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Some People Can Just Watch TV…

But I’m not one of them.

Since 1981, I’ve worked for myself, owning a series of small businesses, some of which have been successful and some of which have not.  Currently, I only have one small business (”Gentle Beam Publications”) which publishes a handful of my own titles (such as “The Houses That Sears Built”).

All of which goes to explain why my #1 favorite show on Prime-Time TV is Undercover Boss.

Thursday afternoon, I finally got around to watching an episode which aired sometime earlier in the month (episode: “Epic Employees”), when I saw a house in the background that caught my eye. I hit the pause button on the DVR and took a closer look.

Next, I pulled out an old GVT catalog and thumbed through it, looking for the cute little house with the clipped gables and three dormers.

Sure enough, I was right. The house on Undercover Boss was a Gordon Van Tine kit home, Model #620.

For several months, I’d been hoping to find this model, as I’ve never seen one, and there it was. On TELEVISION!

Do you have a GVT Model #620 in your neighborhood? If so, please send me a photo!

And please do tell me, what is it like to be able to watch TV without studying all the houses in the background?  :)

To read the next splendiferous blog, click here.

To learn more about how to identify kit homes, click here.

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house house house

The house shown in this scene from "Undercover Boss" is actually a kit home from Gordon Van Tine. What's it like to watch television without studying all the houses in the background? I do wonder about that sometimes. Strikes me as a little boring, actually!


house house

Close-up of the cute little house with the three dormers.



After seeing the house on television, I pulled up this image of GVT #620 (1927 catalog)!


house house

It was a darling little house with a good floor plan.



Note the three windows on the one side and the bay window on the side.



No doubt, it's the GVT #620 in the background. If you look close, you'll see the edge of the bay window with a shed dormer (just above the gray hair). What a fine little house!


According to the 1927 testimonial booklet (GVTs Proof of the Pudding), theres a #612 in

According to the 1927 testimonial booklet (GVT's "Proof of the Pudding"), there's a #620 in Palisades, NJ. And in this testimonial, they even give us an address!



And here's another GVT 620. This one is in Peshastin, Washington.


house house

The #620 in Peshastin was built by F. H. Tompkins.


Do you live near Peshastin or Palisades? If so, I’d love a photo!

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  1. Dale Wolicki
    May 23rd, 2013 at 18:46 | #1

    And it’s one of the rarest GVT homes! It was only offered a few years right after World War One.

    There are a lot of houses that look like the #620 but the house on TV is exact, including the bay window.

    I once thought I saw a Sears House in the background during a rerun of Gilligan’s Island.

  2. Donna
    May 23rd, 2013 at 20:06 | #2

    I found a Manchester once because it was the scene of a shooting and they showed it on the news!!

  3. May 24th, 2013 at 13:29 | #3

    @Dale Wolicki
    Dale, you are TOO funny!

    Donna, my husband tells me it’s a “handicap” to not be able to just watch TV without paying attention to all the houses that are shown.

    I’m not so sure that he’s right about that. :)

  4. Nicole
    May 24th, 2013 at 15:52 | #4

    Palisades Park is a town very close to New York City. But when I do map quest for that street I come up with nothing. I wonder if the street name is changed.

  5. May 25th, 2013 at 08:52 | #5

    That’s very interesting, Nicole. I hit the same brick wall. it’d be interesting to know what became of that fine little house.

  6. May 29th, 2013 at 19:12 | #6

    I spy a GVT #620 at 509 Palmetto Avenue in Melbourne Fla ;)

  7. May 30th, 2013 at 11:24 | #7

    @Rachel Shoemaker
    Well, how interesting! There are THREE Gordon Van Tine houses all together at that 509 Palmetto Ave address!

    I bet that empty lot had a GVT too. The corner house to the right is a Gordon Van Tine #613 (page 24 in the 1928 catalog) the garage in the back is a #107 (same catalog page 127).

    Then the #620 (that I mentioned last night - on same catalog page 25) and the house on the left is a #539 (same catalog page 102)
    Hopefully the historical society folks there will see this blog!

  8. June 23rd, 2013 at 21:58 | #8

    Huh. My 1920 house is really similar to the 620, but not quite.

    I know it’s GVT because we took out a window and it was marked. But the stairs are different.

  9. Eddie Browder
    August 22nd, 2013 at 14:26 | #9

    Sadly the Gordon Van Tine kit home #613 and garage at 501 Palmetto Ave. was demolished this morning by the family. They own the residential lot next door and a commercial lot behind the house.

    This corner lot will probably become a parking lot one day. The famous 3 GVTs in a row (4 counting the garage) is down to 2 homes. What a loss for this neighborhood, Melbourne and all interested in kit homes!

  10. Patricia
    March 28th, 2018 at 22:19 | #10

    We have lived in the GVT #620 in Peshastin WA for the past 34 years. I just now found this old photo! It’s a wonderful house.

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