saint simons Summer vacation is winding to a close, but when we found this beach cottage on Saint Simons Island, Georgia, we knew we could always start thinking about next summer.

We don’t often hear about the gorgeous properties located in Georgia’s East Coast, but for folks looking for a beach home without the crowds, Realtors in the know will frequently point them in that direction.

Although Tybee Island and Jekyll Island tend to be more well-known, Saint Simons has a lot to offer — marshlands, waterways, beaches, shopping, golfing, fishing, kayaking, and dolphin watching can easily fill summer days. (more…)

Every Sunday for a year, we’ve looked at some incredible historical shelters, but this week we hop the pond to England to take in a stunning church conversion.

Listed by Mount and Minster, this church is located in the village of Cold Hanworth, and was built in 1861. Originally All Saints Church, it was built by J Croft of Islington for Commodore Peter Cracroft, and also served as a memorial for his late father.

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WrightIt’s not uncommon to find a midcentury modern, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home that embraces nature — after all, that was pretty much Wright’s forte. And this week’s historical shelter definitely embraces that yen for nature the famous architect’s work inspires.

And even better, it belongs to a SecondShelters.com reader. Pat Wood wrote us this month to tell us about her home — Kittatinny Manor, located along Eastern Pennsylvania’s Kittatinny Ridge, which is part of the Appalachian mountain range.

“Our home is a Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced, environmental, and eco-friendly poured concrete home on 15 wooded Clean and Green acres,” Wood said. “This is a nature lover’s paradise or for someone looking for some seclusion.”

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new hampshireOnce a stagecoach stop between Concord, New Hampshire, and Hanover, Mink Pond Farm has a rich history of making travelers feel welcome — and as the current owners list the house, they think the next owners could return the spacious home to its original, hospitable roots.

Built in 1850 in Wilmot, New Hampshire, the home has maintained its period charm while still offering all the upgrades of 21st-century living.

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The Isaac Heffron House, a two-story Victorian in the East End Historic District of Galveston, has seen a lot since it was built in 1890 — thanks in part to the occupants who called it home over the years.

Isaac Heffron immigrated to the U.S. from Wales and settled in Galveston in 1860. He worked on the docks, making his way eventually to a career in construction, winning bids with the city of Galveston for a railroad and trestle bridge that connected the city to LaPorte. (more…)

EllwoodCraig Ellwood wasn’t always Craig Ellwood, but the Clarendon, Texas, native became renown under that moniker as he made a name as a premiere modernist architect. His homes, often considered works of art (and rightly so), are perfect blends of spare, midcentury German Bauhaus architecture and the more informal California sensibilities of the state he called home longer than the Lone Star State.

Born John Burke in 1922, his family left Texas and found themselves in Los Angeles by the mid-1930s. After joining the Army Air Corps in the forties, he, his brother, and two friends set up shop as contractors under the name Craig Ellwood. Not long after, Burke changed his name to Craig Ellwood, and began night classes in structural engineering.

He opened his own firm, and began to make a name for himself. Despite never having a license as an architect, he was a sought-after guest lecturer and continued to create residential and commercial masterpieces until he closed his shop in 1977 and moved to Italy. He died in 1992.

One of those masterpieces is The Smith House in Los Angeles. Built in 1958, it was restored this year under American Institute of Architects fellow (and former Ellwood associate) Jim Tyler’s guidance. It is now on the market. (more…)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Coonley House: Second Floor Living Room (Main House)

Exploring the history of a 100-year-old house is interesting. Exploring the history of a 105-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright structure leaves “interesting” in the rearview mirror. To begin, Avery Coonley and Queene Ferry-Coonley were both heirs to fortunes, but it was Mrs. Coonley who purchased the 10-acre parcel in Riverside, Illinois, and engaged Wright as architect. Mr. Coonley was said to have been interested in a Georgian-Colonial house. That the estate is called the Avery Coonley House, instead of the Queene Coonley House, reflects the woman’s subordinate role of the era.

The house is actually an estate comprising several buildings totaling over 9,000 square feet. Flashing forward for a second, it’s important to understand that in 1952 the property was in the crosshairs of developer Arnold Skow who wanted to demolish the property and put up 14 ranch homes. A deal was reached to split the main residence in half with a firewall and sell off the gardener’s cottage, stable and playhouse as separate residences. Compared to Wright’s brilliance, the resulting ranch homes have all the majesty of a Taco Bell next to Versailles (one is currently for sale).

Two of Wright’s original compound are currently on the market.

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For $350,000 and some elbow grease, someone is going to snag this bed-and-breakfast ready historical shelter on the way to Toledo Bend Lake in Shelbyville, Texas. It’s just a matter of when, and who, not if.

The Bickham House, now on the state registry of historic homes, was built around 1885 after the original home (built in 1850) was razed by fire. The builder, Frederick Lee Bickham, was the stepson of longtime Shelbyville resident J.M. Crawford.

By 1972, the land and the homes on it had passed to N.O. Thomas, Jr., who restored the main home and renamed the historical shelter “Welcome Hall.”

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