Nova Scotia School House Home - Tiny House Blog

Nova Scotia School House Home

Moose Brook School

by David Lacey

Owning a school has been an important goal for my teacher/prof partner for many years. We moved closer to her dream when we acquired this lovely 55 acre property in Nova Scotia. Then, our search for a movable school led to this 1875 school house. The school house had been turned into a store and laterย a storage shed. It was located a few miles away.

The photos tell the story of the tear down, move, rebuild and the now nearly finished schoolhouse. Note, the school house, in 1875, cost $750 completely constructed and furnished! It is now a treasure beyond measure to us.

The Old School

The Old School

The Move Begins - Rafters Down

The Move Begins – Rafters Down

Now the Inside

Now the Inside

Trailer Under the School

Trailer Under the School

Daybreak Haul

Daybreak Haul

Clear Sailing Now

Clear Sailing Now

Almost There

Almost There

Almost Rolling

Almost Rolling

Now the Rebuilding Begins

Now the Rebuilding Begins

Replacing Sills

Replacing Sills

Rafters Back Up

Rafters Back Up

Weather Tight Almost

Weather Tight Almost

Shingles Completed

Shingles Completed

New Ceiling

New Ceiling

Power at Last

Power at Last

school in a landscape

Nova Scotia School House Home

School House Home in the Fog

School House Home in the Fog

The Porch

The Porch

School House and the View

School House and the View

School Flowers

School Flowers

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

Living Area

Living Area



Dr. Phil on the Couch

Dr. Phil on the Couch

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Minnesota Prairie Roots - February 26, 2013 Reply

I learned about your schoolhouse project via Bob Collins News Cut column at Minnesota Public Radio. Wow, this is just beautiful–the building, the location, the decorating (especially the pops of color). So, so wonderful that you rescued and repurposed this schoolhouse. It’s a thing of beauty, a work of art, a wonderful example of how to creatively use a piece of history.

    David and Heather - March 3, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for your kind comments. Could you please send me the link to Mr Collins’ article?

K - February 26, 2013 Reply

Hi. My name is envy!

amy o. woodbury - February 26, 2013 Reply

thank you, first of all.
a lovely and heart-warming story.
my husband and i are just about to begin construction on a little cabin (in southern utah) and i found a lot of inspiration from your photos. your kitchen! who says you need to have stock cabinets.
and that stove. what a personality.

thanks again!

Mariah Pastell - February 26, 2013 Reply

I want to live there! Absolutely beautiful.

Debra - February 26, 2013 Reply

This is the most beautiful ‘tiny’ home I have sen yet. Thanks for sharing!

gmh - February 26, 2013 Reply

This is ADORABLE!!!! As a teacher, I am smitten with this salvaged schoolhouse and its beautiful location. Nice job- you must be so proud of your work.
Thanks for sharing!

Molly - February 26, 2013 Reply

This looks like such a wonderful home to live in. Congratulations on achieving such an important goal! Thanks for sharing your home with us ๐Ÿ™‚

Diane - February 26, 2013 Reply

Wow! Gorgeous. Thanks for sharing this wonderful home.

Josh Wren - February 26, 2013 Reply

A beautiful relocation!

Aric - February 26, 2013 Reply

Wow… I am speechless. Where do you start?

Thank you for rescuing a piece of history.

Thank you for preserving its character and moving it to such a beautiful location.

Thank you for sharing.

I am quite envious of your gorgeous home.

I love the interior design and use of vivid color. Wow…

Greenthumbmama - February 26, 2013 Reply

Absolutely beautiful! Well done!

Hunter - February 26, 2013 Reply

Dang, i like the dog’s bandana……Oh and the House project too.

Hockey parents scorned (5×8 – 2/26/13) | Minnesota News Feed - February 26, 2013 Reply

[…] Bonus I: How a small schoolhouse was turned into a home in Nova Scotia. Beautiful pictures. (Tiny House blog) […]

Victoria - Ozarks Crescent Mural - February 26, 2013 Reply

Wow! Everything is overwhelming. The view. The move. The openness inside. Kudos!

Lynne H - February 26, 2013 Reply

WOW!!! Thanks for the photos of this tiny house journey. A dream come true. Beautiful job!

