Joining Shobac—a historic farm in Nova Scotia now filled with cabins available for rent—is a 1830 schoolhouse converted into a two-bedroom cottage. Rehabilitated by Brian MacKay-Lyons of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, the one-room schoolhouse hails from the town of Chebogue. MacKay-Lyons purchased the decrepit structure—it had closed in 1950 and fallen into misuse—to save it from demolition, and restored and transported it to the Shobac site.
Though it changed locations when it moved to Shobac, the updated schoolhouse has the same orientation as it once did—the entrance sits on the east end of the house. The exteior features clapboard walls and a cedar shingled roof.
Pictured is the structure before it was updated by MacKay-Lyons. "[The schoolhouse was] from the village next to where I grew up," he says. "I couldn’t bear to see it fall down."
MacKay-Lyons carefully restored the original wainscoting that surrounds the interior. The living room occupies the space where the main classroom used to be. Where an old outhouse shed once stood, there is a new window overlooking the ocean. All of the other windows in the house are original.
The benches around the dining table are also original. "The reason I bought the schoolhouse is because of those benches," MacKay-Lyons says. A black kitchen unit adds a modern touch. "The freestanding central core allowed the completely restoration of the wainscoting, and lets you to see the full 36-foot-long sides of the schoolhouse," he adds. The countertops and sink are black granite.
The second floor of the schoolhouse was likely used as another classroom space, one for boys and one for girls. Now, it contains two bedrooms, a smaller bunk room and a master bedroom.
'When you do a historic restoration, it’s a great way to learn about tradition," MacKay-Lyons says. "I learned a lot from working with [local] artisans, cabinet makers, and window makers. The artisan who made the windows—his family has been making windows that way for 250 years."