01/29/2014 04:45 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2014

You'll Never Guess What This Colorful Cottage Used To Be

Country Living

Intrigued by an article featuring gorgeous and inexpensive 19th-century houses in New York's Catskills, Gotham magazine lifestyle editor, Jason Oliver Nixon, and decorator John Loecke decided to check out the area's real estate websites. To their amazement, they found a Federal-style former schoolhouse listed at $30,000. Three hours later they were exploring the 900-square-foot structure--a neglected rental with no closets, second-floor ceilings so low they couldn't stand erect, and multiple layers of wallpaper and paint. Convinced that a little renovation and decorating would revive the c. 1840 building, they purchased it.

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