House Crazy Sarah - February 26, 2013 Reply

David, I love this so much! Thank you for sharing the pictures! I do a series on my house blog called rezoned & repurposed… I was wondering if you might like to have your little school house featured on there as well?
If so, please email me at:
I have covered several old school houses converted to homes so I would love to have yours on there as well! (Especially since it’s Canadian – as am I!)
-Sarah Felix Burns

Elizabeth - February 26, 2013 Reply

How much does it typically cost to move a small building like this? I would be interested in more of the details of this project like total time involved, cost, unexpected turns, etc.

Segina - February 26, 2013 Reply

Thanks for sharing your beautiful house. This really nice. God Bless you and your family.

Holly - February 26, 2013 Reply

Absolutely beautiful!! Location. School-house. Furnishings. Dog. I may have just seen a glimpse of heaven! Enjoy.

TJ - February 26, 2013 Reply

Stunning view!!! No need to ever leave this property. Heart stopping!!!(Almost Rolling photo) “Dude!You’re about to get schooled by that school!”I would trade places with the pug,Dr.Phil.

    David and Heather - March 2, 2013 Reply

    Regarding “stock” cabinets ( comment 3) :
    You can make almost anything into kitchen cabinets.Old bureaus, packing crates etc. Hanging them is a snap. Just rip a 1×4 down the middle on a 45deg angle. *Screw one piece horizontally to the wall studs, point up, and the other to your “cabinet” point down and hang it up! It is secure and you can remove it by simply lifting it up!
    *[____//____] <The side view would look like this, only vertical.

Heather - February 27, 2013 Reply


Simon - March 1, 2013 Reply

As an Australian, who lived forn12 months in Nova Scotia I totally get this wonderful school / House. … Right down to the salvaged batteries from the sunken boat!
What a lovely house in a fantastic place.


Natalie - March 1, 2013 Reply

Thanks for reminding me how beautiful this part of the world is! Lucky to be here, and lucky to have these sorts of small structures dot our landscape everywhere. Humble houses by the sea ๐Ÿ™‚

Paula Thornton (@rotkapchen) - March 1, 2013 Reply

Stunning interior, and what a VIEW! A dream come true.

Thanks for sharing. I will retake the journey often and live vicariously through your experience.

Sandra Allen - March 1, 2013 Reply

I actually gasped when I saw it almost rolling over but that was nothing to compare to the interior shots. I am sending your post to all my peeps…you did the most amazing job I have seen in too long.
Thank you from my nose to my toes for the post. Sharing what you did and how it turned out is amazing…truly.
Sandi Allen/fiber artist.

Victoria Cullen - March 1, 2013 Reply

My hat is off to you! What a remarkable job you did to rescue this treasure from the past! Kudos!

David and Heather - March 1, 2013 Reply

Thank you all for your kind comments. This journey has been unbelievably fulfilling at every juncture. There was an enormous amount of sweat and help from friends and family. Considering the aforementioned and for the price of a new mid size car,this is what we have and we consider ourselves to be completely fortunate that many paths led to this eventuality.
Again, our thanks!
Heather and David

Larry Creel - March 1, 2013 Reply

Love it.

Elizabeth D. - March 1, 2013 Reply


Alex Hare - March 1, 2013 Reply

I live in a rather staid neigbourhood of Toronto where many people try to emulate the rich.The renovations are appalling and the architects should be ashamed.This Nova Scotia house is the best home I have ever seen.The view,the decor is simple but superb.How lucky these people are.I congratulate you on your good taste and values.

Daniel - March 1, 2013 Reply

Great progress photos of the move of a wonderful home/school.


Susan P - March 1, 2013 Reply

The most beautiful tiny house i’ve ever seen on the tiny house blog. Inspiring! Thank you…

Consuelo - March 2, 2013 Reply

Thank you so much for sharing such a great and heart warming story! This House has inspired us to build one for ourselves here in Argyll Scotland, we have a sea front Property and I think it will be just perfect!

Darren Genge - March 2, 2013 Reply

I am in love with your tiny house and property. Where in NS are you. Good to here I am not only one in NS that follows the TH movement.. (no pun intended) really nice pics also.

