The Anti-Tiny House? Family Converts a 10,000 Square Foot Vintage 60s School to Save Money

Written by on April 4, 2016 in Economy, Tiny Homes & Frugal Living with 4 Comments
BnB bedroom-compressed


By Lloyd Alter | Tree Hugger

Lots of people have converted old schoolhouses. But a typical 10,600 square foot midcentury box? That is another story. But that is what Alysa Hawkins and Jesse Parker did, according to Carolyn Ireland in the Globe and Mail. They sold their house in Toronto (where on the next page in the Real Estate section, a 15 foot wide townhouse on an ordinary street sold for $ 1,350,000) and bought the school in trendy Prince Edward County for under $ 200,000.

Related Article: Check Out the Creative Ocean View Tiny House This Man Built for Around $1300


The gym became the combo living/dining/kitchen, each of the three kids got a classroom for a bedroom, and other classrooms have been converted into huge beautiful bed and breakfast suites. Oh, and they have eight acres of land and a baseball diamond.

I love this shot of the kids and dogs scootering down the corridor. (see all the great photos by Johnny C Lam in the Globe and Mail here). In their blog, they describe their new lifestyle lifestyle, “One that is less busy, more fulfilling and more sustainable.”

Related Article: This New Tiny Home Design Makes a Big Splash at Canadian Home Show

B&B exterior

The place may have been cheap but it was a lot of work, from dealing with sketchy plumbing to an oil furnace that cost C$38,000 to feed in its last year of operation. But after insulating, installing new windows and a radiant floor system they are warm and comfortable. They are growing much of their own food and even selling corn by the roadside. They are able to do all this with encouragement from the local politicians, who have instituted a “creative rural economy policy” that is really interesting and unusual: (Big PDF here)


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  1.' Barbara Lee says:

    I like the idea, but the Mother Theresa bedding would have to go.

  2.' David D. Kempster says:

    Fantastic, but I would have left the gym as a gym/music room… would love a badminton court in my house, and a place for my band to play that I could have a few friends stay over so no “issues” awesome idea…. also see a lot of roof space for solar, rainwater recycling and gardens

  3.' Judy Bye says:

    Imagine heating it in WI.

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