A Solar-Powered Former Schoolhouse Turned Home & Photo Studio — House Call


Name: Jonnie Andersen and dogs Alice Cooper, Winston Churchill, and the Dude
Location: Superior, Nebraska
Size: 2,500 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

“We’re out in the country, cows as neighbors, 30 miles from the geographic center of the United States,” describes photographer Jonnie Andersen about the one-room schoolhouse attached to an old church she bought — and completely renovated herself (not including electric and plumbing) — in Superior, Nebraska in 2014. “It’s a live/work space; the schoolhouse serves as my photography studio where I photograph children, babies and the occasional band.”

“The place had fallen into disrepair, with ’80s country-style wallpaper and a falling apart kitchen. I used largely found materials; an old chicken coop became one of the walls of the studio. I hung barn doors — one found, two that I created — on sliders opening to the kitchen and living area. I added solar panels, and water comes from a well, making it largely self sufficient at 2500 square feet.”

Built in 1900, when the building was a school called Beaverville, and actually moved several times to serve the rural community’s needs, the building now serves all of Jonnie’s needs for both living and working…as well as being a really neat-looking place.

“A few mornings ago I looked out the window to see a large herd of cattle being driven down the road on horseback. I thought that was pretty cool.”

What is your favorite room and why? I love the kitchen. It’s just odds and ends of things I’ve found at thrift shops, antique stores, auctions, and junk jaunts. Occasionally someone shows up to bring me things they’re throwing out to see if I can make use of them.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Solar Schoolhouse Photo Studio

Pets, Alice Cooper and Winston Churchill, on the velvet couch.

(Image credit: Jonnie Andersen)

“The bathroom is country AND western, all found stuff.”

(Image credit: Jonnie Andersen)

“A rhinestone pirate ship not completed because, whoa, it’s taking forever. Like, years.”

(Image credit: Jonnie Andersen)

Any advice for creating a home you love? I think everyone should follow their own counsel when decorating. There’s too much blah in the world, trying to follow trends in order to satiate a need for “real estate values.” It’s your home, make it yours, give it the things that feel like yours, and your family’s alone. Those wabi sabi, personal moments are what make families and individuals great. Put up the photos of the kids dirty and loving life…making silly memories.

Thanks, Jonnie !

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