Charles Purdy - March 2, 2013 Reply

Wow! Really great job.
My daughter and son-in-law had a very old house moved and were working to restore it. ( my family had built many of the structures here and as I had worked with them as a child remember how to build the old way ) The local municipal inspector came in and condemed the structure as it did not meet present ” code ” and ordered it destroyed.
They lost $10,000 already invested and had no recourse as inspector had the only say.
Some places it seems we can not preserve history.
If your ever in Malagash come visit us oyster people.

cindy - March 2, 2013 Reply

OH how fantastic. Where about in NS is it, as I live in Dartmouth and would love to ask questions and pick your brains. We have property and are considering small inland from south shore area.
Congrats on awesome property, and view and a sweet house!

Jennifer Morris - March 2, 2013 Reply

Truly one of the most beautiful cottages I have ever seen. Good job guys!! Jen Morris

Sandra - March 2, 2013 Reply

Wow! Love the black barrel shower and solar panel additions. Just lovely inside and out.

Marcia Weber - March 2, 2013 Reply

I absolutely looooooove what you have done by repurposing this school house!!! I could live there in a heartbeat. The house is adorable and the views are spectacular! Thanks for sharing the wonderful transformation and photos . The colors are great. Charming home.

Jeff - March 2, 2013 Reply

Great job in moving and renovation work! Love it! The scenery is great too.

David and Heather - March 2, 2013 Reply

Thank you all again. We are profoundly humbled and flattered by your comments.

There was a question regarding moving costs: Frankly there are so many variables that every single situation is different and there are many differing answers to any single situation.

We had quotes that would have paid for the entire completed house just to move it! Ultimately, friends, hard work and local smarts prevailed and it was moved very reasonably.

Many factors came together to make this project work. Some are:

1-A rock/gravel pit on the property for roads and aggregate
2- plenty of water up hill for gravity feed water
3- Reasonable and highly skilled people available locally
4-Cooperation of family and friends
5-personal skills and equipment

Again, our thanks.

Alex Hare - March 2, 2013 Reply

Absolutely incredible! Where did you get the fabric for the striped chairs?

Kathryn - March 2, 2013 Reply

So so so gorgeous! I want one so badly!!!

nancy - March 2, 2013 Reply

Not to state the obvious, but how much DID all this cost? The move, the house, all the renovations? Total bill? And is there a bathroom in the small back room, or?

David and Heather - March 2, 2013 Reply

Replies to questions:

1- if you post your email address I will contact you re specific details.
2-There is a composting toilet in the shed extension. A Sun-Mar Excel NE. Works 100%
3-Cost? about 30K so far in hard costs….but much volunteer input/help and sweat cannot be put in $$.
4-The fabric is a Sunbrella canvas ( I think)
5- re the County inspector ordering a tear down of a project: Never, ever give in to these people! Just do what you do and ignore them. 99% of the time they will eventually go away and tax you later as if nothing had ever happened. If necessary get an engineer to sign off on your work because that trumps inspectors! Hint: Call in the local press to report on how you are being abused and keep it up! My 2 cents.

David and Heather - March 2, 2013 Reply

Here is the Sunbrella website.

I can’t find the exact fabric. Might have been another company. Some are close. It was in a fabric remnant store.

David and Heather - March 2, 2013 Reply

I found some very similar fabric here:

David and Heather - March 2, 2013 Reply

This is very close….might have to search for more though! Only 2yds available here.

randomray - March 2, 2013 Reply

I just wanted to say what a wonderful project . I hope you get many years of enjoyment from the schoolhouse and future generations benefit from your rescue work too .

Julesap - March 2, 2013 Reply

Great job guys! Looks like you are in the Valley area? I am all about keeping it simple and you sure have done that! Are you totally off the grid? Nice to see some Nova Scotian innovation on this site.

robinfremin - March 2, 2013 Reply

This house is extraordinary…truly! One can see your love and pride in all of the fine details. I really enjoy viewing all of the photos. Thanks for sharing!

Gail McCown - March 2, 2013 Reply

Dear Small House Friends,

We have a “bit and a butt” style cabin and have been trying for 8 years to find a way to install a solar panel. It is really teeny, and wouldn’t need much. Everyone keeps telling us it would be 10-20K, and even if we bought our own panels we couldn’t install the collector/generator. I get sooooo frustrated when I see a sweet little system like the one in this schoolhouse. Any advice gratefully appreciated. We are in Coventry, N.Y. at

Martin - March 2, 2013 Reply

Thank you for the viewing regarding the final school house placement. It seems to reflect my rudiment thought: let us acquire only that which we need. Life would be uncomplicated and so much less convoluted. Enjoy.

