House Tours
Jan 26, 2015

House tour: A heritage schoolhouse becomes a cozy rural home

By: Jennifer Huges
A heritage schoolhouse becomes a cozy rural home

Take a peek inside this renovated schoolhouse. Author: Donna Griffith

House Tours
Jan 26, 2015

House tour: A heritage schoolhouse becomes a cozy rural home

By: Jennifer Huges

What better place to spend the winter than in an old schoolhouse in an idyllic rural setting?

Growing up in Toronto and then living in Vancouver for 21 years, Janet Appleton, owner of The Dog Tack Shop, was a devoted city girl with a low-maintenance condo as her dwelling of choice. Then one fateful date, she happened upon a real-estate listing for a converted heritage schoolhouse on eight acres in Schomberg, Ont. "I saw it online and fell completely in love," she confesses. "It was all purple inside with shag carpeting everywhere. Everyone tried to talk me out of it, but I had a vision."

Moving back to Ontario meant being closer to family and many of the craftspeople she works with for her business. So in a lifestyle-changing move, she bought the place, taking possession of the property more than three years ago with her two boxers, Marco and Benny, in tow.

Photo Gallery

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House tour: Converted heritage schoolhouse

Old Deacon Schoolhouse

Nestled into eight acres of bucolic countryside, the Old Deacon Schoolhouse is a well-preserved example of a typical rural Ontario schoolhouse.

By: Jennifer Huges Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Converted heritage schoolhouse

Environmental design inspiration

Although the schoolhouse isn't designated a heritage building, Janet was determined to design the interior with an environmentally aware decor approach that respected its history.

By: Jennifer Huges Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Converted heritage schoolhouse

Brick exterior

Janet with her two boxers, Marco and Benny, on the steps of the schoolhouse. Many bricks on the home's exterior have children's initials etched into them.

By: Jennifer Huges Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Converted heritage schoolhouse

Entryway decor

A few boughs of natural greenery adorn the entryway door. Homeowner Janet Appleton has no idea what the numbers at the entrance might have meant but she and her guests love to speculate.

By: Jennifer Huges Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Converted heritage schoolhouse

Iron staircase

An iron staircase salvaged from Toronto's first telegram building leads to the loft. Janet ripped shag carpeting off its treads to reveal the maker's mark from St.Lawrence Foundry.

By: Jennifer Huges Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Converted heritage schoolhouse

Antique decor

Antique books include her great-grandfather's bible and her great-grandmother's hymnal. The bench, marked 1954, was a gift from her grandfather to her mother.

By: Jennifer Huges Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Converted heritage schoolhouse

Stained-glass windows

In the main living room, the doors flanking the fireplace mantel are the original boys' and girls' entrances to the school. Stained-glass windows were added in a previous renovation. Janet's mother, Judith, lovingly helped source many of the home's furnishings, including the dark grey Louis-style armchair.

By: Jennifer Huges Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Converted heritage schoolhouse

Harvest dining table

The harvest table in the dining area was one of the many pieces left behind by the previous owners that Janet was able to incorporate into the new design. Huge barn beams were left intact and exposed to lend warmth to the predominantly white interior.

By: Jennifer Huges Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Converted heritage schoolhouse

Natural decor

During the winter, Janet decorates with a light touch, utilizing the natural materials found in abundance on her property.

By: Jennifer Huges Source: Donna Griffith Credits: Style at Home

 

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House tour: A heritage schoolhouse becomes a cozy rural home