Rezoned and Repurposed: Nova Scotia school house

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

This idyllic little school house was originally located on Peggy’s Cove Road in Moose Brook, Nova Scotia. It is now a cozy getaway home with just enough room for the creative couple who gave it new life.

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

In the 1960’s the historic school building was moved to another nearby location and was used as a general store for the next three decades.

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

The store eventually closed and the empty building was given to its current owner for free with the minor caveat that it had to be moved (again).

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

New owners David Lacey and Heather Stephens had recently acquired a beautiful 55 acre parcel of land in Tenecape, Hants County, Nova Scotia and were determined to haul the school house over to their property and convert it into an off-grid, eco-friendly living space.

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

This is what the 1875 school house looked like when they first acquired it:

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

Here is a historic photo of the one room school with lean-to:

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

At some point in the past the lean-to addition was removed (probably when the building was first moved), but David and Heather were determined to restore the building to its original appearance.

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

But first – the hard part. They had to prep the old building for the move to its new location:

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

Off comes the top so it will fit under power lines during the journey…

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

Jacked-up onto a flatbed truck, and away she goes…

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

I especially love the picture below with the tractor pulling the truck (pulling the house) and the ocean in the background…

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

Once the school house arrived at its new and permanent destination (only a few miles away), it was time to reassemble:

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

The couple put a new roof on the structure…

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

And they reattached the original small lean-to shed that was visible in the historic photo:

image from:

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

I find it remarkable that the original lean-to survived so well APART from the school building and was able to be reunited with the main structure!

After a lot of hard work, the old school house is good as new – but still chalk-full of vintage charm.

Have a look inside…

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

Isn’t it adorable?

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

David and Heather squeezed in a sitting area, kitchen and bedroom area – in addition to a composting toilet in the shed addition.

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

Even the pooch – named Dr. Phil – is taken by the views…

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

This wider shot (below) gives a better sense of how the space is utilized, and what the couple did with the ceiling:

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

They have assembled a fabulous collection of vintage school memorabilia in the 600 square foot former school…

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

Heather pointing out the old black board and historic lesson books:

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

On the backside of the home, you can see how they set up the outdoor shower:

David explains:

There is no “live water” indoors as this would have triggered a septic system installation. The shower and sink, with gravity feed hot and cold water are outside.

This results in only minimal intrusion on the historic structure.

Doesn’t the school house look like it has always been there?

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

image from: http://tcape.webs.com/

Just a shining example of new life for an old building.

Thanks to David and Heather for allowing me to share these photos on my blog.

To see additional photos and read the full story behind moving the old Moose Brook School, check out the T-Cape School website.

Also, you can check out another article about the converted school house on the Tiny House Blog.

 

12 Comments

  • Meg says:

    Your posting this is so well timed, in two hours we’re going to try and get our permit to move an 1875 schoolhouse to our property for use as a carriage house. Hopefully it works out as well for us as it did them!

    • housecrazy says:

      Meg, if you need advice, etc. you should contact David via the website I linked to above – I’m sure he could fill you in on some of the details of moving an old school building!

    • Make no mistake, moving a house is a big deal! If you do not have wires to contend with or if the structure can be lowered to clear wires then it greatly simplifies this. Cutting the roof down to the collar ties was the best solution for us for sure!
      The other big deal is the condition of the sills and floor joists. These must be sound before moving. It took about two months of work before the schoolhouse went on the flatbed.
      It is probably best to hire a professional house mover. This would have cost us about 35K so we opted to tackle it ourselves with local help. In the end it cost about 1/10 of that. If you do not have the equipment or skills to do this get a professional crew.
      Good luck with this!

      • Meg says:

        We’re in a somewhat different situation, our schoolhouse is in such rough shape it needs to be disassembled, moved in pieces, and rebuilt onto a new foundation. Easier in some ways, much much harder in others!

  • Sue says:

    This is mind boggling that they moved it, restored it, and stocked it full of school vintage items. They are heroes.

  • Wayne says:

    Its amazing how common it used to be to move buildings. Now they make tv shows about it but back in the day, it used to be nothing to pick up a house and move it. Not that it wasn’;t hard work. They just did it more often when the houses were smaller.

  • Sharon Taylor says:

    What a dream to live in such simplicity and beauty! This was a fun post to read Sarah…you have such a knack :)

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