ROWAYTON — Leslie Cavanaugh remembers when Hurricane Irene hit New England in August 2011.
Boats washed ashore near her home at 50 1/2 Roton Ave.
“I had at least 100 neighbors in my house because I had the generator,” she said.
People were charging their phones, smiling and conversing amid the chaos. “And that’s just how it is,” she said of the community. “It’s a homey feeling.”
Cavanaugh built her 6,000-square-foot home almost 18 years ago. It sits on 0.73 acres of land and has five bedrooms and four bathrooms.
Cavanaugh said there were many benefits that came with building her own home.
“You pick the way you want things — the size of the house, the colors, the granite — everything is personalized,” she said. “It’s a personal touch. It has an open floor plan, so the next buyer can do what they want.”
Cavanaugh was the general contractor throughout the almost three-year process and hired local electricians and builders to help with effort. She started building the house in 2006 and moved into the house in 2008.
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A longtime boater, she was attracted to Rowayton’s waterfront area and said the ability to walk to the train station, Pinkney Park, Bayley Beach, the community center and other points of interest were enticing.
Rowayton also offers scenic bike paths, a kayak and paddle board launch and shopping options, she said.
There was a cottage on the property when she purchased the land almost two decades ago. She rented that to college students but after they moved on, she tore the cottage down and built her contemporary colonial home.
Although the house sits in the heart of Rowayton, the entrance is set back from the road, up a long driveway. It has two laundry rooms, two fireplaces, a full attic and 10 closets. The basement is 1,400 square-feet and has two game rooms and Cavanaugh said it could easily turn into an exercise room.
Each bedroom has a hose which connects to a larger central vacuum in the basement — so vacuuming the bedrooms is convenient.
The master suite has a jacuzzi and heated floors. There’s a private in-law suite on the side of the house — and ownership of the house comes with private beach rights.
“Rarely if ever do you find a home with almost an acre of property, a three-car garage, ample parking, a private in-law suite and this much privacy in the center of Rowayton,” said Julie Vanderblue of the Vanderblue Team.
Vanderblue’s team is helping Cavanaugh sell the house because she’s looking to downsize. The first floor is 18 feet above sea level, meaning no flood insurance is necessary.
Not many Rowayton houses have basements, said Sonia Byrnes, Vanderblue’s colleague.
Cavanaugh said she’ll miss Rowayton’s wine tastings, concerts, play groups, summer events, and the close-knit community.