When Muriel Carr and her husband first set foot on Deer Island, they were looking up family roots, not necessarily planning to plant their own. Her husband’s grandfather and great grandfather grew up there, and also had connections on its sister island, Campobello Island. “When we were there we fell in love with the island,” admits Muriel. “Everyone was so friendly and we knew we wanted to buy property out here. When we found this place, we loved how it was on the wharf, and had so much history behind it.”
The property has played host to many people and businesses in its lifetime: in the late 1800’s, it hosted Butler’s General Store; Deer Island’s primary purchasing place for everything from fishing & boating supplies to fine china and food. “I looked at old pictures of the place and you’d see at least a dozen boats around the wharf; traffic headed in and out of the store,” says Muriel. The Post Office also operated out of the lower level for many years. After the store, it was a bustling sea urchin processing plant, employing 50+ people. When the Carr’s purchased the property, it had been operating as a factory and required adjustments although they were determined to honour the building’s history throughout their renovations.
“We wanted to keep the first floor of the building with a more ‘industrial’ feel,” explains Muriel. “We turned two of the freezers into bedrooms – added sliders and windows, but kept the freezer doors. The post office is now where we have our office. We received some of the old memorabilia from Butler General Store from its last owner, Mildred Butler, which is now set up in the corner to maintain a bit of that former story.”
The property is located a mere mile from the Maine border and the nearby Campobello Island is also home to the famous Roosevelt cottage and Roosevelt Campobello International Park, which appeals to many of the tourists. With an updated sprinkler system, elevator, WiFi, heating and a few more residentially-minded renovations, the Carrs helped the building evolve gracefully from a Sea Urchin plant to a homey, luxurious residence. Maintaining the legendary East Coast friendliness; the Carr’s opened their home after the renovations for a joint open house/ 99th birthday for Mildred Butler; with about 250 people in attendance to honour the building’s past and present, and the people who’ve made it special along the way.
The renovations opened up even more options for the home’s use: while the views have always been spectacular, the huge windows and neutral paint allow the natural light to flood the space and emphasize the home’s proximity to nature. Located on a quiet inlet of the world-famous Bay of Fundy; the 26 ft tides bring in new opportunities regularly. “The whales come in in August,” says Muriel. “Not right in front of the house, but on the other side of the little island in front – you can hear them blowing. It’s a great spot to get back to nature – from kayaking to looking at the bald eagles…it’s very peaceful.”
While the majority of the Island’s residents work in the Fisheries, there are others like the Carr’s who own vacation homes on the island; occasionally renting them out for others to enjoy – although this is a four season property. A free car ferry that holds about 25 vehicles is available to shuttle everyone off and on the island at half hour intervals during the day. While there’s plenty to explore outdoors; the property’s 4,000 sq ft interior has plenty to offer as well. The four bedroom home is currently set up to comfortably sleep sixteen, which is convenient for large family get togethers. The lower, industrial-themed level includes the great room with the downstairs rec room; perfect for playing pool or games, the two freezers-turned-bedrooms and a beautiful sun room. “We call it the Florida room,” says Muriel. “It’s lovely because it feels like you’re right on the water on the bottom floor – it’s an excellent view.” The home also includes practical, conveniently located bathrooms on both levels and plenty of access to the decks: whether you’re reading, watching nature, or having a cookout; there’s plenty of space for activities. “We actually had a wedding out on the decks as well,” notes Muriel. “The ceremony was on the deck with reception in the house – it’s really great for parties.”
The upper level includes a large, spacious kitchen with vaulted ceilings, spacious bedrooms with lofty ceilings – including a master ensuite with a luxurious soaker tub. The guest bedroom upstairs currently hosts four sets of bunk beds and a single queen bed with plenty of additional space. The secret room behind the bookshelves is the product of the grandchildren’s requests during renovations, and it currently serves as a quiet computer room. The Carrs have also occasionally rented the property out (to a maximum of eight people) to share their piece of paradise on the island with visitors. “I just wanted to rent it out for a maximum of four weeks a year,” explains Muriel. “We posted it on HomeAway.com and always had a wonderful experience – many of our guests signed the guest book, and all of them told us about the fantastic experience they had. One guest even made us a watercolour painting that is still on display in the home.”
As Muriel and her husband have gotten older; they decided it was time to pull up their anchor on Deer Island and allow the property to transition into new hands for a fresh adventure.
With all the roles the home has taken on over the years, it maintains tons of potential in both residential and commercial capacities – a retirement residence, short term rentals, Bed & Breakfast, or even a spa. The additional parcel of land (5900 sq ft just west of the house) provides incredible views and is lined with mature trees.
“This place has always been a getaway for us and a place to connect with friends, family, and nature,” says Muriel. “For the next owners, we hope it brings them the same happiness.”
For more photos and details about this beautiful property, visit the full listing here.
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Amy is a communications associate for PropertyGuys.com Durham Region and contributor for Welcome Mat.