The restoration of a one-room schoolhouse …into a fabulous home!
It’s a good thing our client purchased this beautiful old schoolhouse in Northumberland County—I think some walls would have collapsed in a few years without the work we’re doing!
It’s always interesting when you dig into an old building. When you strip some of the plaster away and remove partitions that have been stuck in over the years you can see what a building has been through—and often it’s not pretty.
This fine old brick school was proudly constructed early in the 20th century on the site of a smaller, earlier structure, by the local school board. While skilled craftsmen were almost certainly employed, it’s obvious that some of the brickwork was done by well-meaning, but less skilled, volunteers. That’s lead to the necessity of shoring up the back wall and replacing a lot of brick that was just plain worn out due to water damage. Luckily, we were able to salvage thousands of good, matching bricks from an unneeded wall inside the building.
This structure must have been a leading edge building in its time, it features an early use of poured concrete in the foundation and some very innovative (for the day) site-built roof trusses in the attic. Unfortunately, early concrete does not measure up to today’s product and we’ve needed to correct some problems there too!
When finished, the old school will be a showplace, able to easily last another century! We’re restoring the original window sash and the patterned metal roof tiles are being faithfully reproduced to recreate the original ornate roof and bell tower.
There’s lots more we could tell you about this project, but we think the photos will speak for themselves! And note: we started this project in December, so that meant constructing a temporary protective structure all around three sides of the building to keep the weather out so we could work. Soon, the structure will be taken down and the materials actually used in the completion of the building—we don’t waste good materials!
“Rob and his crew were a pleasure to work with on what turned out to be a complicated and lengthy restoration. They understood the vision, had the skills to execute it, and put their hearts into all they did.”
Anne-Marie Burrus, Mill Valley School
These photos show the schoolhouse before and after renovation:
This is the old school the way it looked when we were starting work. As you can see, we had a job ahead of us!
Below is the finished exterior. Quite a change!
An aerial view of the restored metal roof.