A boat-shaped home on a Connecticut lake


S.S. Sweeney, Jack Sweeney’s boat-shaped home, rose from the ashes of his fire-destroyed cottage on Hitchcock Lake in Connecticut.

The tug-shaped house replaced a fire-destroyed cottage; the kitchen has glass-front cabinets; a swimming pool and spa overlook Hitchcock Lake.

“I raised my kids here, love the site and the water,” says Sweeney, a 76-year-old pharmacist. “So rebuilding the house as a tug with living quarters, decorated with our nautical things, seemed appropriate.”

After living in the Wolcott house for 15 years, Sweeney wants to downsize. The two-bedroom, one-bath house on six-tenths of an acre and has a swimming pool, a 179-foot waterfront, and a pier, float and launch ramp. It is on the market for $575,000.

The 2,000-square-foot, year-round home’s high planked bow faces the lake. Wraparound windows on the “forward cabin” give the living room and its custom sunken bar panoramic lake views.

Sliding glass doors to starboard of the custom, curved fieldstone wood-burning fireplace open to the forward deck. Three skylights enhance the feeling of spaciousness.

The front door opens into the “port side” of the living room near an airy “bulkhead” of arches that forms one wall of the tile-floored dining room. A massive brick gas-log fireplace fills another wall. The adjacent den is convenient to the full bath and eat-in kitchen.

Farther aft, the U-shaped kitchen, which has twin skylights, encloses an island with wine storage and a ceramic cooktop. Vicky McCulloch, Sweeney’s life partner, specified a tile floor and granite counters. A lighthouse chandelier accents the pickled wood cabinets with glass fronts that display nautical memorabilia accumulated over decades.

A spiral staircase beneath a dome skylight accesses two carpeted bedrooms and an office upstairs. The master bedroom has wraparound windows, a whirlpool tub and a private balcony overlooking the pool, gardens and lake. It opens into the office, where the floor, walls and grated ceiling are planked with vintage wood from a dismantled pier in Miami. Port-light windows decorate the guest bedroom.

As on a tug, the “side decks” are protected by bulwarks of hawsers strung between pilings. The walkway extends around the “cabin” to the lakefront “forward deck,” a favorite gathering spot. An exterior door accesses the concrete-floored basement.

Terraced flower gardens extend to the stone riprapped waterfront. A plank path, lined by pilings and hawsers, connects the house with the lighted swimming pool, spa and tiki bar, then continues down to the vegetable garden, shorefront cabana, pier and floating dock.

Their float has 2-foot water depths, ample for kayaks, canoes, small sailboats or their pontoon boat. “The lake is perfect for fishing or puttering around to a little cove [to] anchor,” Sweeney says. They have a ramp to launch small craft.

The Hitchcock Lake-Wolcott Land Conservation Trust has strict regulations for land and lake use. No-wake zones and quiet hours (1 to 3 p.m. on summer weekends and holidays) govern boats and personal watercraft.

The large paved parking area abuts a covered carport. The property has a private well and public sewers. Annual taxes are about $5,400. Hitchcock Lake Improvement Association dues are $125 this year.

Mary Kay Daughters (cellphone, 203-829-8113) of Hoffman International Properties, Greenwich, Connecticut, (hoffmanIP.com) has the listing on this property.

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue.