Former Schoolhouse Turned Winning Wedding Venue Needs a Buyer To Say ‘I Do’

For just a few years in the late 1920s, the children of Malabar, FL, attended class in their schoolhouse on Marie Street.

Then the Great Depression forced the school to close. Over the decades, the former schoolhouse has served as apartments, a woodworking shop, a mill, and most recently, a wedding venue.

Now the 8,000-square-foot building, zoned both residential and commercial, is on the market for $1.1 million.

“We fell in love with the building, and we thought we could live here,” says the listing agent and current owner, Joanne Murdoch. She and her husband, Tom, bought the property in 2012 and had big plans to renovate it and make it their home.

However, the demand for quirky event venues intervened.

“Everybody was coming out with these barn venues, and we thought this building would make a great wedding venue. So that’s the direction we went into for a number of years,” Murdoch says.

Interior of former schoolhouse in Malabar, FL
Interior of former schoolhouse in Malabar, FL

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Interior
Interior

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Interior
Interior

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Exterior
Exterior

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It took a few years to renovate the property to make it ready for happy couples. The schoolhouse on the Sunshine State’s Atlantic Coast was in sore need of updated infrastructure.

“It was industrial-looking when we got it,” Murdoch explains. “We had to redo all the electrical, the plumbing, the heating, the septic, all the safety stuff throughout, the landscaping, the lighting. It was a complete restoration.”

Exterior
Exterior

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Interior
Interior

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Rechristened as the Banyan Estate, thanks to the banyan tree on the grounds, the venue has held weddings and other events for the past few years.

The main level has a large pavilion room and a smaller hall—each with new windows and vintage chandeliers. There are also several bathrooms throughout the venue space.

Loft space
Loft space

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Pavilion
Pavilion

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Interior

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Upstairs, the loft area provides a more intimate setting for smaller gatherings. This was the space where the Murdochs initially planned to live.

It has a full bathroom and plenty of room to configure and carve out bedrooms and other living spaces.

Somebody coming in to use the building as a residence will have to tweak it a bit, Murdoch says. But with the home’s major systems in place, the work that’s left will require an eye for design.

Kitchen
Kitchen

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Interior

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Interior

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Right now, the only kitchen in the space is designed for commercial prep, so anyone wanting to live in the building full-time will want to add a cooking space.

“We always saw the upstairs part being the loft, and the other two spaces could be any kind of business you wanted,” Murdoch says.

Before deciding to turn the property into a wedding venue, she and her husband imagined a business making cheese in part of the space and setting up a dance studio in the rest.

Aerial view
Aerial view

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Outdoor prep space
Outdoor prep space

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Exterior
Exterior

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Interior
Interior

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The building sits on almost 2.5 acres and abuts 350 acres of environmentally preserved land that will never be developed.

Finding a property with this kind of zoning, great location, and fascinating backstory is a big win.

Murdoch says she imagines the perfect buyer as “somebody who loves historic buildings, who can appreciate a beautiful and large piece of property.”

The property is co-listed with JJ Tippins at Pastermack Real Estate.

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Interior

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Interior

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Exterior

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Interior

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Source: realtor.com

Historic Indiana Schoolhouse From 1883 Gets an A-Plus Transformation

The room where students at District School No. 4 once learned their ABCs has been transformed into a grand living space.

On the market for $683,000, the converted schoolhouse on Aboite Center Road in Fort Wayne, IN, is now a one-of-a-kind single-family home.

“To find an intact one-room schoolhouse is hard. Then on top of that, for it to be made into this gorgeous home with a back addition? The way they did it is just incredible,” says the listing agent, Andrea Zehr.

Built in 1883 and last used as a schoolhouse in 1938, the historic structure sat empty and forlorn for decades. The current owners began renovating it in 2016, after the former owner finally agreed to sell it.

“The prior owner would not sell it unless there was someone that was going to not tear it down and do right by it,” Zehr explains. “There were definitely other people that wanted to buy it and then take it down—and he would not sell it.”

Interior of former schoolhouse in Fort Wayne, IN
Interior of former schoolhouse in Fort Wayne, IN

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Exterior
Exterior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Addition
Addition

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Historic photo
Historic photo

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Before renovation
Before renovation

Schoolhouse owners

During renovation
During renovation

Schoolhouse owners

During renovation
During renovation

Schoolhouse owners

Interior
Interior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Interior
Interior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Entry
Entry

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Inside, the former schoolhouse serves as an open space with areas for dining and relaxing. Where the kitchen island now stands is where the original schoolhouse structure ends—the space beyond was added by the current owners.

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The addition to the original structure resulted in two bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as a basement with an office and extra living space.

Kitchen
Kitchen

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Kitchen
Kitchen

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The kitchen features cherry cabinets, a copper farm sink, 12-foot ceilings, and floors made from wainscoting from the schoolhouse.

Hallway
Hallway

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Interior
Interior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bedroom
Master bedroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bathroom
Master bathroom

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Master bathroom
Master bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bedroom
Master bedroom

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Master bedroom
Master bedroom

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Bedroom
Bedroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Bathroom
Bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Bathroom
Bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The master bedroom opens to a patio, and the master bathroom includes dual sinks, LED lights, Bluetooth speakers, and a heated towel rack.

Basement
Basement

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Basement
Basement

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Basement
Basement

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Basement
Basement

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Basement
Basement

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The basement has 9-foot ceilings and a built-in sleeping area under the stairs, as well as a desk area and space for entertaining. Outside, there’s also a swim spa year-round exercise pool.

Aerial view of exercise pool
Aerial view of exercise pool

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Outdoor space
Outdoor space

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The current owners make a living dismantling old barns and reclaiming the wood. They used some of that material as well as other repurposed items for this project.

“They restored everything that they could. The things they couldn’t salvage or had to replace were replaced with things that were repurposed,” Zehr explains.

For example, there’s barn wood from a 1950s barn, lighting from an old building, a door that came from an elementary school in the Iowa town where the two owners met, and much more.

Original chalkboard on display
Original chalkboard on display

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Before renovation
Before renovation

Schoolhouse owners

They also gave a proper nod to the property’s past—using original chalkboards as wall decor.

“The original slate chalkboard was still there when they purchased this property. The writing on it predates 1938, when the last classes were held there, so it’s pretty special,” Zehr says.

Exterior
Exterior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The exterior of the original schoolhouse is brick, with a slate roof. The addition features a metal roof and vinyl siding.

“The reason why they didn’t try to do more brick on the exterior for the addition is because it’s so hard to match. So they went with siding and a barn kind of look,” Zehr explains.

The agent noted that the addition was carefully designed to align with the slim profile of the schoolhouse, so that it didn’t look like an afterthought. It’s the same width, going straight back, and doesn’t interfere with the front view of the original structure.

Aerial view
Aerial view

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Sadly, the school’s original bell tower was unstable and could not be salvaged.

The schoolhouse design was the work of the architect John F. Wing, a well-known Indiana architect in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His firm designed several buildings, including the gymnasium at Purdue University and many schools.

The owners spent several years converting the schoolhouse into their home, but are ready to move on.

“I think that perfect buyer is someone that really loves and appreciates the history,” Zehr says. “It’s just a really amazing sight.”

Bathroom
Bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Kitchen and interior space
Kitchen and interior space

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Hallway and stairs
Hallway and stairs

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  • For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
  • Homes for sale in Fort Wayne, IN
  • Learn more about Fort Wayne, IN

Source: realtor.com