Successful Renovation of Local Schoolhouse
This structure was built in 1891 for an independent community outside of Indianapolis. It was originally a one room school but later split into a two room schoolhouse with a double sided fireplace in the middle.
The small school system was later merged with a larger community, so the schoolhouse was repurposed into a fire station. Two garages were built to store the trucks. Eventually the schoolhouse was transferred to a private owner and used for different community events or as a residence, depending on the needs of the neighborhood.
My friend acquired it and acted as contractor, architect, and much of the manual labor. Key upgrades include new aluminum high-insulation windows and a state-of-the-art HVAC system. Exterior work involved new roofing for the main schoolhouse building and a lot of masonry patching. The attached garages are being used for storage at this point, but they will be converted to a game room and a car garage in time.
The interior renovations included furring out the masonry walls, installing insulation and drywall, and repairing any masonry issues. The original oak floors were sanded and refinished. A new kitchen made from all recycled materials was put in (and the granite for the island came from a prominent building downtown that was recently reclad). The 14'-0" ceiling height gives a definite loftiness and grandness that you don't find in many homes.
New interior walls were installed to section off bedrooms, bathrooms, and a utility room. The bedrooms and bathrooms were furnished with vintage finds from antique shops or family pieces. The overall effect is very pleasant, everything seems to fit and there is a definite authenticity even though the building has been charged with a new life.
But as I mentioned earlier, the key upgrade in this renovation is the new HVAC system. A geo-exchange heat pump works during winter or summer, providing an efficient and inexpensive way to heat this old masonry building. The heating is distributed by a thermal radiant floor system using PEX tubing installed between the original wooden floor joists.
A full set of ducts were also installed for the cooling system and a back-up electric resistance heater is available for any nights that are especially cold. The heat pump is also connected to a water-to-air exchanger which can use the chilled water to blow cool air through the ducts.
The final bonus is that waste heat generated during cooling months is deposited back into the hot water heater. There is very little energy wasted during the generating and distributing process, and the extra insulation in the walls and ceiling keeps most of it inside.
Future plans, in addition to renovating the garage spaces, include adding a full height library shelving system with rolling ladder, a circular staircase that would extend from basement (once finished) to the reclaimed attic/loft space. This will also open up room to install another bathroom in the main floor where the basement stair currently sits. But that work can wait for another day, as I am sure they are deserving of a little break from renovation work to enjoy the work they have already completed.
UDATE: The owner's Flickr photostream is here, if you want to see even more