I had the opportunity recently to tour two water-view sea captains’ homes for sale in Washington County. Yes, I have a great appreciation of old houses and have a bad habit of falling in love with every old house that I visit.
In this case, both were big and mighty homes build in the 19th century. Both had huge barns and both include a smaller homes which could provide extra income. The difference between the two is price and the amount of work needed to make it home. One is basically turn-key, the other needs work. Lots of work. But the price reflects the work it needs.
Captain’s House number one is located in the heart of East Machias. Built in 1820, it has been lovingly restored with so many updates, I can’t list them all here – new windows, wiring, furnace, on-demand hot water system, just to name a few. To me, it’s perfect – the systems are updated but the artist owners kept the antique charm of the house. The kitchen/keeping room is inviting with just the perfect blend of modern and vintage – no need to change a thing. Just off of the kitchen is a walk-in pantry/utility room (how can you not love a walk-in pantry?). There is a first floor bedroom with a door to the outdoors making the room versatile – if not used as a bedroom, it could be a small gallery or even an in-law or au pair quarters. The bathroom has early 20th century charm with a beautiful vintage pedestal sink that I was drooling over.
Upstairs there are two good-sized bedrooms and a small, delightful home office (with a view of the river). Actually, I say two bedrooms, but there is a ‘secret’, third upstairs bedroom – currently used for storage. I would probably see if it could be converted to a bathroom (the only obvious negative to this home that I concluded is that there is only one bathroom).
Next door to the house is the giant, two-story barn/garage. There is an extra-large, 9’x11’ garage door in case the new owner needs boat parking – perfect for the maritime lifestyle. Large windows with lots of light lend itself to the wonderful artist studio upstairs in the loft.
The third building on the property is a mid-century cottage. Even this cottage is retro-perfect. It’s a cozy, but light filled, knotty pine cabin with one bedroom and bath. The current owners have it consistently rented by year-round tenant, but also would be ideal accommodations as a vacation rental, guest house or even as owner’s quarters if someone were to use the main house as a bed and breakfast. The property is across the street from the river and abuts a babbling spring so the melodious lilt of the water can always be heard.
More information on Sea Captain John Brown’s house can be found here. The list price for this move-in-ready home – which is “for sale by owner” – is $249, 000.
The second captain’s house is a diamond in the rough in Jonesport, Maine – one of my favorite little coastal towns. I think it offers a great value for someone willing to put in some work to make it really shine. And… it’s a buy one, get one free house! Have you ever heard of a ‘buy one get one free house”? Imagine the stories that you could tell over cocktails – “I bought two houses at a BOGO sale!”
The main house – Captain Sawyer’s House – is one of those giant old homes that makes you wish you had a GPS to navigate the floor plan. I will admit, when I was inside the house, I really had to use my imagination to see the potential behind the years of ‘collections’ all throughout. We entered through a back entrance/mud room/pantry which flowed into the vintage kitchen. A bathroom with a shower was tucked in behind the back stairs. Yes, this is one of those lucky homes that has a front entry grand staircase as well as a back staircase (for late night, tiptoed entries through the back door). Don’t you just love it? Off of the kitchen is a den with very nice water views, even though the description says “occasional glimpses of the harbor“. Because I’m quite fluent in “real estate speak” – I wasn’t expecting much, if any view, and was nicely surprised. Most of the floors were covered with old, 1970’s carpeting — I tried to find a loose corner to see if there was hardwood under the carpets but wasn’t successful – but, with the age of the home, I think the odds are in favor of wood flooring.
Ascending up the grand staircase, the 2nd floor starts with a large landing, then a hallway winds it’s way past three bedrooms and a bath (complete with a very glamorous mid-century dressing table). Here’s where the house gets really fun. Across from the bathroom, open the door and there is a narrow staircase to a walk-up, third floor attic. Oh, the stories that the attic can tell of times gone by. Then, I started walking down the back stairs and I came upon two ‘secret’ nooks as you journey down the staircase. The nooks have tiny doors – the first nook has a window and would be a great reading spot or even a place where a kid would love to camp out (it would make such an awesome kids’ playhouse!). The other nook is a little more spooky with no natural lighting and is currently being used for storage.
Out behind the house is a huge barn. It was pretty full of stuff when I looked at it so I didn’t venture in too far. But the possibilities are endless.
Besides the hidden nooks, the other cool thing about the property – don’t forget – is the free house. Remember? BOGO house? The second house is located on the abutting property (the two homes are entwined through a shared well and septic) and was built in the early to middle part of the last century. Unfortunately, I was not able to go into this home — according to the Realtor, it had been inhabited by raccoons for a few years and there is quite a bit of damage. My husband looked at it and declared it – in his non-professional opinion – a tear-down. I thought it had great potential if it could be repaired (obviously a licensed contractor would be needed to determine). BUT… what opportunity. Two houses and a great big barn – with an ocean view – AND… I forgot to mention, it’s across the street from a picturesque church with hourly chimes – for the bargain price of….wait for it… $134,222.
Late Breaking News! As of press-time, Captain Sawyer’s house in Jonesport is currently ‘pending’. But contact Phillip Cormier at ERA Dawson-Bradford for more information or for other enticing homes for sale in the area. Drat! This one could have been the fish that got away.