An Old Schoolhouse Becomes a Cozy Cottage in the Catskills

by hookedonhouses on January 19, 2012

One of the great things about Pinterest is that I keep coming across beautiful houses I’ve seen in magazines over the years but had kind of forgotten about. Today’s rediscovery was this 1840s schoolhouse in the Catskills that I fell in love with when Country Living featured it.

It belongs to Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke, a magazine editor and a decorator, who bought the neglected Federal-style schoolhouse for only $30,000.

At that time it was a rental, and it was a big ol’ mess. They spent a year transforming the 900-square-foot schoolhouse into a colorful little weekend retreat they dubbed Monkey Cottage.

The stairs and railings are painted a playful spring green:

The house has no closets, but at least there are some wonderful built-in cubbies like these:

It does my heart good to see an old building like this restored and given a fresh start. (And it looks really fresh with all the yellows and greens!)

Homeowners Jason and John under the “Monkey Cottage” sign at the side door:

I would love to have a cheerful little cottage like this to retreat to on weekends, wouldn’t you? For more photos and information about the former schoolhouse, check out the article at Country Living (photos by Lucas Allen; story by Sara Bliss).

Julia-simple teal signature

P.S. Visit Cottages to see more of my favorites!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Are You Hooked on Houses?

Get Your "House Fix" with My Weekly Newsletter:

Layout and Design Customized by EightCrazy Design.
Jenny Allworthy January 19, 2012 at 7:39 am

I think I could stare at those photos for hours! Adorable outside and inside.

By the way, if anyone has interest in English Country Manor Houses, PBS is showing Secrets of the Manor House at 8pm this Sunday night just before Downton Abbey. Set your PVRs and enjoy some big old English homes and their stories.

Jenny Allworthy at

Jenny Allworthy January 19, 2012 at 8:22 am

P.S. Just found out that you have to “check local listings” as some PBS stations are carrying this and some are not. I hope all who are interested can see it!

Janet January 19, 2012 at 7:39 am

I wish I had a side entrance that looked that good. Love love love the green, it’s the perfect shade.

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints January 19, 2012 at 8:01 am

oh my goodness! i love every little nook and cranny. thanks for sharing. what a great sense of color!

Barbara January 19, 2012 at 8:05 am

I love this little cottage. A little less prints in the living room would be better
for me, but it’s great.

Luciane at January 19, 2012 at 8:11 am

You know me, Julia… I love, love, love cottages! I’ll have one some day!

This is such a cute one! Even though I’m not crazy about green, I think it looks fun here.

Have a Blessed Day!


Luciane at

susie January 19, 2012 at 8:36 am

What a fabulous little cottage. I love all the colors…so bright and cheery.

nanne January 19, 2012 at 8:41 am

i’m so glad you posted this (i’ve already repinned it)!! i, also, had totally forgotten about this house. just looking at those pics make me feel bright & cheery–thanks!

nanne in columbus, in

ileana January 19, 2012 at 8:56 am

What a beautiful cottage. I love to see historical structures lovingly renovated. There are so many historical buildings and houses in the Catskills that are in need of tender loving care, especially in Schoharie County.

Jane January 19, 2012 at 9:11 am

How wonderful! Love that cupboard and sideboard. And that railing is just adorable. It looks modern and old fashioned at the same time. Suppose it is the use of colors.

Katy January 19, 2012 at 9:28 am

oh wow, i love everything about it!! I’m bookmarking this one, thanks for featuring it because I never saw it in Country living.

Jalon Burton January 19, 2012 at 10:04 am

Isn’t that like a dream come true…. so cute! I think I need to say these photos in my dream book too!
Thanks for sharing

Rick January 19, 2012 at 10:05 am

I do love this too. I would love a cottage in the back yard for overflow company or to just get away….not too far. I think it would be nice to wake up in my own back yard.

ps. we are puppy sitting 9 week old Shih tzu for Mother-in-law while she’s in hospitol. Our 2 boys play with her but 2 girls are snobs. How’s Maizie?


hookedonhouses January 19, 2012 at 10:18 am

Aw, the girls won’t have anything to do with the puppy, huh? Maizie is doing really well–as she has gotten healthier and stronger she’s gotten a lot more energetic and playful. It’s wonderful to see! Thanks for asking. :-)

min hus January 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

What a lovely cottage. I’m glad you posted it and I’m loving the cottage category!

Pat January 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

It makes me happy just to look at these pictures!
It looks like it’s in a beautiful setting too!

Sarah @ housecrazy January 19, 2012 at 10:49 am

what a great “rescue”! I bet that cozy little schoolhouse cottage is now happy inside and out!

Jen M January 19, 2012 at 11:05 am

I love this cottage, inside and out! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Linda@limeinthe coconut January 19, 2012 at 11:23 am

I KNOW this place!!! We lived in a big ole farmhouse in The Catskills(that, ironically, was also featured in Country Living aftr we had moved out!)…this little schoolhouse was the next town over…I used to love it!!

Stephanie Durdan January 19, 2012 at 11:33 am

I wonder how tall the ceilings are on both floors? I can relate to the lack of closets. Our house has exactly ONE closet.

Amy @ The Button Casa January 19, 2012 at 11:40 am

I love this so much! I love the colors and the furniture. It’s just so sweet.

polly dove January 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Wow … absolutely adorable. I would love one too!

Molly @thewaffler January 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I totally remember this house! I think I could live in that yellow bedroom with the green and white upholstered bed quite happily.

