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    Real Estate
    Thursday, March 30, 2023

    In the Heart of Old Lyme Village

    Owners have lovingly restored and improved the property over time
    The five-bedroom antique colonial home at 21 Lyme Street in Old Lyme is offered to the market for $1.35 million. Coldwell Banker Realtor Terry Kemper is the sellers’ agent.

    By Gretchen A. Peck

    Lyme Street in Old Lyme’s village is lined with homes, businesses and places of worship that tell the story of the town’s post-Colonial history. The Old Lyme Historical Society offers a self-guided tour of Lyme Street, available at OldLymeHistoricalSociety.org.

    There are familiar names along the route associated with the antique structures—those of prominent families of historical note: Sill, Griswold, Peck and Waite, among others. Generations of the Waite family lived in the region, including perhaps the most famous of the family, Morrison Waite, who was appointed Chief Justice of the United States by Ulysses S. Grant.

    Other members of the Waite family took to the water, including Captain Charles Waite, whose name is associated with 21 Lyme Street, right in the heart of the thriving community and a stroll away from the town green.

    The library, with paneled walls and a wood-burning fireplace, is an ideal space for a home office.

    Paul and Michelle Sagristano have owned the property since 1996, and today, offered it for sale to the next owner. They’ve enlisted Terry Kemper, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Realty in Old Lyme, as the listing agent.

    The homeowners spoke with Welcome Home about their family’s time living here. There may be some dispute about the age of the original house. Town records date it to 1850, but the homeowners have reason to believe it’s possibly older. “If you look at some of the architectural techniques, they suggest that it’s older,” Paul Sagristano said. He cited the post-and-beam structure and the classic center-chimney colonial style that was more common a century before. The property was owned by members of the Waite family since the 1780s, according to the current owners.

    Today, the five-bedroom house sits back from the street, behind a white picket fence.

    During a 2000s-era renovation and addition, the homeowners—with the counsel of their architect—sought to open up the floor plan as much as the house would allow.

    When the Sagristanos bought in the property in the 1990s, it was in foreclosure. They were required to pay cash for the sale, because no lender wanted to write a mortgage on the property. The house needed work, and at the time, there was no kitchen.

    Still, they were intrigued by its potential, and they appreciated its antique character and the village setting. They knew the house had “good bones” and that “it needed a little bit of love,” he recalled.

    Over the years, the owners made a number of major improvements to the house. They immediately built the kitchen, cleverly reclaiming some pine timber from the attic level for the cabinets.

    They’ve since renovated and expanded the kitchen, with the help of the same craftsman, James T. Bolles, who specializes in custom period cabinetry and furnishings. The design called for an island, marble surfaces, farmhouse-style sinks, and integration of an original wood-burning fireplace.

    The kitchen expansion was part of a larger addition project in the 2000s, designed by Architect Nina Cuccio Peck.

    When the homeowners designed the kitchen, they reclaimed timber from the original part of the house and “upcycled” it by making new cabinetry from the antique wood.

    It increased the square footage to 5,344. “Old houses tend to be a bit choppy,” he said. “When we did the addition, we tried to make everything flow better.” They retained and refinished the hardwood floors in the original part of the house, adding oak hardwoods in other parts of the house.

    Woodwork that had been painted and repainted over the years was stripped down and refinished, allowing their details to shine. They also opted to retain paneling, original doors and windows; however, they restored the windows over time, replacing the aged glass with glass made in Germany and sourced through an importer in New Jersey.

    In the floor plan, the kitchen sits between the family room and the dining room, which has a wet bar. At the front of the original part of the home, there are formal rooms—a living room and a library. One of the five bedrooms is a new primary suite, with a walk-in closet/dressing room. The brand-new private bath is outfitted with a steam shower and soaking tub.

    The house has several indoor-to-outdoor living spaces, including a screened porch, a covered porch and two second-floor decks—one off of a bedroom suite at the front of the house and one accessed through a second-story family room and one of the bedrooms.

    When the home’s kitchen was renovated and expanded in the 2000s, the architect cleverly incorporated an original fireplace into the cozy breakfast room.

    The 0.68-acre lot is deep and level, with borders of mature trees for added privacy. The back deck steps down to level lawn and to a deer-proof fenced garden with raised beds. The attached garage is oversized, allowing for three cars, plus workshop space.

    “It’s a bucolic setting,” Sagristano said. “The road is very pretty and the houses are all very pretty. It’s always nice to get off the highway and drive down this street to home. There isn’t one house that hasn’t been redone. They’re all well done. The setting is very nice.”

    “And it’s a walking neighborhood,” Michelle Sagristano added. The asking price for 21 Lyme Street is $1.35 million.

    Property: 21 Lyme St., Old Lyme

    Bedrooms: 5

    Baths: 6

    Square Footage: 5,344

    Acreage: 0.68

    Asking Price: $1.35 million

    Seller’s Agent: Terry Kemper, Coldwell Banker Realty, Old Lyme brokerage; Office: (860) 434-8600; Mobile: (860) 908-7820

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