Jeanine H - March 3, 2013 Reply

WOW WOW WOW i am sooo impressed.
the perfect home.
absolutely speechless at this post. i adore the condition of the renewed life you have breathed into this home….INCREDIBLE and i will be sharing this everywhere! an absolute site of perfection.
Jeanine H

Jacqi T - March 3, 2013 Reply

Oh SO beautiful! And the view! I so love to see old buildings lovingly restored and appreciated for the treasures they are. Thank you for sharing!

Dennis Brunson - March 3, 2013 Reply

Wow! What an ambitious undertaking and a wonderful end results. I know the pride you feel when you look at the commitments you made come to fruition. Congratulations for a job well done. When excellence is expected, “good enough” won’t do.

Ari Uriartt - March 3, 2013 Reply

Congratulations! A beautiful example of preservation and creativity. In a beautiful scenery.

Damien - March 3, 2013 Reply

First of all awesome job. Such a beautiful home and location. Wish I had the time, patience, skills and location to complete such a project. Second, is Dr.Phil a pug mix? Our dog Duke looks exactly the same and we have been trying to figure out his mix.

mkc - March 3, 2013 Reply

Utterly,ridiculously sweet. ‘nuf said.

Jack - March 5, 2013 Reply

This is one of the most beautiful posts I’ve seen in the history of this blog!

C - March 5, 2013 Reply

Without question the loveliest cottage with the sweetest history, most adorable decorating and absolutely fabulous view I’ve ever seen on any tiny house site! This looks so much like where I grew up and like the wonderful little cottages there. I absolutely love it all. Stellar job!

Alex Wade - March 5, 2013 Reply

What a wonderful project. I did a similar schoolhouse project back in 1972. This one is special due to being off the grid. It is also special to me for Dr. Phil, the black Pug. I have a very large, completely blind rescue Pug named Frank. Congratulations to the owners for a good job and their good taste.
Alex Wade

Shell - March 5, 2013 Reply

Wow, so beautiful! You guys did an amazing job!

Lana Yager - March 6, 2013 Reply

Is your addresses “Heaven”? It should be! It’s a piece of Heaven in my book! How wonderful to look out at such beautiful scenery and to live in a such a creative and special home! Nice job! That is living MY dream! ๐Ÿ™‚

Michelle - March 9, 2013 Reply

Breath taking!

Alex Hare - March 23, 2013 Reply

I have been an advocate of small homes for many years and have seen hundreds.I keep coming back yours.It is without a doubt the most beautiful home in the world.

dave pohl - August 10, 2013 Reply

This is an incredible reuse of a wonderful resource. The same sentiment as reusing a church property.
What are the dimensions of the school house? What did you use for the new foundation?

Whitworth Deen - February 9, 2014 Reply

Greetings from Arkansas. Your home and its location are true bits of Heaven. Bravo! Just wondering, but does your home-made black barrel solar water heater work? Decades ago I knew an enterprising man in Thailand that painted his elevated (approx.14 feet above-ground) water tank flat black, with great success…. until he wanted to take a cold shower. Kindest regards.

A Novel Idea in Nova Scotia – Beaufort, NC - July 18, 2017 Reply

[…] the potential of our very own school house. It had so many neat little ideas. Click this link…Nova Scotia School House Home…to read the full post. I am sure you will find it just as enjoyable as we did. But, the […]

Binnie Langley - February 6, 2020 Reply

Wow…..I just came across this now. One word AMAZING. I lived in Moose Brook for many years and this was my first school. My mother was the teacher there when it closed in 1954. My uncle Lewis Reid purchased the school and moved it to the location where you moved it from. I have a picture of me taken inside the school sitting in front of that same blackboard I see in one of your interior pictures. This brings back so many memories. Thank you for posting this for us to reminisce.

Binnie Langley - February 6, 2020 Reply

If you want my picture sitting in front of that black board, then let me know. The electrical plug and the edge of the chimney is very clear in the picture ๐Ÿ™‚

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