Kingsburg, Nova Scotia

Site size: 60 acres

Project size: 1,400 square feet

Program: When architect Brian MacKay-Lyons heard that a 180-year-old schoolhouse from his childhood hometown in Nova Scotia was in dire condition, he intervened. The architect and his wife, Marilyn, decided to purchase the schoolhouse and convert it into a charming winter home for their family.

Location: Mackay-Lyons, principal at MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, dismantled and transported the schoolhouse from its original site in the middle of a pasture in Chebogue, Nova Scotia to the architect's farm in Kingsburg, nearly 200 miles away. In its new location, the schoolhouse is part of a mixed farm campus of reclaimed historic buildings'including an octagonal barn'and modern structures.

Solution: The two-story schoolhouse, constructed around 1830, had greatly deteriorated over the years. The architects preserved much of the building, including its hand-hewn frame and openings, but Mackay-Lyons needed to replace the walls with clapboard cladding and pine wainscoting, plus add a new cedar-shingled roof.

The ground level'the schoolhouse's classroom'now comprises the living, kitchen and dining areas. To maintain the spirit of the schoolhouse's program, the architect used antique, long school benches as seating for a communal dining table and installed vintage blackboards. Mackay-Lyons made sure to pull the black service core'bathroom and stairs'away from the walls to stay true to the open, historic schoolhouse plan. Upstairs under the gables is the master bedroom and a cozy bunkroom for the MacKay-Lyons' children.

Construction methods: The Chebogue schoolhouse has an original timber frame. Because of deterioration, Mackay-Lyons replaced the envelope with clapboard.

Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited
2188 Gottingen Street
Halifax, NS
Phone: 902-429-1867
Fax: 902-429-6276


Brian and Marilyn MacKay-Lyons

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited
2188 Gottingen Street
Halifax, NS
Phone: 902-429-1867
Fax: 902-429-6276

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Design Director: 
Brian MacKay-Lyons

Project Team:
MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited

Project Assistants:

Architect of Record:
Brian MacKay-Lyons

Michel Comeau – Campbell Comeau

General contractor: 
Phil Creaser

Will Green 




Structural system

Wood frame:
Original windows restored by Jeff Langille

Interior finishes
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:
Charles Lantz Cabinetry, Lunenburg, NS

P9 Furniture, Halifax, NS