It’s been a while!…Please forgive me!?…


moving day!


As a new blogger and verryyyyy tired new old house home owner…I really hope you will accept my apology. If you can’t please don’t tell me cause I may just sit down and cry!…hmmm the sitting sounds good! The cryin not so much!

I apologize because I promised to tell you the good and the bad and keep you posted about our latest remodel journey…However, I sorta fell off the grid for a few weeks!…So sorry about that! I am back now, so let’s catch up!

UPDATE…We have moved into the house and have been sleeping here for 3 weeks!…but my oh my…it’s more like “camping out” in a disorganized, semi hoarder like space! Chris and I are sleeping on two sofas in the living room!…  

the living room aka our “bedroom”

 The dining room is packed with chairs (I bought to redo and are too big for our space)…all my “simply tovi” soon to be reworked treasures and boxes and boxes of stuff to unpack!

On the plus side…The kids rooms are mostly “done”…the beds are up and their clothes are put away (sometimes). The boys crazy outdated bathroom works but is so not pretty!…and Livi’s bathroom well let’s just say…OMG!…She discovered that under the white tile…actually it was painted over tile…was lovely original green tile (which happens to be her fave color). So what else to do BUT start scraping if off! UGGG it’s tiring and slow and we are ONLY here after 4 weeks of intermittently scraping! 


the white painted over tile slowly “turning” green

It’s dirty and messy and the paint scrapings cling to everything. All we can do is Keep Calm and Scrape On!

Our bedroom is the slowest (and to date the largest project of all). Sweet Chris works full time and I work a lot and we have 4 kids and everyday life to tend to etc etc…so we have worked on it when we can, but today the room will be painted and soon the floors can be refinished. We are getting closer to having a room! The ceiling is now 8 feet instead of 7….and that might not be the ideal “up to the rafters” height we dreamed of but sure beats the heck out of the cave like feeling it had! Chris and the boys took out two layers of ceiling to expose and use the “raftered” ceiling. 

All along the way, we have tried not to lose site of the world around us!…We have been welcomed by the neighbors and encouraged by friends who bring gifts and smiles and hugs….


key lime pie, peonies and champagne! ❤️
We have enjoyed meals cooked in the freshly painted kitchen, have watched the news together and have ached for the people in Nepal and worried for the people in Baltimore. We have enjoyed some laughs, a little down time and at night we have started to sleep and dream and get used to the whistle of the trains. We have planned and replanned and worked and worked some more.

Over the years, I have read and heard that to buy an old home, takes love, and patience, and a vision of the past to carry into the future, constant work and a lot of money and time. We can now wholeheartedly agree BUT have jumped in with arms outstretched and eyes wide open! Side by side, smile by smile…we can do this! 🙂


the best crew ❤️
team work ❤️


the “funny” thing about DIY

So there is this “funny” thing about DIY…when you don’t show up to work…NO WORK gets done and there is no one to blame but YOURSELF…I dislike that with a passion (we don’t say hate in our house)! This house got off to a more like DDIY…DIDN’T do it yourself.

Don’t get me wrong,the first few days at the house were really productive, but five days after we bought the new old house, Chris and three of the kids went on a pre-planned ski trip to West, Va. Thomas and I stayed behind. (He is a junior and decided not to go and miss school and I just felt bad leaving him. It was a “grown up” decision yet we both cried (don’t tell him I told you!) a lot.

I was planning to get the built-in bookshelves, two mantels and the butler’s pantry cabinets all freshly painted and then distressed. With the majority of the kids and Chris gone, Thomas busy with school and swim practices, I had HOURS to work on things and very LITTLE laundry to do…and what happened?…I got sick! I was not my usual high energy never sit down self…so the house project ground to a screaming HAAALLLTTT! I walked in a couple of times to complete and utter quiet…no saws whirring, no paint rolling onto walls, no ceilings coming down, no cleaning, no sanding, no NOTHING! Where are the workmen OR women??? DIY Reality check, WE are THEM!

