Cozy cottage, on the water in Mystic
By Gretchen A. Peck
1 Sylvia Avenue, Mystic, is listed for sale. The two-bedroom waterfront cottage is complemented by a two-car garage, a separate home office and a private dock. The sellers are represented by listing agent Tracy E. O’Donnell, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ New England Properties Mystic brokerage.
The homeowners, Teresa and Tom Norris, spoke with Welcome Home about the property, which has been in the Norris family for 40 years. At one point, before the house and others in the neighborhood were built, there was a campground on the peninsula, he explained.
The couple had been living in Tolland, Connecticut, but wanted to be closer to the coast as they planned for retirement. They acquired this family retreat at 1 Sylvia Avenue in 2004 and set out to renovate the house.
“The kitchen is open-concept now. We’re just using the space a lot more efficiently than it had been when it was built in 1940,” she said.
While renovating the house, they opened up walls, which allowed a more intimate look at its construction.
“It was obvious, when we opened up the walls, that this was built at the beginning of World War II, when there was not a lot of construction material to easily buy. They’d made a lot of compromises,” he said. “We winterized it in 2004, insulating it and putting in all modern systems.”
With less than 1,000 square feet of living space, the interiors are intimate and cozy, with an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area.
“During the original renovations, we replaced the windows and changed the functions of each room,” she added. “The kitchen is now where the living room was. I love my kitchen,” she continued. “My husband is a master builder, and he made two islands for the kitchen, both on wheels.”
The house has just two bedrooms, with the primary bedroom on the first level. It has a staircase the leads up to the second floor, where they’ve had enough room to place two beds for guest and family visits, and a small work space with a desk. Mrs. Norris used it as a writing desk. She pointed to the charming ship’s porthole that provides a little window from which to view the water, recalling how she’d found it a shop in Mystic and thought it would be the perfect design addition to the space.
In 2016, they installed a new roof on the main house.
The owners also sought the proper permits to demolish an old garage on the property, which had fallen into disrepair. That made way for the two-car garage they built in its stead. They had a long driveway crafted in pavers, which gave extended family and friends plenty of room to park during visits or special occasions.
Off the back of the house, there are two decks—upper- and lower-level decks. The lower deck is outfitted with a retractable awning for shade.
“I love stepping out there in the morning and watching the sun come up. It’s just so beautiful,” she said.
There’s a second outbuilding on the property, with a finished space that Mr. Norris used as his home office. “You can look out the window and see the water from my desk,” he said.
The 0.29-acre property includes a private dock that was added roughly 30 years ago. “It took us four-and-a-half years to get the permit,” he said. It could use a little TLC in its current state, but prior to damage sustained in a storm, the couple tied up a 17-foot Boston Whaler there.
“We have a metal ramp that connects the surface of the yard to the dock, but we take that down in the winter,” she said.
The property is right next to a marina—one of several marinas nearby—making it particularly convenient for a buyer with a larger boat. The couple recounted how they enjoyed watching boat traffic come and go.
“One of the key features of this house is the location,” Mr. Norris said. “You can walk to the train station and have breakfast at the depot, which is fantastic. You can walk to Angie’s Pizza or walk into downtown, no problem. It’s a great little village.”
“It’s so walkable,” his wife agreed. “If you have a dog, you can walk all along the waterfront. You get to know people who are out walking.”
They’ve enjoyed the sense of community here.
“We have a great tradition that we’ll have to share with the new owner,” she said. “Everyone who lives on this little peninsula puts out American flags on our lawns. The whole peninsula is decorated with flags for special holidays.”
“It’s our favorite place,” she said. “After all our vacations and weekends here, sitting on the deck, we dreamed of retiring here.”
Property: 1 Sylvia Ave., Mystic
Square Footage: 989
Asking Price: $680,000
Listing Agent: Tracy E. O’Donnell, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, New England Properties; Mobile: (401) 480-9515; firstname.lastname@example.org
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