Seeking to preserve the area’s historic housing treasures, Lee County is offering a total of $50,000 for endangered structures for projects such as structural work, roofs, sidings, foundations that are in big need of repair.   

The buildings must be at least 50 years old and designated as a historic site.

The Estero Historic Society wants to preserve their first schoolhouse, built in 1904, but renovation is estimated at $80,000.  Matching funds would be sought.  The Schoolhouse would be used for tours. The school house and the historic Hall-Collier house were moved to the Estero Community Park using a $100,000 grant from the local College of Life Foundation.

For an application, as the funds can be split, call the Lee County Planning Division at  229-513-8118.  Applications are due by December 3, 2010.



Sooner or later, somebody had to do it. 

The 27-story 400,000 sq ft billion dollar skyscraper in Mumbai has India tycoon Mukesh Ambani, whose net worth is estimated at about $50BB, as its homeowner.  Ambani is Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, a Fortune 500 company.  This purchase is not exactly “a stretch” for him, as his net worth ranks him in the top 5 richest people in the world category.  The building is the height of a 60-story residential residence, resulting in very high ceilings on each floor.  It has three helipads, a parking garage and 600 staff members.  He named the building, “Antilia,” after a mythical island in the Atlantic Ocean.

The first 6 floors will be for only parking with space for 168 “imported” cars.  The 7th floor will hold a service and maintenance unit, with in-house service center for their cars.  An Entertainment Center that seats 50 and has a mini-theatre will be on the 8th floor.  Rooftop balconies will hold gardens, some terraced.  This answers the question, “How does your garden grow?”

The 9th floor, a “refuge” floor will be used for rescue emergencies, and two floors above will have health facilities for athletics, a swimming pool and the latest gym equipment.  Two-storied glass-fronted apartments will be for Ambiani guests and another refuge floor for mechanical works will reside above these apartments.  There are 9 elevators from the ground floor up.

The 4 top floors with a view of the Arabian Sea and the city’s skyine will be for 53-year old Mukesh Ambiani, his wife Neeta, their 3 children and her mother. 

Reports state that the materials being used and different designs of each floor have made costs run high. There has been criticism of such flaunting of wealth in a poor country with low-income, a food-deficit and low nutritional and health indicators.  However, consider that Ambani’s construction and staffing employment numbers are pouring money back into the economy and providing jobs.   

An asymmetric stack of glass, steel and tiles with a four-storey hanging garden, note that Ambani's new home has been built, reports say, with local materials as far as possible. According to Forbes magazine, the plants save energy by absorbing sunlight, making it easier to keep the interior cool in summer and warm in winter.  See YouTube with photos of the house.



No doubt the sense of history surrounding these two homes in the downtown Boynton Beach area will add to the charm of these restaurants that were recently approved by the City Commissioners acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency board.  These changes are made to help restore Ocean Avenue’s identity to bring shoppers to the area to stroll, eat and buy.  When I95 was built in the 1970’s the Ocean Avenue area was cut off and has been struggling for an identity ever since.

The two-story Magnuson House at 211 East Ocean Avenue was built in about 1910 by a Swedish immigrant and farmer, Oscar Sten Magnuson.  His wife, Eunice Benson Magnuson was one of the first town clerks.  It will be leased to the restaurant owners with an exclusive option to buy the property for its appraised value of $340,000 after the first year of operation.  The new Oscar’s Restaurant will be an organic cafĂ© serving lunch and dinner seven days a week. 

The Ruth Jones Cottage at 201 NE !st Street would be moved to the southwest corner of East Ocean Avenue and Southeast 4th Street later this year.  The restaurant owner is asking for no rent the first year.  It would become the 201 Trading Post, a combined eat-in restaurant and market for prepared meals-to-go and catering service.  Built in1940, it was the home of Ruth Jones until about two years ago.  With her late husband Mason, a farmer and member of a Boynton pioneer-family, they raised five children there.  The new location would be next to an existing public parking lot with 21 parking spaces. 

Also on the drawing board are an entryway with a distinctive city logo at the marina end of Ocean Avenue and an outdoor amphitheater on the grounds of the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum in an area with mature oak trees and a natural bowl setting to be used for performances. 



The sumptuous Jacobean Greenwich mansion, also known as Dunellen Hall, is 21,987 sq ft and 40 beautiful acres, on the market for 800 days with periodic price reductions.   It remains one of the most expensive houses sold in the area.  The mansion is hidden from the road by hedges and a stone wall, and it is topped by a wire-mesh fence.  Address is 521 Round Hill Road.

Distant Long Island Sound views are one of the features.   Beautiful iron gates open to classic stone walls and the driveway is lined with ornate light posts.  The outside pool is 70’ long.  The 1,125 sq ft living room is 45’ long and has a massive carved stone fireplace, tracery ceiling, wide-board teak floors.  There is an 86’ long gallery and reception hall.  The library features a 15 C. fireplace mantle.  Featured are marble floors and limestone walls.  There are 7 upstairs bedroom suites, 6-bedroom staff area, and brick cottages on the property hold 6 more bedrooms.

The master suite has an onyx bath and wine cellar with tasting room.  The indoor pool is 52’ long and has living room areas next to it.  There is a $1mm dance floor, installed by the Helmsleys who purchased the property in 1983 for $11mm.

Both Helmsleys are deceased, and scandal-ridden.  The funds go to the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.  Reports say that the home was purchased by a Trustee for a Greenwich Law Firm.  The home was built for steel and banking tycoon Daniel Reid’s daughter in 1918 for $1mm.  The property was the setting for a 1968 movie, ''A Lovely Way to Die,'' starring Kirk Douglas.



What we Americans refer to as a vacation cottage is called a holiday home by the Brits.  Charming historic home rentals, some on large estates, are found on the National Trust Holiday Cottages website that can accommodate from two people up and are available for short breaks, weekends away and holiday periods in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
South of Birmingham, northwest of London, there is an 18 C. brick built house on the Brockhampton estate, The Oast House.  Spacious and an ideal retreat located deep in the heart of an “unspoilt countryside.”  Featured are a wood-burning stove in the dining room and sitting room, 3 bedrooms on the first floor and two on the 2nd floor.

 South of London is Emley House, a substantial farmsted in an idyllic rural setting, that is largely unaltered since the 19th C. and retains a unique charm and character.  Rooms are spacious, there is a traditional country kitchen and several large fireplaces.  5 bedrooms, 2 baths.  Large meadow to rear of cottage.

Mustard Pot cottage has a large fenced garden and an octagonal shaped sitting room with bedroom above.  There is direct access from the cottage to acres of park and woodland on the Felbrigg estate. 2 bedrooms, one reached by narrow and winding stairs.  Passing cars may be heard from the nearby road.

Have you dreamt of living in a castle, high up on the cliffs with regal ocean views?  Step out through Gothic arches. Not for children under 12 because of proximity to sheer cliffs.  Walk through the archways at Doyden Castle and peer down from the citadel to the valley below.  Built in 1830, it was a pleasure house of an infamous and wealthy bon-viveur.

You can browse another 180 historic holiday homes accommodating up to 16 people at Landmark Trust.



Before air conditioning, many features were incorporated into now historic homes to deal with decreasing the heat within the home during summer and other hot months that today are considered “green”.
Deep covered porches and wide eaves sheltered main buildings from the harsh sun, reduced heat gain and protected interior furnishings from fading while giving a sheltered space to sit out of the sun and enjoy cooling breezes when they could be found.  Window awnings helped keep interior rooms cool by protection from direct sunlight.  Between 1870 and 1930, fabric awnings made of canvas were attached to a fixed of retractable metal frame, available in colors and patterns for the homeowners to choose.  In the 1940’s metal awnings and Bahama shutters were common.

Operable windows were usually covered with full-height screens to keep out mosquitos.  All exterior doors had screen doors, allowing breezes in and keeping bugs out.  Many that were not sheltered by a porch had covered overhangs.

On upper floors, there were “sleeping porches” with either rows of casement windows or screened openings to capture as much air movement as possible, and cots were set out for hot night relief.

Will homebuilders of today consider adding awnings, Bahama shutters and porches in front and back? With the new mantra, “CHEAP IS THE NEW BLACK,” we realize that our earlier residents would have found these methods good ways to reduce today’s air conditioning bills. 




The mansion is located on Field Point Circle in Greenwich, CT in a gated community affording privacy, and has 6 bedrooms and 9 full and 7 half bathrooms.  Sitting alongside Long Island Sound, this renovated stone residence has 340 ft of shoreline with magnificent vistas of Greenwich Point and harbor islands.

An outstanding feature of the mansion is the fabulous ballroom that turns into a natatorium, which features an elaborate mosaic floor that lowers with the touch of a button to showcase the indoor swimming pool. 

The 35-foot high grand atrium gallery with marble floor serves also as entry to the first-floor rooms.  Panoramic views are the joy of the semi-circular, window-walled living room.  The main and garden levels feature a library/gallery. 

Included on the grounds are pool, guest house and guest cottage, park-like grounds and a historic Roebling 175 ft suspension bridge.  There is a boat dock and Deck/Patio.  Five fireplaces and eight garage bays are on the property.