A Colonial-era beauty on the Connecticut River

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Tim and Sharon Lynch’s 1780 home, tucked away on a private lane in downtown Essex, Connecticut, epitomizes the sophisticated charm and casual elegance of the quintessential New England seaside village.

Lynch, a retired 65-year-old who owned a medical advertising agency, and his family have summered or lived in Essex since 1980. Now that their children are grown, the Lynches want to move to a smaller house in Naples, Florida.

Their half-acre Essex property, which has 100-foot frontage on Middle Cove, a three-bedroom, three-bath home with a detached two-car garage, an in-ground swimming pool, a potting shed and a dock, is on the market for $2.25 million.

When they updated their 3,200-square-foot home, the Lynches kept the wide chestnut floorboards, chestnut mantels, 12-over-12 windows, brick bake ovens and much original framing.

The living room, dining room and den retain their formal Colonial ambience and original fireplaces. Two are fitted with gas logs.

The focal point of the house is the remodeled kitchen wing. “We wanted space for guests to gather, yet be comfortable for just two of us,” Lynch says. Two walls of glass-front cabinets, oak flooring and beadboard woodwork that camouflages the modern appliances provide country elegance. A center island/breakfast bar separates the work area from a gathering space that opens to the waterfront deck, which has views down Middle Cove.

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“The deck is my favorite spot,” he says. “We watch the osprey, other wildlife and the almost continual parade of boats to and from the marina. September is magnificent here.” In the winter he prefers to join Sharon by the living-room fireplace.

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Two staircases access two second-floor bedrooms and a full bath that has a tile floor, a glass shower, double vanities, a bidet and an original fireplace. The adjacent carpeted master bedroom occupies the entire water side of the house, overlooking the cove and the boating activity. Built-in bookcases and a wall of closets provide storage. The other bedroom, overlooking the rear gardens, is just upstairs from a full bath by the den.

The finished third floor has two carpeted rooms with skylights, a cathedral ceiling and exposed old beams. One room has built-in storage.

Original beams are also visible in the walk-out basement, which opens to the slate waterfront patio and terrace around the in-ground swimming pool. In the den, built-in bookcases, an entertainment center and oak flooring complement the original fireplace (fitted with gas logs) and its two brick bake ovens. Also downstairs are a full bath, a utility room and storage.

Sharon, who takes great pride in their topiaries and gardens, uses the poolside potting shed, which features parquet flooring, a crystal chandelier and a Palladian window overlooking the water.

Lynch keeps his 26-foot Grady-White, which has a 300-hp Yamaha engine, at their wood dock. “The cove is tidal (3.5 feet at mean low water), but we never had any trouble getting in and out,” he says. “And the marina next door has an 8-foot-deep dredged channel only yards away.

“We love cruising to Orient Point and Sag Harbor for lunch or up and down the river — to Goodspeed Opera House, to fish or anchor for swimming,” Lynch says.

“We can walk to everything (five marinas, two yacht clubs and all the amenities, shops, restaurants and services in downtown Essex),” Lynch says. “Yet our house is quiet and private.”

Hartford, I-95, Amtrak and Bradley International Airport are easily accessible.

“We fell in love with the house when we first saw it and never regretted buying it,” he says. “It’s an antique, part of Essex’s heritage. We have an obligation to maintain it and pass it on.”

The house has a security system, multi-zone oil-fired hot water heat, city water and a private sewer. Annual taxes are about $22,700.

Rick Weiner (860-227-3191) of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Essex (www.williampitt.com) lists the property. 

February 2015 issue