After raising their five children in a four-bedroom, center-hall Colonial on a lake in Guilford, Jessica and Bill Rowen were ready for a change. Describing themselves as “forever house hunters,” they were always looking at properties on Long Island Sound, but also toyed with the idea of renovating their existing home. One day, after looking at a shorefront house in Guilford, they went for a walk around that same neighborhood and came upon a dilapidated, yet beautiful, New England-style cottage. Situated in a private, coastal setting, the direct waterfront home looked to be the perfect retreat. But it wasn’t for sale.
“About six months later, we had given up and figured we’d just stay in this home,” says Bill, noting that they were trying to find a house in their budget with a direct waterfront while keeping the sense of space that they appreciated in their current home. “Then, I was flipping through the paper, and I saw that the cottage had come up under foreclosure, asking an ‘as is’ price, cash offers only, no contingencies. So, Jess and I took a ride down, and as soon as we got there, we said, ‘this is it.’ But we knew that there was a risk that we may not be able to build on it because it’s a difficult piece of property.”