I converted a 150-year-old funeral home into a mansion for my family. It has 38 rooms, a casket bar, and occasional paranormal experiences.

I converted a 150-year-old funeral home into a mansion for my family. It has 38 rooms, a casket bar, and occasional paranormal experiences.

A Funeral Home Turned Eclectic Mansion: A Story of History, Creativity, and Supernatural Encounters

Heather Blumberg and her family turned a funeral home into their mansion.

Heather Blumberg and her family turned a funeral home into their mansion. There are 38 rooms and the family uses every single one. They converted a casket lift into a bar and often hear footsteps or a woman shouting, “Hello!”

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Heather Blumberg, who turned a funeral home into her house. It has been edited for length and clarity.

In 2021, Heather Blumberg and her family made a bold move. They transformed a funeral home into their unique and eclectic mansion. With a purchase price of $570,000 and an additional $400,000 invested in renovations, they breathed new life into the historic building.

The house, built in the 1870s, boasts Second Empire architecture and a colorful history. When the Blumberg family stumbled upon a picture of the mansion online during the midst of the pandemic, they were instantly drawn to its charm. They knew they had to make it their own.

The funeral home had undergone an extension in the 1990s, adding 6,000 square feet to its original footprint and bringing it to a grand total of 14,000 square feet. The Blumbergs felt a strong connection with the house and were determined to see it preserved, rather than being converted into a condo or worse, demolished.

Currently, the family of four, along with their Great Danes, occupies all 38 rooms in the mansion. From a cigar lounge and two libraries to 10 bedrooms and three parlors, every space in the house is a carefully designed, dramatic experience. However, the Blumbergs are mindful of the emotional ties some of their neighbors have to the space, as it served as the setting for saying their final farewells to loved ones. Consequently, even as they modernize certain aspects of the house, they strive to maintain the integrity of its infrastructure and foundation.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the intriguing features that make the Blumberg mansion truly one-of-a-kind:

1. The Enchanted Forest

The center of the house doesn’t have a lot of natural light, so I used that as an excuse to create an indoor enchanted forest.

To create a seamless transition between the foyer, parlor, and staircase, Heather Blumberg drew inspiration from William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Captivated by a scene featuring a forest filled with butterflies, she decided to recreate that magical ambiance within her home. Employing the talents of a friend, who skillfully painted a mural on the staircase walls, she infused the space with the feeling of a serene, indoor enchanted forest. Taxidermy owls, collected by her husband during his childhood, provide a whimsical touch. Real trees adorned with faux leaves and blossoms, complemented by a swarm of 2,000 butterflies, contribute to the enchanting environment.

2. The Casket Bar

We decided to have some fun with the history of the house and turn it into a bar that can be called up to 4 different floors in the house.

Displaying a sense of humor and appreciation for the house’s past, the Blumbergs transformed a casket lift, once used for transporting bodies and caskets, into a one-of-a-kind bar. This electrically operated lift can now be summoned to four different floors, adding a unique twist to their mansion. Repurposing the casket itself, the once solemn container now holds bottles and glasses, serving as a delightful conversation piece.

3. The Body Box

We didn’t want to just trash the box, so we decided to frame it as an artistic nod to the 100+ years the home was used for funerals.

During their early exploration of the home, the Blumbergs uncovered a fascinating artifact in the basement: a body box. This box played a role in the repatriation of bodies when someone passed away overseas. Rather than discarding the box, they felt it deserved respect and contacted the son of the person associated with it. After gaining his permission, they decided to frame the box as a nod to the home’s century-long history of funerals and its significance in the community.

4. The Dining Room

All the lighting, seating, and glassware is sourced from auctions and online markets, keeping this a very budget-friendly and unique space.

Functioning as a former chapel, the dining room within the mansion boasts a considerable size and an awe-inspiring atmosphere. The room is completely black, captivating anyone who steps foot inside. With carefully sourced lighting fixtures, seating, and glassware acquired from auctions and online markets, the Blumbergs have transformed this space into a budget-friendly, yet remarkable, setting.

Amidst the history and creativity that fills the Blumberg mansion, there are also tales of supernatural activity. Occasionally, ethereal figures can be seen wandering the halls, while the sound of footsteps and doors opening creates an otherworldly ambiance. One particular resident, a woman, affectionately greets the family with a random shout of “Hello!” Though initially unsettling, the Blumbergs have grown accustomed to these occurrences, finding them more intriguing than eerie. Rest assured, however, there are no malevolent spirits or impending doom within the mansion’s walls.

Looking to the future, Heather Blumberg is excited about continuing to improve her remarkable home. Plans include a revamp of the main library and eventual transformation of the mansion into a charming bed and breakfast. She also has her sights set on undertaking restoration projects in other historic buildings, such as asylums or hospitals.

The story of Heather Blumberg and her family turning a funeral home into a one-of-a-kind mansion is a testament to their creativity, respect for history, and ability to embrace the unusual. Their journey showcases how an old building can be reinvigorated and repurposed while honoring its past. The Blumbergs have truly crafted a home that is both extraordinary and welcoming.

If you have a fun and unique home story that you’d like to share, please reach out to Alyshia Hull at [email protected].