The Day – A Norman Rockwell Life in Old Lyme


Douglas Levin and his mother, Joan Levin, shared how Joan and her husband, Kenneth, first discovered the 1859-era house at 5 Academy Lane in Old Lyme, and made it their 30 years ago. year.

They both grew up in New York, and once married and started their own families, they spent a few decades living abroad in Belgium, their son recalls.

“After living in Europe for all these years, they really didn’t know where to come back,” he said. “They might be going back to New York, but that was 30 years later in life, and the world there had changed. So they decided to try and find a place somewhere between New York and Maine.

“They did a drive that started in Maine and headed south along the coast, until they found the town of Essex (Connecticut),” he said. he continued. “They fell in love with the area and the Connecticut River. They had a real estate agent, who suggested they consider Old Lyme.”

He said his parents were immediately captivated by the city. It was “soft and less touristy” than the other places they considered. Their agent introduced them to 5 Academy Lane.

Her father felt an immediate connection to the house, but her mother needed to be convinced. She had wanted a more modern house, a house closer to what they were used to in Belgium.

“But daddy was smart,” he teased his mother affectionately.

Her father convinced her that it was a remarkable city and that the house was right in the middle of it. He also assured her that the house could be modified to make it a bit more modern, without detracting from the historic quality and character.

For example, the wide plank hardwood floors and fireplace in the living room would be original. There are several fireplaces in the house which have been cleverly closed. The Levins haven’t been able to tell if they are in working order, but an inspector can certainly take a closer look to determine their condition.

The house is designated by a historic sign reading: Oliver C. Wait, 1859. Although the surname “Waite” – with an “e” – is still visible in town today, Mr. Oliver Wait does not appear so known. The Levins couldn’t glean much from his relationship with the house or the city. Welcome Home has surveyed the Old Lyme Historical Society on the history of the house.

Parts of the house date back to when it was a “new construction”. Over time the house has been updated and modernized. The Levins not only renovated the house, they also extended it.

“When they bought it, they immediately did a renovation,” said Doug Levin. “They loved the house. It was quaint, with such charm, but they needed more space. It was quite small and they needed more laid back space.”

They took the opportunity to reinvent the kitchen, to make it more refined, more modern, as Ms. Levin had hoped.

The Levins have benefited from the fruits of the labor of previous residents in the yard. Avid gardeners themselves, they have also planted many specimens over the years, for color and texture. They also added two lovely patios next to the house – a main patio next to the kitchen, then a private patio next to a master bedroom suite on the first floor.

There is also a shed in the courtyard. It currently has no electricity or heat, but it could also be added to reinvent the space – storage space at a working writer’s home or another creative studio, they suggested.

Asked about the quality of life in Old Lyme, Doug Levin compared the town to a Norman scene in Rockwell, with a “real downtown”.

“It’s far enough from the big cities, not to feel like you’re in the suburbs. It’s old fashioned, with an ice cream parlor and a small library. My parents loved living here. My dad loved getting to know everyone in the city. the street.”

The Levin family enlisted the help of Susan Malan, a real estate agent at brokerage firm William Pitt Sotheby’s Essex, to find a new owner for the property.

“5 Academy Lane is such a precious home and property,” said Malan. “From the moment you see it, when you arrive, you feel its warmth, comfort and specialness. And all of this is more than confirmed when you walk through the door. Light, character everywhere – and all of it. in such an amazing place in old Lyme village. To the new unknown owners: You are so lucky to be the new stewards of this perfect house. “

The asking price for 5 Academy Lane, Old Lyme, is $ 639,900.

Property: 5 Academy Lane, Old Lyme

Bedrooms: 3

Baths: 3

Area in square feet: 2,076

Area: 0.67 acre

Asking price: $ 639,900

Agent of the seller: Susan A. Malan, William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, Essex brokerage firm; Office: (860) 767-7488; Portable: (617) 645-4392; [email protected]


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