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It's elementary

  • Catherine and Jerry Krause turned the classroom in the old Olivet Schoolhouse into their kitchen and great room. The couple bought the one room schoolhouse in Santa Rosa three years ago and remodeled it for their home. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

There is something about Catherine and Jerry Krause's rural Santa Rosa house that evokes memories of peanut butter sandwiches, hopscotch and clapping erasers.

Maybe it's the tall flagpole waving the flag, or the cast-iron bell beside the wide concrete steps. Maybe it's the vintage metal swingset and yawning front yard with a covered picnic area.

If it seems vaguely like a school, it is ... or at least, it was.

Olivet School Now A Home

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The Krauses bought the old Olivet School, playground and all, two years ago. While it had been 50 years since kids poured through the front door and sat at attention, the building's original footprint had changed very little since it was first built about a century ago.

"We love it and we especially love the old oak tree in front where I am sure many happy moments were made," said Catherine, a retired nurse and former home health services vice president for St. Joseph Health System in Humboldt County.

She was not immediately smitten. The place was in need of some updating. But Jerry, a retired professor of community sociology at Humboldt State University, said it spoke to him as both a teacher and sociologist.

"Sometimes I think of the pitter-patter of little feet," he mused, while standing in what was once the main classroom. Now, it is a great room, with open-beam ceilings and room enough for living room seating, a dining area by a cheerful wall of old, school-style windows and a kitchen extending along the back wall where the chalkboard once hung.

"The lighting is fabulous," said Catherine. "The sun comes in through all these different angles."

With her eye for decorating, Catherine's sister, Linda Thompson, convinced them of the possibilities and came up with the design ideas.

"She insisted we reuse/repurpose everything in the house and get it recycled in some way ... like the old kitchen cupboards went to the laundry room, the old fans got updated and the outside bathroom became a potting shed," Catherine said.


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