Schoolhouse gets new life as lodging

After much ado, the San de Fuca School house has a new owner and a new life as a lodging rental.

Kirkland real estate agent Annabelle Rockwood-Hynes purchased the schoolhouse and 6.2-acre property in May and has been working to renovate the building since.

“It still has the character of a one-room schoolhouse,” Rockwood-Hynes assures.

But now it is one decked out schoolhouse that has sleeping space for six, a kitchen, a slate fireplace and plenty of seating space.

“I wanted it to still feel like a schoolhouse but also have Northwest charm with things like the fireplace,” she said.

There’s still a desk, chalkboard, and other little touches kept from the building’s school days.

“The rest were donated to the historical society,” she said.

Rockwood-Hynes said she is thrilled to own a piece of Whidbey history she’d admired since her childhood.

She lived on the island during her teen years and her father, Oak Harbor resident Don Rockwood, still lives here.

“He’s been such a big help with this,” Rockwood-Hynes said earlier this week.

She is currently a Kirkland resident and full-time Realtor, but when it comes time to settle down to retirement, she sees herself eventually living in the schoolhouse.

Rockwood-Hynes has had a long fascination with older structures. Her grandmother was an East Coaster who lived in an 1880s house filled with antiques.

“I was attracted to the thought of people long ago living in that house,” she said. “With the schoolhouse it’s fun to imagine who the students were and how they got to school.”

Before buying the schoolhouse that was built in 1902, Rockwood-Hynes spoke with former owner Joe Keeva, who was understandably protective of the schoolhouse that he and his late wife Sally Hayton-Keeva worked so hard to restore and preserve. Keeva sold the building after an attempt to give it away to the Island County Historical Society did not succeed.

“I was very honest with what I was going to do with the school from the start,” Rockwood-Hynes said.

The new owner said she doesn’t plan to put any other structures on the 6.2-acre, double-lot schoolhouse property.

“Everyone knows it,” she said. “Everyone who helped, from the guys who delivered the appliances to the one who hooked up the propane, they were all excited to see the school was going to be here for a long time.”

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