This Family’s 20-Room Mansion Was Once a Funeral Home, and They Turned the Embalming Room into a Cigar Lounge

published Nov 15, 2022
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Most homebuyers want to buy something unique, but how many would look at a funeral parlor and think “that’s my dream home?” One Canadian family did, and now they’re chronicling the process of turning a funeral home into their forever home as part of a Discovery+ series.

After the Thomas L. DeBurger funeral home in Dresden, Ontario closed its doors in 2016, the family-owned business behind it also shuttered after 42 years serving the local communities. In 2020, the century-old Victorian-style home went up for sale, offering up 38 rooms for less than $600,000, according to Toronto-based outlet Narcity.

Along with three stories, two elevators, and nearly 10,000 square feet of living space, the home offered luxe amenities like an in-ground swimming pool and a three-car garage. But it would take a special buyer to get past the home’s one-of-a-kind roots, a challenge that Heather and Arryn Blumberg (and their two kids, Rafferty and Noa) seemingly happily took on.

The family told Toronto Life that they took a trip to see the home after the online listing caught their eye, though it made no mention of the home being a former funeral parlor. Heather told the outlet that its history wasn’t a “deterrent,” adding, “As a family, we have always leaned toward the dark and mysterious. We love horror movies; we really get into Halloween. When it came to the funeral home, my feeling was, ‘Okay, aren’t funerals about love and celebrating life?’ In that sense, better an old funeral home than an old hospital.” They even have an eight-year-old black Lab named Satan.

It seems it was love at first sight, with the Blumbergs wanting to buy the property before even stepping foot inside. “When we got there, even before we went inside, we were totally in love with the house and all of its potential,” said Heather. They bid under asking and scored the home at $570,000, ultimately spending an additional $400,000 to renovate it.

The Blumbergs have been lovingly renovating the home, chronicling it all on a six-episode Discovery+ series, “We Bought a Funeral Home,” which fittingly hit the streaming service ahead of Halloween last month. They have also detailed the process on social media, which included turning the embalming room into a cigar lounge and updating and preserving an old body box. And yes, there’s black paint aplenty.

“I love the way we have been able to lean into the character and history of the home but also create a place that is warm and cozy,” Heather told Toronto Life. “My husband and kids were all against the idea of painting the kitchen and living room area black, but I think it has worked out really well.”

Though the renovation is still in progress, it seems they’ve found the perfect landing pad to create their goth-inspired dream home. Check out “We Bought a Funeral Home,” streaming on Discovery+, to see more.