School home offers country life

The Kloogh family put their hands up when given the chance to move into the old Wyllies Crossing school. Tim Brown reports.

The opportunity to escape to the countryside was too good to pass up for the Kloogh family.

The family of four gave up city life to move into the former Wyllies Crossing school, on the Taieri Plain, Suzanne Kloogh said.

Mrs Kloogh and her husband, Geoff, lived in Maori Hill while their children, Izzy (18) and Oliver (19), went to secondary school but jumped at the chance to move into the converted school in Riccarton Rd West.

When asked what made the former school a good home, Mrs Kloogh said: ''The lifestyle and it's nice and quiet. I'm not really interested being in the city.

''We are used to fairly large houses and it's around 400sq m. It's got a big garage, a nice established garden and it's nice and private because it's all surrounded by hedges.''

The other appeal was the proximity of the house to where she kept her four horses.

The old school, which the Klooghs have lived in since last August, was converted into a home by its Oamaru owners, Sue and Brian Denny.

Mr and Mrs Denny bought the property about seven years ago, after the school's closure in 2004.

The Dennys found out about the property through their daughter.

''Originally our daughter wanted to buy it but it really wasn't suitable for her, so we decided we would buy it and turn it into a house,'' Mrs Denny said.

The couple put a ''hell of a lot'' of work into transforming the school into a home and had ''completely redone the inside''.

The couple tried to keep some of the school's character and had reused aspects of it where possible, including recycling rimu from the school to build the kitchen.

The design of the school had lent itself to being developed into a house, Mrs Denny said.

''It's not a usual school,'' she said.

''A lot of schools are just a row of classrooms, but this is an interesting U shape with bits sticking out of it.''

The character of the house, the size of the property and the features of the section made it tempting to live in.

''If I was going to live in Dunedin I would live there, it's such a beautiful place,'' Mrs Denny said.

- If there is an old school on the Taieri you are interested in finding out about, email


It is weird seeing the photo of this house, it doesn't seem that long ago that I was sitting out the front of what was then a school with lots of kids and families sitting around for school assemblies and family gatherings. It is sad that what was such a good school is now gone.

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