Old Schoolhouse Brick

August 8, 2022

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For the last few weeks, my family and I have been quite literally breaking our backs for what might be my best “thrifty” find of all time. FREE SCHOOLHOUSE BRICK and it is absolutely stunning! It is old and full of imperfect perfection and I love it.

Thorn Cove Abode Schoolhouse Brick
Pile of Schoolhouse Brick

But free comes with a price.

Although it was free, it definitely came with a “price.” We have been painstakingly cleaning mortar from each brick before stacking, one by one, onto pallets ourselves. After we stacked each brick onto the pallets, we had to wrap each pallet to prepare it for transport. And let me tell you, scheduling transport for this many brick was a feat all on its own. We ended up with 18 pallets of schoolhouse brick which weighed 2,500 pounds! I cannot believe we stacked 2,500 pounds of brick (but my back sure does).

This Schoolhouse Brick tells a story.

This brick was once a part of an old schoolhouse building. The main part of the school is still standing and is now a fully operating church. But, if the thought of free 80+ year old brick isn’t exciting enough, let me tell you why this is SO absolutely thrilling. You see, this brick out building was my elementary school. I found my love of art in the very building these bricks helped create. I sat right inside these now torn down brick walls. This is where my creativity blossomed. I remember so vividly the classes I took within these walls and my Art teacher, Mrs. West, who so lovingly poured into me. Now here I am, almost 30 years later, salvaging it to build a home with. Isn’t this just an incredible full circle moment?

Thorn Cove Abode Schoolhouse Brick
A pallet of schoolhouse bricks.

Where is all of this brick going?

It’s going to be transported to one of our favorite places Beaufort to be used on our home there! It will soon be a beautiful foundation, walkway, fire places, fire pits and more. It couldn’t be a more perfect way to start our new “old” home there. Building materials are through the roof right now and I couldn’t be more thankful for this. Even though it was intense manual labor collecting and preparing the brick, it will be so worth it when we see it all come together. Would you have done this? Have I completely lost it? 🤪



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  1. Kristen Cheatum says:

    This is incredibly a God wink! God I’d so good and so amazing!✨

  2. Jackie Rockas says:

    Wow, I think this is great. Memories and a new use for the future. What a great way to save money. Way to go, love the idea.

  3. Michelle Beard says:

    I’m sure it will be beautiful like everything else you do! Can’t wait to see it all finished.

  4. DeeAnn Greear says:

    This is awesome!! Can not wait to see what you all do with it!

  5. Christina T. says:

    I absolutely LOVE this!!

  6. Barbara Warga says:

    I Janie these will turn into something fabulous in your hands!

  7. Valerie says:

    This is amazing! I’m constantly amazed at you and your families work ethic and how you are always up for a challenge no matter how much work has to be poured into it. I cannot wait to see your final results! I know it’s going to look amazing!

  8. Valerie S says:

    This is amazing! I’m constantly amazed at you and your families work ethic and how you are always up for a challenge no matter how much work has to be poured into it. I cannot wait to see your final results! I know it’s going to look amazing!

  9. ~Julia says:

    YEARS AGO …my husband and I reclaimed and cleaned the VerY old brick from the cultural building that was 100+ years old from our states fair grounds. It was in late autumn and we pain-stakingly cleaned, craved, stacked and then hauled to our little 1 1/2 story bungalow first home. It then became a featured wall that went the length of our dining /living room and firewall for our wood burner. That was just the beginning of many a homes we refurbished throughout our married life. Truly the labour’s of love we do, last a lifetime not only thru yours, but also the valuable lesson you’ve now taught your children. And those, you are guaranteed to be passed down thru many generations to come, If The Father should so tarry. So no, you’re not nuts – your not only going to be building character in your new *old* home, but also in the lives of your children!

  10. Tonya says:

    I LOVE that your home has a history and story even though it’s a new build. What you’re teaching your kids is a valuable lesson on repurposing items, working hard and saving money. Can’t wait to watch the new home come to life! Congratulations on your next chapter

    • Brittany Smith says:

      Thank you so much! I hope they talk about this one day with their children. Maybe they will even tell them while visiting the Beaufort house. “Momma made us clean and stack every one of these brick”😆

  11. Phyllis Williams says:

    Aww Brittany, I was wiping the tears as I read this, what a beautiful story and legacy you are building. My Daddy was a brick layer but trade before he surrendered to the ministry and I love to go visit the buildings he built in Greenville SC and what I would give to have some of the brick he laid do I get it. I can’t wait to follow your journey because I love Beaufort too and now the brick story…I ll have to share with you soon the sermon my daddy preached after he built one of his first churches. It’s called The sermon of the Brivk while he laid the brick God gave him the sermon. Blessings, Phyllis

    • Brittany Smith says:

      I would love to hear it, Phyllis. I often thing of scripture when i’m bringing new life into the old.♥️

  12. Denise says:

    Cannot wait till you build it.
    Best de isr0

  13. Cheryl says:

    I think it’s awesome to have this brick for Beaufort!
    So meaningful… your past will be concrete to your future! Excuse the pun! Lol

  14. Stephanie says:

    Oh, that’s the best! I know that house will be even more meaningful to you as you see all of your hard work day in & day out. That’s a project that I absolutely would take on as well… as my husband questions my sanity while working alongside me. lol

  15. Erika Floyd says:

    This is so awesome, Brittany! I love a good freebie. And you scored. The story behind it makes it even better. I would of totally done it too. 🙂

  16. Tammy Hightower says:

    I’m sure I would die doing that but how wonderful! ♥️

  17. Kelly says:

    Oh how exciting!!!!

  18. Candy Gross says:

    Wow, how cool is that? I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Yes, we would have probably done the same. Love using old things especially if they have sentimental meaning.

  19. Dondee says:

    That’s an amazing find! It’s even more amazing that your new home has a story and it’s not even built yet!! 🥰

  20. Awesome! Can’t wait to see it all come to pass. I’m sure it will be beautiful. 🤩💕

  21. Melanie says:

    What an incredible opportunity you were blessed with! I love that the bricks have a story, but for you a sweet attachment also! I can’t wait to see the art you make of these heirlooms!

  22. Jessica says:

    This is amazing….just like everything else you design and so! I can’t wait to see it on your Beaufort home!
    XO – Jessica

  23. Autumn says:

    Loooove! I cannot wait to see all you do with this at the new property! Go girl! ❤️🤗

  24. Michelle Evans says:

    Yay for you!!! Yes, I 100% would have done this!! Every time I see an abandoned building with a dilapidated brick fireplace, I think “I bet if I ask, I can have that brick for free”! The thought of it going in a landfill someday breaks my heart. BUT…I have no current project to use it for right now. This would just be for my day dream that someday we will build a new/old house….so, I never ask 😭😭😭 You are a saint to save this brick and I love the story behind it! Kudos for your family for being so willing to help ❤️❤️❤️

  25. Molly E says:

    This is AMAZING!!!! We would SO have done this!!

  26. Ginger Lowery says:

    Oh my goodness, I love this so much and I can totally relate! They tore down my elementary school, my mom also taught there for 30 years, you were allowed to come and get one brick from it, which I did! I can’t wait to see what you do with this. PS, I’m sure you’re aware of this but watch out for asbestos. When we got our bricks they told us we might want to have them cleaned.

  27. Gwen says:

    Would totally do this too! Love your ability to incorporate old with new and create a beautiful home with memories packed into it. All design should start with a story, even if it is just the memory of “Remember that time we found this in that Flea Market in (said town)”. Be sure to write that story down and tuck it in a visible space for the future. 100 years from now that story will create joy for someone like you.

  28. Carolyn says:

    Total Score. It’s amazing you will be building parts of your new home with bricks from you childhood school. I cannot wait to see what you and your family do with the brick in ur new home. And the price couldn’t be beat “Free”. The Best

  29. Julie says:

    Oh my gosh that is just wonderful! I have done that kind of work before…it is a killer for sure! Your new house will be just beautiful with those bricks. The memories you will have…make and your kids and grandchildren will be able to tell the story of the brick!
    Love all you do! Keep up the good work!

  30. Melissa says:

    How exciting to have your history in your new home in Beaufort. It will probably mean even more with all the hard work you put into collecting it.

  31. Chris says:

    That is the neatest story I had a job cleaning old brick one summer while I was in high school. I didn’t last long. It’s really hard work. I went back to babysitting. But what a beautiful home building material it will be however you decide to use it.

  32. Ann Staton says:

    I would not have done that 😂 but am so glad you did. Things with a heritage are the best. Can’t wait to see it reused!

  33. Debbie says:

    This is so awesome!! My elementary school I loved best was torn down a year or so ago! It was in Clear Creek Kentucky where my dad was I’m Bible College so by the time I knew, I
    couldn’t get there from NWGeorgia!! I would have love having some of those Brick!

  34. Shawn Pugel says:

    I TOTALLY would have done this! So excited for you! I love this! ❤️

  35. Michell mays says:

    Girrrrrrl!!! I so would have done this. However, my husband would be threatening to divorce me lol

  36. Jan says:

    I absolutely love your passion for the past. I also love old brick and have moved brick several times from house to house until it finally ended up at our current home. You’re not crazy but passionate about preserving the past.

  37. Jen says:

    I love that you are preserving happy memories from your childhood into your new home. Think of all the hard work that went into creating those bricks for school. Those craftsman would be pleased to see their work preserved and to live on in a new way! Definitely worth every bit of hard work!!

  38. Sabiene says:

    Wow is there anything you can’t do! It’s nice to see the whole family helping. What a great piece of history to have in your home.

  39. Heather Schlosser says:

    So exciting and has such meaning for you it was a wonderful idea

  40. Patrice says:

    What a beautiful story – and a true treasure! Ironically, the bricks being taken from where you learned so much – that which molded you into the beautiful soul you are today – continues to teach your little ones about so many things! Hard work, team work, restoring old things and not just tearing things down…. Take which may be someone’s discard and make it into something to be proud of!!! A true labor of love—— can’t wait to see the finished products 🙂

  41. Tiffany says:

    That’s so awesome!

  42. Melinda white says:

    I just love it!!!!!! I’m a retired teacher so to hear you so lovingly remember a teacher who inspires you makes me smile bigger than you can imagine. My husband and I own Capitol Construction. During a project on Wall St in Spartanburg about 8 years ago we got to reclaim the old brick. It’s now the sidewalks and patio at our business. I love telling the story when folks ask about it

    • Brittany Smith says:

      Teachers play such a huge role in the lives of children. I’m so thankful for the ones that so lovingly pour into us. So, Thank you!!

  43. Barbara says:

    What a great idea.. ya know anything beautiful takes hard work!!

  44. Tiffany Scales says:

    That is so special! I love when God sends us little reminders of just how much He cares! Any old brick would have been an awesome blessing, but how cool is it that He bothered to send you not just any brick, but brick from a building that holds such special meaning to you. ❤️ I can’t wait to see your Beaufort home! I love seeing/learning your process for a new old home. You are very inspirational! Building a new old home is something my husband and I are dreaming of doing someday (hopefully) soon.

  45. LaRue says:

    I love the idea of using the bricks from your old school on your “new, old home”! Yes when I was your age I certainly would have loved to have the bricks and clean them to use. That will always be a happy story to tell your grandkids one day when they are at your beach home!!!
    Love the Carolina Cottage so far too! Can’t wait to see it finished!!!