Wednesday, July 8, 2015

BEFORE, Our Schoolhouse, The Great Room and Library

Welcome back to our schoolhouse home BEFORE tour.  I need to start with a disclaimer here. Many of these BEFORE pictures will be staying this way for a while and the after pictures may be a year or two out...sigh. 

Yesterday I showed you the entries and front yard of the schoolhouse, and the mudroom area.  Today we are stepping through the entries into the great room.

This is the view from the front door area, actually from the library. The door on the right is the door to the mudroom landing. This, of course, would have been the main school room and these are the original fir floors. There are small holes in a circular pattern on the floor where the desks were bolted to the floor--I love that!
This is directly to the left of the front door, a raised library with a media center underneath.  There is a very modern looking propane fireplace.  I am not sure if it was added for extra warmth or for ambiance, but I hope to redesign it a bit, add a surround or something to make it a bit less modern looking.  
The previous owners loved a variety of styles, one being Japanese. These shoji screens(that we had already removed before the picture) slide to hide the media area. We want to use the shoji screen hardware and the door frames, but either add reclaimed wood or tin to them.  The wood is probably my first choice, but I think the screens will become too heavy.  Beadboard or a light pine tongue and groove might work.  If I use tin, I want it to look industrial like, not an intricate, Victorian ceiling tile.   
To the right of the media area are narrow stairs that lead to the library.  
There is a bookshelf there as well.
The library, oh what to say about the library.  We have mixed feelings.  All of the books were left for us and there are some fabulous ones that I can't wait to read.  There are a lot on Montana history, gardening, and various other topics.  The paperbacks are all in keeping with the genres we generally enjoy reading.  

Our library issues are many: the railing needs changed or painted dark brown at the very least, the window wall bookshelves are made for paperbacks and are shallow and short, the carpeting is a basic indoor/ outdoor carpeting and does not go with the house.  Removing the library would open up the great room and give us more space. Our thoughts are to remove the library landing and extend the bookshelves on the ends to the floor.  We would also keep two or three rows of the paperback bookshelves along the ceiling and add a rolling library ladder. 

Temporarily I think the shoji screens will be changed up, the spindles painted, and some shelves will be removed from the paperback section to make taller shelves for some decor.  I do have a small club chair added where you see the flags in this picture (I did not put the flags on the floor, that is where we found them and they are on a shelf now).  I have a little side table and it is a great place to look out and enjoy the view. 

Another note, they put a third pane over these front windows and they cannot be opened.  I want to open them.  Removing the landing will allow us to get the trim off and remove the third pane. I do like being able to look out and if we remove the library landing area, I won't be able to look out because the windows are so tall.  I am open to ideas!! In the meantime, I am loving exploring all of the fabulous books.
Looking from the bottom of the library stairs is the hallway area to the bedrooms.  There was a large war bonnet art piece on the wall between these two wall sconces, you can see it on the floor here as they left it for us.  While I appreciate this as a piece of art, we are not into Native American art so we will probably be selling this piece.  The wall sconces are quite modern and will be changed out for something more industrial and farmhouse like.  I want to put some old school maps I have on this wall, family pictures, etc.--a gallery wall.
There are pocket doors between the great room and bedroom area and we really like these and they do help drown out noise.
On the opposite wall there are lovely, original windows with the wavy glass.  These look into the solarium, which, along with the kitchen, is a post for another day. 

Again, I am taking all opinions and advice!  Bring on the comments!


  1. I am not a decorator, so have no offerings for you... BUT--I can't believe they left all those books!! I love my books and just cannot imagine leaving them! Good for you tho!

    1. Same here about the books! So lucky to get a ready library full with books.

  2. What a unique home, Becky! It's really great to see, glad you are sharing.

  3. I can't wait to follow along on this exciting excited for you!!

  4. Ummm, you'll kill the landing? :(
    I am sure whatever you do will turn out beautiful, it's just that this is such a unique feature (and I am a booklover and I wish I had that in my home).

    You got a place so interesting, it's crazy. Pact with features few other homes have (maybe no other homes actually). The floor elevator and the tall beautiful ceilings! Wow. :)

  5. my only advice would be to only change what you have to for a while live with it it is so unique that i would hate for you to go something and then regret it xx

  6. OMG!! All I could say is that I would love a Library in my home!! Can't wait to see what you will do with it!!


  7. Becky, this is such a fabulous home! I agree with "monkey"... live with it for a while (I think you already said you were going to do this) and the delightful inspiration will come to you in an "ah-HAH!!" series of moments. :) Gorgeous floors, doors and more. I am so happy you are sharing your adventure as well as all these photos! ~ Christina

  8. I love this, it is such an amazing home. So much potential!


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate your kind words!