‘Deja View’ Is True To Its Name

By: Joleene Moody

When Marilyn Formicola would climb the 30 feet of bedrock that towered in massive chunks across from the Blind Bay Marina, it was to brainstorm the great house that would soon rest there. She would sit atop the bedrock and imagine a home for her family. In her mind she saw the kitchen, the great room, and the loft above the kitchen for her grandchildren. She saw family gatherings with her kids and their little ones as the massive barges and ships passed by on the Saint Lawrence River. 

She saw it all, including the deck that surrounds three sides of the house.

                “I had this vision where I wanted people who walked through the door to see the river and enjoy it,” Mrs. Formicola said. “That’s why nearly every room has access to the deck outside.”

                Save one bedroom in the guest wing, the remaining three bedrooms, the kitchen, and the semi-rounded great room with a cedar cathedral ceiling, have doors that allow access to the wrap-around deck outside.

                The great room is the heartbeat of the house. Nestled in the center of it all, visitors see it as soon as they walk through the door, but not before their eyes catch the beautifully tiled floor below their feet. The tiny squares welcome visitors with a compass design that shows true north, south, east, and west.

                “It was a must have,” Mrs. Formica said. “My husband wanted two things when this house was being constructed. One was the compass on the floor in the entryway, and the other was the wine rack. The compass makes for a nice conversation piece when people come in for the first time. They always want to know if it’s accurate. And it is.”

As you enter the great room, you’re greeted by a beautifully crafted, scraped hickory floor. Your gaze moves directly out the Marvin ceiling-to-floor windows and doors to the river. This is where the room is partially octagonal in shape. The design is intentional to give guests the feeling that they are actually sitting on top of the bedrock, overlooking the water. This massive room also acts as a dining room, giving dinner guests the perfect view of the Saint Lawrence River as they gather with family.

                “This area offers a shipping channel view,” Eileen Kaleel of Weichert Realtors, Thousand Islands Realty LLC said.  “And it’s so peaceful and quiet. You can’t find that anymore in the Alex Bay area past Clayton because there are cottages and boats everywhere. Now, if you want that criteria, you have to come more toward Blind Bay. It’s not trafficked with powerboats like it is toward Clayton.”

                The massive barges and ships that pass by are enough to stop you in your tracks to observe. Mrs. Formicola said that even when she’s buzzing about the house, she always takes a moment to stop and watch the vessels as they laze down the river. And where most homes and cottages on the river rattle as the barges pass, Deja View doesn’t rattle at all. 

CHRISTOPHER LENNEY / NNY  BUSINESS

                “When the house was constructed, my late husband built the foundation with massive steel beams,” she said. “Any house built on this bedrock has to have some kind of foundation like that. From there, a layer of rubber was laid between the beams and the house to absorb any vibration of passing barges and ships.”

                The great room also offers a spiral staircase that leads to a cozy loft, the only second level room in the house. Perfect for children, the loft offers bunk beds, four portal windows that look out onto the marina, and a sound-absorbent rug to keep little feet quiet as they play. The space here is large enough to house a pool table, if desired. Holding the banister as you climb back down, your palms may trace the handmade wood-carved oak leaves finials, a design specific to further bring outdoor elements indoors.

                Back at the main entrance and to the left of it, is a baker’s dream kitchen: with an oversized built-in refrigerator, warming drawers, freezing drawers, and low counters for the little’s in our lives, this Italian-inspired galley boasts granite counter tops and limestone floors that bring a special kind of warmth that is both inviting and inspiring.

                The counters on the southeast side of the kitchen were designed to be lower than the rest so that the view of the marina wasn’t obstructed. This choice makes cooking and baking a breeze for young children, shorter people, or older folks in a chair. The warming and freezing drawers are also easily accessible, making the large kitchen simple to navigate around the working table in the middle. A rounded breakfast bar with a granite top overlooks the kitchen, giving hungry guests a perfect view of the marina.

                Beyond the kitchen past the walk-in pantry that is apparent by its handmade vintage screen door, is the master bedroom wing. This large space offers a walk-in closet and full bathroom with vessel boat sinks, separate tub and shower, and a blue sea glass border on the walls to accentuate the master bath, a design that, once again, brings pieces of the outdoor life, indoors. Beautiful sliding glass doors off of the bedroom open to an outside cabana where coffee and a good read in the early a.m. is a must.

                On the opposite side of the house is the guest wing where three bedrooms and two baths patiently await their visitors. Two of the bedrooms on this side offer a river view and share a Jack and Jill full bath. The third bedroom is nestled quietly at the back of the house. A second bathroom can also be found in this wing, offering a shower only.

                Next to this second bathroom is a spacious laundry room with a full sink. This convenient room boasts a door to the outside world, offering the ideal space for guests to dry off after a swim in the river or marina.

CHRISTOPHER LENNEY / NNY BUSINESS

          Any floors that aren’t granite or hard scraped hickory are covered with brand new plush, wall-to-wall carpeting.

                Deja View sits on what used to be its own island, before landowners put in causeways in the early 1970’s to make reaching the island easier. Decades before that, the area was a watering hole for livestock owned by the Allen family farm. Today the Allen family still owns a large portion of the land in the area, save the Blind Bay Marina. A small black and white photo of cows cooling in the water makes up part of the wall art in the home. Likely from the 1930’s, the photo shares what river life was like long ago. That nostalgic feeling is still present on the property today.

                “You get kind of this old river sense when you get here,” Mrs. Kaleel said. “This area used to be a destination. You still get the sense of the life people originally lived years ago on the river. Yet as soon as you come up the stairs of the house, you feel like you’re somewhere else. It’s just a remarkable, contemporary home.”

                All the furnishings in the house are part of the package, if desired.

                For water lovers, there is a sheltered bay with dockage for up to 40-foot boats in the harbor.

                Deja View was finished in 2010. For the past 17 years, the Formicola family has made this house their home. But with Mr. Formicola gone and their children grown and perusing their own lives, Mrs. Formicola is ready to move on and build her life in her home in Florida.

                “The way I had this house built and the vision I had for it was for family enjoyment,” she said. “We were fortunate enough to have it for a long while, but things have changed.  Now I want to pass the house on to someone who wants to live in it the same way we did.”

                The house is listed for $1,350,000. If the private home on the edge of Blind Bay speaks to you, reach out to Eileen Kaleel of Weichert Realtors, Thousand Islands Realty LLC at (315) 686-5500 or (315) 686-8593.