See Our Schoolhouse Renovation!

So I’ve been pretty much M-I-A these past two months as I’ve been working 24-7 (and some nights not even sleeping!) on renovating our second preschool house!

Enjoy this fun 16-minute video of the entire renovation!  (Then keep reading below to see the whole story!)

When we doubled enrollment over the summer, we knew we needed a second place for them – their own dedicated space!

What we didn’t know was that we would spend almost 4 MONTHS trying to navigate all the red tape over at Planning & Zoning to try to get a second preschool location!  Finally, after getting shut down time after time with places we put up for review, we asked P&Z where they wanted us to go.

They suggested we get a property kitty-corner from the city park, a 1970s home that had once been a daycare but sat vacant for 2 years.  It was already commercially zoned.  And we didn’t need a Special Use Permit.  After going through all the bureaucracy we just went through, this sounded like MUSIC TO OUR EARS!  We couldn’t wait to see it!

The Property: Before

What we saw when we got there, though, had us seriously reconsidering if this place was right for us!

The roof was falling apart, the gutter was falling off, the yard was overgrown with weeds, a 6′ chain link fence surrounded the entire property, the walls were painted blue, the floors were ripped up, and the kitchen and bathrooms were outdated.

It actually took us a couple of months to think about the property, analyzing how it could work for us, how much it would cost to renovate it and bring it up to the premier excellence our community has come to expect with our preschool.

But once we realized all the renovations were merely cosmetic, and that in a year, we could recoup all the renovation costs with our additional preschool classes, we moved forward with an intensity I haven’t felt since starting my first preschool four years ago!

Within a week, we started demolition and immediately ripped up the 6′ chain link fence on the front of the property.  We ripped off the roof and gutters, tore out the rickety deck stairs, pulled out all the existing landscaping, and set to work with a fresh canvas.

We installed a sprinkler system, hydroseeded the first week of September, put up a new roof and gutters, planted new bushes and flowers, created a paver wall, painted the entire house RED, built a handicap ramp and new deck stairs, and built a 4′ picket fence around the entire front of the house, as well as 6′ privacy fence sides for a backyard.

The Schoolhouse: After

And that was just on the OUTSIDE!

From there, we moved inside and painted all the walls upstairs a soft beige and the downstairs walls white to brighten up the space.  We tore out the bathroom toilets and sinks and replaced with handicap-accessible fixtures.  We carpeted the entire house, put vinyl flooring in the art areas of the preschool rooms, and tiled the entryway.  We replaced all the lighting with modern lighting fixtures and replaced all the wooden doors with white 6-paneled doors and silver hardware.  (Super important whenever you’re updating an older property: spend the extra money to replace all the GOLD hardware on door handles, lighting hinges, cabinets, drawer pulls, etc. with silver or pewter hardware!  Otherwise it will still look outdated, no matter what color you paint the wood.)

It took just 2 months from start to finish, which is a miracle in and of itself!

After that, it was time to decorate!  We have over 2,000 sq. ft., half of which will be used for (2) preschool rooms downstairs, and half of which will be used to house our brand new private kindergarten program upstairs next fall!


I’d love to hear your comments! What do you think!?!  Questions?

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About the Author

Joy Anderson

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Preschool expert Joy Anderson is the creator of Preschool In A Box, the complete business kit to help women start preschools in their homes. She is the founder of the home preschool model and has helped thousands of women create a supplemental or full-time income by simply teaching preschool classes to 3- to 5-year-olds for a few hours each day. She still runs her own wildly successful preschool and can often be found running after her five children and husband in Boise, Idaho.

Comments 31

  1. radiya

    Hi Joy

    Your school looks amazing, my school is also finallised, I got the property for 3 months rent free. But there’s so much work to do. Hopefully its gets done by the end of Dec. Also will love for u to send me the curriculum as awell.

    Love Radiya

  2. Cynthia Emery

    I love it Joy! Congratulations, this fall 2011 I transitioned from a in home childcare service to a before and/or after school program. I’m not watching children all day. I’m happy, but I’m not making the as much money as I was when I was doing all day care. In my neighbor, parents are looking for all day childcare. We don’t have enough of after school programs with arts, dancing, cooking lessons or excercise. I would like to have a program with activities, but I need more space.

    Congratulations again Joy, you are an inspiration!

  3. monica riley

    HI Joy, Way to go. Fantastic renovations! Your “big” red school house looks super inviting. 🙂 You are brave, focused and intentional. I love projects like that, but they sure take time and money! I am so happy for all your successful completions and future learning experiences with your students.
    Lots of love, Monica

  4. Danica Harjo

    Wow, how amazing! No wonder your preschool is filled to capacity and overflowing. You are very creative and must have a good business mind.I would be happy if my preschool were even half as successful as yours. I am curious what your sign out front looks like.

  5. Mary K Weinhagen

    WOW! You have done a fabulous job!!! It looks so inviting. Thanks for sharing this video of your process and progress — makes it much less intimidating. Thanks for blazing such a brilliant trail. 🙂

  6. belinda

    Amazing!I love that you are successful!I am reminded of a song by MC Hammer
    years ago called …”Can’t touch this”!
    I can appreciate the time, effort and dedication that went into this endeavor. I am even more amazed at the encouraging words given to your students. Nothing is more inspiring than having someone who has done what others hope to do.
    CONGRATULATIONS and continual success.

  7. pamela black

    truly amazing, wonderful, has big wow factor! i too am curious about the sign out front what is the name of your preschool? the neighborhood looks wonderful too, where are you located?

    it was not a bad shape for a 1970 built, and you did a great job bringing it into the furture lol;)

    are you going to get some play equipment to fill that huge yard space you got! wow! lots of running room out there.

    congrats. i dream of doing the same one day.

  8. Kristen

    Great job Joy! I love the idea of having a private kinder next year. I am asked about that all of the time, so maybe in a few years I will get to do the same. I was wondering what you would do with the upstairs rooms.

    I said I was satisfied with my school the last time we talked…. but I’ve had so many calls for school that I decided to find a way to have more classes. Starting Jan 2nd I am going to double my school. I’ve figured out a way to overlap my classes, so I can keep the 4 hour a day schedule and keep the classes in my house. I started advertising Sunday night and already have registrations! It’s amazing how ideas come even when we don’t think it’s possible.

  9. Carlene

    Hi Joy I really like how you turned that old house into a beautiful school house. I love the yard can’t wait to see it when you are finished with the playground. Joy just want to say congratuation and thank for sharing the video and all the other informative information.


  10. Rebecca Olson

    Hi Joy,

    Congratulations! How impressive to open a second preschool and renovate the house in TWO MONTHS! With all that work it is no wonder you ended up catching a cold. Thanks for sharing it.

    My preschool is doing well here in Irvine, CA. It started out fairly slow which was ok with me as it allowed me to get my footing and figure out what I was doing. I was concerned about getting more students so I listened to your webinar and re-watched the marketing DVD. I ordered 1500 postcards, bribed my four kids and sweet husband to help pass out about 700 of them and ended up getting a student on the first day of handing out the postcards.

    So I have to say “thank you” to you!!!! Your program is so well planned out and covers so many details. I would also like to mention that every time I review the materials/DVDs I always get so energized that “I CAN DO IT”. Thank you for not only helping me start my business during a challenging time but also for the motivation. You truly are a gifted business woman.

    Good Luck with your second preschool.

    Rebecca Olson
    Sunny Bright Learners Preschool

  11. Mary Wilson

    Hi Joy!
    Thank you so much for the encouraging email. I am hopefully going to start a school in january just trying to get a few more kids:)
    I am so happy for you!!! You are truly blessed and inspiration to all!
    Thanks again:)
    Please let me know if you have any helpful hints as I start this new journey:)

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  13. Christine


    Wow! Congrats lady! This looks soooo beautiful. You really did a good job fixing it up… I am still sitting here in shock. You are such an inspiration and a great business woman to look up to.

    THank you soo much for encouraging all of us!

