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Circa 1814 Schoolhouse Studio

The Finger Lakes Academy of Decorative Arts - Heather's Studio & Showroom

The Nunnery Schoolhouse No. 1 dates back to the original five school districts established by early 1800's pioneer settlers to the Spafford, New York area. Located in the picturesque Finger Lakes region of central New York, the Nunnery School sits perched on a high glacial ridge between Otisco and Skaneateles Lakes. It is unique being the only stone school in the district, constructed from hand-hewn ceiling beams and blue limestone, which was quarried in the nearby vicinity. It served as a bucolic one-room country schoolhouse for over 130 years....from 1814 until closing in the late 1940's with the formation of the current Skaneateles Central School District.

Abandoned for decades, the structure was in dire straits when Heather Bruno-Sears discovered it while taking her beloved grandfather for a Sunday drive. Despite being completely overgrown with a huge hole in the roof, missing windows, crumbling stone walls, and a dirt floor....Heather realized it was a "diamond in the rough," and embarked on a mission to salvage the historical gem. Currently being renovated with the eclectic flair of an English Cottage - the schoolhouse is flanked by Heather's heirloom perennial gardens and streams that form a tributary, laced with wild life and hidden waterfalls, cascading into Skaneateles Lake. Upon completion, the quaint property will serve as Heather's artisan retreat, studio gallery and decorative arts showroom.

Heather Bruno-Sears has established The Finger Lakes Academy of Decorative Arts, to coincide and celebrate the 200th anniversary of the original Nunnery School. As Founder and Creative Director, Heather is pleased to offer her exquisite faux finishes and repertoire of hand-wrought surface design techniques, ranging from traditional old world master applications to new cutting-edge design concepts for interior decor.

Open by appointment


View The Updated Schoolhouse Studio Renovation Slideshow