Inmost every other house we have redone (learned AFTER the first 2), we have HAPPILY hired and HAPPILY paid a paint crew to redo ceilings, walls, inside closets, trim, cabinets and even steps…Paint is quickest and “easiest” transformation tool to remodel heaven. Even a trimmed out room or a first coat can show a glimpse of the beauty to come…Seriously paint does wonders! I LOVE to brag about paint.

From dingy yellow...
From dingy yellow…
To clean, crisp and neutral gray. (Sherwin Williams-Rhinestone)
To clean, crisp and neutral gray. (Sherwin-Williams-Rhinestone)

Not only am I a mom of 4 (my number one fave job) and am taking on this new house project, but also two years ago started a little biz called Simply tovi.

It’s my passion to recreate under-loved furniture and passed over STUFF…In a nutshell, I simply love old things! Antiques, vintage, thrift…whatever you want to call it!…Silver and crystal to rusty metal and weathered wood, Queen Anne and Chippendale, to Cottage and Country…just give me something and after I stare at it long enough I will make it new-old old-new again! Mostly I do that with a brush (Purdy are my absolute fave) and a can or two of paint.

So, for this house we have not hired anyone to paint; It’s all us, it’s all DIY or DDIY. Makes sense I guess since technically I am a painter and that teeeny tiny budget we have (or don’t have) rules out a hiring anyone. So with a hired crew nowhere in sight and my crew GONE…the silence continued for 4 days, but as a generally upbeat and silvery (sterling preferred) lining type person, I promptly tuned out the silence and just soaked in the blissful quiet. I walked around the beautiful 75-year-old home and really absorbed her. As with all love at first site encounters, after a while you gotta just take a step back and breathe. So I sat in each room (on the floor of course) and pictured the families before us and then slowly could see our crew laughing and crying, working and relaxing, just living within these (soon to be painted) walls…

On the 5th day, brushes and rollers in tow, my brother-in-law, sis and the girls, Thomas and his girlfriend, and a friend from work, (Gotta give them a round of applause!) ALL came over and that aforementioned power of paint took over…The living room and dining room were rolled out twice, the library dark paneling primed, a coffee table primed (perfect project for little hands) and windows washed (another great small hand project), closets and trim freshened up…and when my crew came back that Saturday night they were grateful and stunned at the transformation! As my grandmother impressed upon us…You always NEED a Rave Committee…That’s what keeps the DIYers going…and going…

And so it begins…Again!

Where to begin…at the beginning I guess!

So in 1998, my sweet Chris and I bought our first home, a very LONGGGG ranch house in Mt. Pleasant,SC. My amazing grandmother (who is now 95!) gave us the down payment as a gift “for your future” and not only that but she and my very energetic aunt Nel AND their very own handyman Juan, came all the way from Richmond, Va for 2 weeks to help us with our first ever remodel!…

In the low country humidity and heat, we knocked out and then painted walls, trim, ceilings, and cabinets. Chris and Juan laid tile and refinished floors. We bought new appliances and light fixtures at Lowes and Sears…and in that whirlwind 2 weeks and REDO (on a budget!) process a true LOVE was born…AND unbeknownst to us, a pattern that would continue into 3 states and 4 homes…until now…the 6th house! My dream, my heart, my new love old house…

I have so much to tell you about my family that was small during the first redo and is now bigger!…And what we have learned and have done to get to where we are now! I will post many photos and how to do’s…when to DIY and when to hire experts…I promise to share  the UPs and the DOWNs!

And really…This is way for my out of town family and friends to see what’s happening in the latest Redo and maybe just maybe finally understand why we do what we do over and over again!…and we want them to know how much we appreciate their patience and support!…AND…their muscles during EVERY move 🙂

I have always created a HOME in each house we bought or even rented…and I have LOVED and LIVED each and every one…but in the back of my mind (as a tried and true people pleaser)…I think many of my choices were based on “think” resale or what would a new owner like!? …so here we…ready set….GO!…

This One is All Me! Well actually all Us!