyes, and they pay us to come for an hour and a half” and offer advice.
For Moov’s owners, packing skills are less important than interpersonal ones. They need to build rapport with clients, gaining their trust before rummaging through closets and rearranging furniture.
Each successful relocation means easing a client’s stress. Says Mahoney, “There’s some level of satisfaction in making it all come together.”
The original print version of this article was headlined “Getting a Moov On”
Walking into a beautiful house on the lake can often evoke a sense of calm and make you feel relaxed, rejuvenated and happy! We have been feeling all those emotions after transforming an amazing vacation rental on Lake Iroquois in Hinesburg, Vermont.
Several weeks ago we were asked to help update this 2 bedroom home that is available for weekend and weekly rentals through Airbnb and VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner). As we walked through the house initially, there was plenty to admire: beautiful stone floors, a wood burning fireplace, metal beams and tons of windows. The house is in great shape but the owner was ready to give her space a little love. She stays busy as a top realtor in the area so with summertime and prime rental season upon us she knew she needed help to update her cottage.
The homeowner gave us free rein for design. Her top priority was escalating the overall feel of the place. Making it cozy and welcoming but most importantly a place that her guests would want to return to over and over and over again.
A budget and timeline were established and we got to work. The pictures truly speak for themselves. Check out the Before and After shots. Then you decide…how did we do?
I don’t know if your life is anything like mine, but in the winter I am simply at home more often. Or maybe I should say, I am inside my home more often. I run around like everyone else all week and spend most of my daylight hours in the woods or at a ski area on the weekends, but the doors to the deck have been locked and unopened for more than three months now. I often long for opening the windows to welcome the fresh spring and summer breezes, but for now, I’ll find beauty in the icicles hanging from the sills.
However, spending this time inside I think it’s pretty natural to start paying attention to the details of your home. You may notice the eggplant purple accent wall that the previous owners gifted you or the mantle adorned with expired holiday cards or the cluttered bookshelves that need a little love. But, is that where it stops? At the noticing? Maybe it’s time to take it to the next step…the ACTION step.
Winter is the perfect time to re-style your home and this is one of the services that we offer at Moov Consultants. Basically, we come to your house and you walk us through your home sharing the things you love and the things you don’t. Through this process, we are able to gather a sense of your style, how you live in your space and what you need help with. We essentially are a set of fresh eyes, looking at your own furnishings, your artwork, your accessories, your paint colors, your furniture layout and lighting. Then, through this outside lense, we are able to offer advice on ways to improve your space. It’s a really fun process and clients are often amazed at how quickly their home can be transformed into a space that they love. Check out this Before and After photo below. There is still more work to do, but by changing the layout of the furniture an entirely new look was created.
Moov Consultants can help transform your present space without losing touch of your style and personality.
Here are the BEFORE pictures:
And a few AFTER:
Here is what our client had to say about her overall experience with us:
“With all the demands busy family and work lives bring, “finishing” a home renovation project by fully moving into and styling our new spaces was quickly falling to the bottom of the list. At the same time, we knew we had to make the most out of the investment we had made in our home. So I called Moov. They took care of the house, saving me precious time to focus on other things in my life. Touches of color, practical and beautiful furniture accents, soft pillows, clutter free shelves appeared and more appeared like magic. All of the selections they made were reasonably priced and matched our style. Everything they put together came with total flexibility to return or rearrange but we didn’t change a thing! Months later I still wander around my house and think, “Thank you Moov!”
A special thanks to Ethan Allen, Vincent Fernandez Oriental Rugs, Gardner’s Supply in Williston.
We know that you’re not supposed to have favorites, but the project in Waitsfield that we have been working on has quickly become simply that: our fav! It’s a unique situation because the homeowners purchased the property and then left the country for 4 months. During that time, we have spent endless hours planning, designing, managing contractors, accepting deliveries, and selecting all of the home furnishings, paint colors, light fixtures, flooring, and furniture to create a beautiful and livable home for our lovely clients. Even though the job is not complete, here are a few photos to show the progression of our work. Check it out: