Lake Twp.: The places some people call home didn’t start that way at all.
For David and Lynda Herbert, home was once a barn. For Patti and Rick Hines, it was a schoolhouse.
Both of those converted living spaces will be showcased Sunday on the Lake Township Historical Society’s Tour of Historical Landmarks. The tour will also visit a restored house, two churches and a one-room schoolhouse that serves as a museum.
The barn that is now the Herberts’ home was built around 1853 by someone named Motz, who probably was a dairy farmer, said Ruth Sturgill, a lifelong Lake Township resident and a trustee of the historical society. The building was long known locally as the Bishop barn, a reference to S.M. Bishop, one of its string of owners over the years.
The Herberts bought the bank barn in January 1978 after spotting it while they were out for a drive. They’d seen converted barns in magazines and were looking for a prospect to turn into a home, Lynda Herbert said.
She’d been to nearby Hartville only once, but just three days after that first visit, they bought the barn. It had a dirt floor, horses in what is now the basement and a motor home and boats stored in the upper level, she recalled.
“It’s been a work in progress,” she said with a smile.
David Herbert created a layout for the rooms and did most of the construction work himself, with help from his wife and friends. She can still remember that first winter, when it was so cold that coffee froze in the cup and tools stuck to their hands, she said.
They spent nearly a year making the barn livable before they moved in but continued to make changes, such as turning the lower level into an office, workout space and hot tub room, and replacing the closets that divided their three children’s bedrooms with walls.
Today the barn is a contemporary, open home that shows off the original timbers. Its approximately 5,000 square feet include four bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms and an office on the lower level that could be used as a fifth bedroom.
The heart of the home is a living room with a fireplace topped with a mantel so deep it could accommodate a real sleigh the Herberts used to display there. They found the sleigh in pieces in the barn and restored it, Lynda Herbert said. More recently it’s been swapped for a painting of a cow that David Herbert created with help from their granddaughter Ava.
The home’s upper level houses four bedrooms and a bathroom that incorporates a laundry room — a feature the Herberts added long before second-floor laundry rooms were popular. Steps lead up or down from the hallway to some of the rooms, a quirk of the house that Lynda Herbert said was created by the need to work around the existing beams.
“That was the hardest part,” she said.
The Herberts left much of the barn’s original character intact. The ceiling and two of the walls in a family room just off the kitchen still show the original boards. A library that used to be the milking area has shelves built between the old posts. Another post in the kitchen is marked with the growth record of the Herberts’ children.
Now that those children are grown, the Herberts are looking to downsize. The house is listed for sale by Cutler Real Estate.
The building that is now Patti and Rick Hines’ home had already been converted into a house by the time they moved in 17 years ago. But for a quarter-century or so, it was the place where children from Hartville and the section of Lake Township called Cairo were educated.
The house was originally a brick one-room schoolhouse, built to replace a log schoolhouse in the vicinity, Sturgill said. She believes the school was built in the late 1800s, but the Hineses think it was 1902, the date captured in the roof shingles that used to top the building.
When the school closed in 1927, its ownership reverted to the Brumbaugh family, which had ceded part of its farmland for the school’s construction.
The late Hubert Brumbaugh was one of the kids who attended the school, and he later turned it into a home for his family. Eventually he and wife built another house next door and rented out the converted schoolhouse.
The Hineses moved in in 1996 and rented for a year before persuading Brumbaugh to sell. The walls of the house had no insulation, and the propane they used for heating was costly, Patti Hines said. They wanted to make changes that would make the house more comfortable and affordable.
The biggest transformation involved creating a second floor on what was then a one-story house. The Hineses had to cut a hole in the ceiling to get access to the attic and shoveled out 62 industrial-size trash bags full of loose insulation before Rick Hines could start the structural work.
He raised the roof structure, added dormers and converted the area into two bedrooms plus another open space that can be used as a guest room. Other than the roof, he did all the work himself.
Rick Hines’ carpentry skills are evident throughout the 2,400-square-foot house — in the curved staircase he built to provide access to the second floor, in the casings and deep baseboards he installed, in the corner cupboards and Victorian-style mantel he created. A massive hall tree next to the front door was a Christmas gift he built for Patti.
The couple has made other changes to the house, including reconfiguring rooms to create a larger living room, a dining room and an office. And they’re not done. Eventually they’d like to add a garage and maybe move the kitchen, Patti Hines said.
It’s been a big undertaking, but Patti Hines said her husband embraces challenges and likes having a house like no one else’s.
He has a different explanation.
“Just stupidity,” he said with a laugh.
Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also become a fan on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/mbbreck, follow her on Twitter @MBBreckenridge and read her blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/mary-beth.