  14. Ellen

    Wow! How inspiring! I’m looking for realestate to expand my homecare in Vermont, and this video is just what I needed to see! I’m so impressed with your ability to have a vision. It came out beautifully and I love it! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Heather Sancken

    Joy, you are an absolute inspiration to me and you keep me motivated to “keep going” when the road blocks pop up (as you may remember from a recent email I sent you). Keep up the GREAT work and thanks for keeping all of us in the loop of your success!! I’m pumped to get my preschool opened up in the new year – Country Charm Preschool will be such a blessing to my little town!

    Very sincerely,
    Heather Sancken
    Country Charm Preschool

  16. Terry Cardenas

    Congratulations!..you have done an amazing job. I love watching your videos they are so inspiring, by the way i have to mentioned that your “how to build a website” it’s amazing. I loved how you explained step by step. It made it seem so easy, i can’t wait to purchase it…however, i do have a question…I have my own logo and would like to use my logo instead of one of your templates, is that possible?

    Once again,

    Congratulations on your new project and God bless you and your little ones.

  17. Sandhia

    Hi .Your house looks beautiful

    My lease on the property is ending in December and I havent found a place yet.

    Thanks for your motivation, Im not gonna give up

    South Africa

  18. shirley p.banas

    just amazing… i’m green with envy.. i wish i can also make my preschool as heavenly as yours….but as of now, i don’t have the capacity to do what you have done.
    I just want to start my preschool class on April..with a minimal amenities but with a lot of educational materials. Hopefully, next year there will be some improvement in our classrooms..

  19. Debra

    Hi Joy,

    Am just excited seeing the transformation you have made and i know what you must be feeling now. i got some old property too about two months ago and am trying to start a day care in January 2012. The compound work is so far the most hectic for me. I am having trouble with the inside but am optimistic that all will be well. i have already started getting parents interested and yet i haven’t yet started advertising

    congratulations again. i hope mine can just be half way like yours!


  20. Juliet G

    WoW,WoW Joy you’ve done it again. This is realy amazing,congratulations and rich blessings.Everytime I hear from you I feel motivated & inspired with your stories & success. I am on my way to starting my preschool in Jan but still having some challenges,but as soon as I start I’ll send you a photo. Hope to meet you in the future? May God continue to richly bless you so you can be an inspiration to us all.Blessings.

    From:Juliet (Pixie learners preschool) what do you think of this name?
    Barbados West Indies

  21. Kristen Soller

    It’s so fun to watch your video! You and I have very similar taste in preschool decore! I have the same circle time rug and also very similar curtains! I have the same chairs (You got them at Walmart.com right? What a great price they had!!), we have a class pet… and more. I’m so glad to know that I’m so in sync with you! 🙂

  22. Christine Inyang

    Hi Joy, thanks a lot for taking time to help us other pre school owners. Am sure not everyone has this kind of good heart. Hope you wont be bored with my rant if i should start mine. Its good to inspire each other.

  23. Michelle Reckord

    Hello JOY,

    I took a look at your video… FANTASTIC !!!

    Thanks for sharing and reminding me to… GO FOR MY DREAM !!!

    I’m still interested in purchasing your Pre-school Kit in the near-distant future….

    Kindly continue to keep me posted.


  24. Janell Green

    Thanks so much for making the video. You did a wonderful job. I don’t know you personally but you have been such an inspiration to me. Thanks a million! I pray much continued success with your business.

  25. Roxane

    Hey Joy, I love what you did to the preschool. It looks great! I’m looking forward to sending you picture of mine. Keep up the great work! Roxane

  26. Daniela Alcerro

    Dear Joy,
    I’m from Honduras, and I was inspired by you to finally open the Preschool of my dreams! I opened a Tutoring Center about 2 years ago, and it has grown up so well, that many parents were asking me to open a preschool. With God’s help and yours, I will open it on August, we are remodeling our house to start. I’ll send you before and after pictures of our house renovation!!!
    Your school house looks Wonderful, inside and outside!
    May Gosd bless you always!!

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