Couple converts old schoolhouse into home

Building was a school for 100 years

By Tarryl Jackson
Jackson Citizen Patriot

RIVES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Transforming the old-time Wilbur schoolhouse in Rives Township into their home has gained Jeanne and Merle Perrine some national attention.

The self-proclaimed history buffs were featured in Country Woman magazine for their home remodeling project of the schoolhouse, where three generations of Merle’s family attended class.

The schoolhouse at the corner of Henry Road and Lansing Avenue served as a school for 100 years and closed in the late 1950s when the Northwest School District was created. It was then converted into a home in the mid-1960s.

The couple tried to take the schoolhouse back to how it looked in the mid-1800s, Perrine said in the interview with Country Woman magazine.

“People just love it,” Perrine said about the remodeled schoolhouse Friday morning. “People want to come in and see it, especially if they went to school here.”

With the help of local contractor Chris Sayles, the Perrines gutted the building. Their project was featured in the Jackson Citizen Patriot in September 2006.
The original one-room space was filled with an open kitchen and a living area with a section for a quilting machine that Jeanne uses in her home-crafting business, Jeanne’s Eclectic Designs.

A new bedroom and bath were also added in the back.

The home, which the Perrines bought six years ago, is filled with artifacts such as the school’s original black slate chalkboard, potbellied stove and photos of former students.

The couple plan to build their dream home on farmland they own across the road. Along with being the Perrines’ home, the school house also is home to Jeanne’s design and quilting studio.

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