Welcome to Gramp’s Old School! My dad, mom (Gramp and Em ) and I purchased the Center Falls school house in the fall of 2017. My dad’s father, Richard Tefft Sr. (my grandfather) attended the school as a boy in the 1940’s right before the one room school houses were shuttered and schools were centralized. Hence the title “Gramp’s Old School.” We later learned that my great grandmother Martha Dewey Tefft also attended the school circa 1915. For more on Grandpa Tefft check out his page here.
my great grandmother Martha Dewey Tefft is the first student kneeling on the left
Gramp’s Old School was built in 1850 and is located outside of a small village in beautiful Washington County, New York. It is literally 100 yards from my family home and I passed it every day as a child on my way to school. The property was in horrible disrepair when we purchased it. The inside had severely deteriorated and was home to generations of raccoons and various other creature families. It came complete with a hole in the roof and a hole in the floor to match. Needless to say as soon as we went inside we fell in love!
our first look at the school house exterior
all cleaned up!
our first look at the interior
good as new!
Why We Love the School House
Original slate roof
9 giant windows in the main structure
Vintage light fixtures
Country setting (our neighbors are cows!)
Hand hewn beams
700 square feet
Tons of shiplap and old wood
5 original chalkboards
The Family History!
hand hewn beams, ship lap in the addition, 2 of the 5 original chalkboards
The plan is to convert the school house into a one bedroom, one bathroom “tiny house.” We are committed to retaining as much of the original character and features as possible, while at the same time making it able to function for modern day. The school house has no formal septic system (can you say chemical toilet?), no running water, and no modern electricity. For more details on the lengthy list of renovations check out the No Really….Now What?? post.
chemical toilet and original fuse box
We’re still working on the how. We have limited funds but a lot of passion and dedication. We’re rolling up our sleeves and doing as much of the labor as we can. This is truly a family affair, with my siblings, extended family, and friends pitching in. See the About Us page for a run-down of who’s who.
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one of my favorite photos of the rear of the school house
How it all Started (edited from the original blog post)
Well…. I’m not quite sure….it all started one evening as a casual conversation with my parents:
Me: “Did you know the school house down the road is for sale?”
Mom: “What school house?”
(fast forward to after I explain it’s less than a quarter of a mile from her house)
Me “We should buy it! We could restore it and make it a vacation rental a la Airbnb!” (fast forward to after I explain what Airbnb is)
Dad: “Did you know that your grandfather attended that school when he was a boy? I’ve always wanted to see the inside of it.”
That was back in March of 2017, which was a hectic time for my family. We were preparing for my husband, Ben to have major surgery to remove a large benign brain tumor. We were also first time parents to a then 15-month old baby, Philip. We had spent the last 9 years in North Carolina and just moved back to our family home in Upstate New York. Our dog developed major back problems and needed to be carried everywhere. So of course it was the best time to embark on a real estate investment!
The end of summer loomed, Ben was doing much better and came through the surgery with flying colors and our 10-year-old miniature dachshund made a miraculous recovery. So after much back and forth, research, and a few site visits we decided we’re in love. I made an offer through our realtor, Abbey, so did someone else, they accepted our offer and we closed! Hurray?!?!
photo we sent to the owner hoping that he would accept our offer, Philip had just woken up from a nap and was pretty much screaming and Gramp had just gotten out of work! I also kind of fell in the ditch that’s right in front of us….