Amanda @ Serenity Now January 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Ooooohh—I wish there was a “Like” button. 😉 I am in love with the cheerful color scheme and their clever storage ideas. Beautiful!

Shannon January 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm

So cute! Thanks for sharing. Isn’t Pinterest totally addictive?

Kim January 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm

What a fun school house! I think this would make a fun guest house.

carol January 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Absolutely love the green beams and those yellow built ins. Cottages seem to be short on storage. Our little cottage was built in 1927 and we assume it was a beach house for a family living not too far inland. There is no entry closet and small walk in closets. Thank heavens for our attic!

Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D January 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm

So adorable. Love the bright colors.
It would be great to have a tiny cottage or a cabin in the woods to get away with the family.
~ Dana

Dawn January 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Small but cheerful!

NJ Cellulose Insulation Contractor January 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Wow, this is great! I love the cubbies for storage as well.

"Auntie" January 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Oh that is soooooooooo cute!!!

CCooper January 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I love this cottage – I tore out the pages from the magazine and still have them in my House Dreams file. That side entrance is charming (well, the whole cottage is!)

Laura B. January 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm

These designers also have a home in NYC that was recently featured on Apartment Therapy. It’s done in much the same style of the cottage, but a word to the wise—their style is not for those who like minimalism! In fact, it merited a two-part post on AT, which is unprecedented, as far as I know..there’s just too much to see for only tour, I guess. Here’s part one:
And Part Two:
I could swear there was a link to an Apartment Therapy post about this cottage as well, but I don’t see it now. Maybe someone else will spot it and provide the link.

There’s also a link to this cottage with different pictures.

hookedonhouses January 19, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I hadn’t seen those posts–thanks so much, Laura!!

lindsay January 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm

I think the inside, while impressive and charming seems a bit cluttered. (I guess I’m a bit of a minimalist.) But I could just cry over the exterior. BEAUTIFUL!!! Thanks for giving us the fun peak!

ShabbyChick January 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm

What a great cottage! I’m loving all that green and that super-duper cute kitchen 😉

Nancy Hoffmann January 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm

So nicely decorated! Love the brightness and freshness of it!

Kathryn Griffin January 19, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Oh, it’s so pretty and fresh! Love all of the bright colors. Thank you for sharing. Have a grand evening. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

melissa320sycamore January 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm

LOVE this, Julia!!

E. George January 20, 2012 at 1:19 am

Hi Julia I admire people who restore old cottages and do it beautifully and this cottage is exceptional. Thank you for sharing this beauty. Regards Esther from Sydney. Have a great weekend.

Melinda January 20, 2012 at 9:03 am

Such a fun place! I love it.

theSavvySeeker January 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

I remember seeing this home in Country Living and it’s always been one of my most favorite homes that has ever been featured in the magazine. This home just really spoke to me and I love how they mixed lots of fresh greens and whites…really makes everything feel bright and cheerful.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy... January 20, 2012 at 9:37 am

OMG I love it. Especially those lovely circular windows. Divine!

etta January 20, 2012 at 11:20 am

So nice!!! I love it…

Jennifer @ Town and Country Living January 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Oh, I remember this house when it was featured in Country Living! In fact, I think I still have that issue because I can never seem to throw away a Country Living magazine. Thanks for sharing this. I’m adding your blog to my RSS feed. :)

Mandy January 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Adorable! I love all of the bright fresh colors. The house has such great curb appeal too.

Cottage Homes January 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm

I remember this article! Amazing restoration of an american classic! I have a thing for One Room School Houses. I still have this issue somewhere. Going to have to dig it out. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Laura L January 20, 2012 at 10:25 pm

What a beautiful house! I’m wondering what it cost to renovate it! I’d love to have something like this one day.

Tassia January 23, 2012 at 8:54 am

Hello, my name is Tassia, I’m from Brazil and I really love your blog! That inspired me to create my new blog
I would like your opinion about my space…sorry my english, I hope you understand…rsrsrs..

Athena January 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm

ohhhhh that is so cute! I am really getting into the Vintage style lately and this just makes me droool!!

Dina January 27, 2012 at 8:59 am

Hey, I know this house! This is my neighborhood. I remember when this was a stark little building (granted with “good bones”) in need of some TLC. Nothing makes the people around here happier than when a couple of guys from Manhattan move in. It tends to result in a lovingly restored or remodeled older home created by people who want to invest in the community, thus making it a better place for everyone. Thanks, guys.

mauree March 6, 2012 at 8:59 am

I love this little home . It is very close to my families summer lakehouse . One day while shopping for bunnies :) we turned down the wrong road and there it was. Now I drive down that road on purpose just to look at it . It is even prettier in person ! The gardens have really matured. Great job guy’s thanks for the eye candy !

tim April 28, 2012 at 8:58 am
hookedonhouses April 28, 2012 at 9:11 am

Thanks for the link–hadn’t seen their site!

Beverly Palmer June 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm

When I saw this cottage, I knew it was a Catskill home and can almost see it located on the main street of the same town my husband attended school – many years ago. What a great cottage with good bones. I wish I could’ve bought it.

Garage Door Repair Happy Valley August 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I adore the idea of blending a rustic style with a modern one. The best aspect of it would probably be its intensely illuminated interior (The people of sunny Austin, I envy you!) and the absolutely gorgeous yard, both contributing to a relaxed feeling even more.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 5 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: