NOW Can We Stop With The “Open Floor Plan” Nonsense?

May 1st, 2019 Sears Homes 9 comments

There are so many reasons to loathe the Open Floor Plan concept. HGTV (Houses Getting Totally Vandalized) is the most egregious offender, encouraging every old-house homeowner to rip out a home’s interior walls, and decimate its historicity, charm and appeal.

Not to mention, eviscerating its structural integrity.

Recently, a 100-year-old bungalow in St. Lake City made national news when someone improperly removed a supporting wall.

Old houses are very overbuilt and can endure all manner of abuses that would take down a more modern structure, but even sturdy old bungalows have their limits.

If you want an old house, buy an old house. If you want a new house, please stay away from 100-year-old bungalows. They’re fast becoming an endangered species.

The original article on this house is here.

To read more about why the Open Floor Plan is a plague-spot on America’s housing, click here.

If you enjoyed this blog, please share the link!

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Turns out, those interior walls actually have a purpose.

Turns out, those interior walls actually have a purpose.

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Open Floor Plans are a plague-spot on American housing.

Open Floor Plans are a plague-spot on American housing.

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Here's one way to bring more light into the house.

Here's one way to bring more light into the house.

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But probably not the BEST way.

But probably not the BEST way.

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Despite its personal suffering, it's still hanging on to life.

Despite its personal suffering, it's still hanging on to life.

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The original article on this house is here.

To read more about why the Open Floor Plan is a plague-spot on America’s housing, click here.

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Three Years - and a Request for Your Prayers

April 18th, 2019 Sears Homes 12 comments

Three years ago today, it happened. I still can’t look at pictures of him without bursting into tears and becoming physically unwell.

As my friends know, I bled out, had a heart attack and died on September 5th and everything changed after that. I saw heaven, and I talked with the angels, and I was in the presence of The Holy Spirit.

Upon my return from heaven, I was hospitalized and in those first days, I was swarmed by the angels. They told me that my soul had been restored (Ps. 23) and that The Bad Thing and all its etceteras had been “encapsulated” and couldn’t hurt me anymore. They said, “Yes, it happened and it’s going to be something that changed your life but it can’t cause you any more harm. The pain of this horror has been encapsulated. You’re safe and you’re free. Go enjoy the remnant of your time on earth.”

The repercussions from that heavenly encounter continue to unfold with every passing hour.

Yesterday, I had my first radio interview on this “temporary death experience” and while I was a bit nervous, it felt mighty good to share the good news on the week that includes “Good Friday.”

It’s my own story of resurrection and restoration. And I am profoundly grateful to have visited heaven, and to be able to report back, it’s as beautiful as the poets and mystics and disciples have promised.

Today, I ask for your prayers of protection, and that my thoughts remain on the things of God, and the blessings of divine Love, and not the horrors of one grisly event.

And please leave a comment below! :)

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Many thanks to Sue for sending me this lovely inspirational message. It touched my heart and lifts my spirits every day.

Many thanks to Sue for sending me this lovely inspirational message. It touched my heart and made me smile. It also lifts my spirits every day.

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To listen to Rose’s 90+ minute talk on her near-death experience, click here.

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Ridin’ Around in My Automobile…

March 15th, 2019 Sears Homes 6 comments

It’s utterly shocking how much I’m enjoying having no encumbrances. My house sold and closed two weeks ago, so there are no taxes to pay and no mortgages to worry about and no trees that need trimming and no gutters that must be cleaned.

I’m currently living with a friend in the Midwest, and it’s mighty nice. I buy a few groceries and turn them into tasty meals, in exchange from a quiet, warm place to stay. It’s a sweet deal and seems to be working out very well.

My friend was living alone, after having been married for many years, so this is a win/win for both of us.

In a few days, I’ll visit family and friends in Ohio and I’m looking forward to that, too.

For someone who spent an entire career writing about “home,” it’s surprising how much I enjoy living this nomadic life.

To read about what a startling transformation this is, click here.

The Midwest is full of beautiful landscapes, such as this.

The Midwest is full of beautiful landscapes, such as this.

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An Important Anniversary…

March 5th, 2019 Sears Homes 4 comments

Today marks an anniversary for me, and a very important one. Six months ago, on September 5th, 2018, I went into a hospital for a minor medical procedure (a “lady parts” thing). When I stood up (in the recovery room) to get dressed, I was bleeding profusely. Despite my protests, I was sent home. I wasn’t home very long before I asked my friend to summon an ambulance.

I was bleeding to death, and I knew it.

By the time I was transported to a local ER, I’d probably lost 2-3 pints of blood. The ER apparently didn’t believe me, because I was still talking (albeit slowly). Perhaps 30 minutes after admission, I lost consciousness and my blood pressure went to 32/25 (according to Milton, who remained by my side while I was in the ER cubicle).

The next time the automatic bp machine searched for a blood pressure, there was none. I had flat-lined. That’s when the excitement began. The medical staff came running down the hall and shooed Milton out into the hallway.

For more than 10 minutes, I was gone. Fact is, I was having a wonderful time!  :D

I “woke up” when my heart stopped and this experience of “dying” changed me forever. After returning to this world, I was transported by ambulance (really fast!) to a local hospital. Whilst there, I had four days to lie perfectly still and think about my life. I realized that I had been miserable since my husband’s suicide. And, in those four days, I was in the company of “too many angels to count,” who literally swarmed me, sang to me, answered my questions and kept me company.

It was during this time that I realized that I needed to make many changes in my life.

One of those changes was a move to a small town in the Midwest.

I’ve been here for five days, and even though moving long-distance was a herculean effort, it’s the best decision that I ever made. I’m living in a friend’s house and I have an entire floor to myself. It’s bliss. I don’t recall a time in my life when I have ever been happier.

For now, I’m going to focus on enjoying life and appreciating the beauty of nature, the love of friends, and the pure joy of remembering my time in heaven.

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Living in a small town in the Midwest has its advantages. I'm enjoying the snow and the natural beauty that is all around me.

Living in a small town in the Midwest has its advantages. I'm enjoying the snow and the natural beauty that is all around me. I'm still adjusting to the cold. It was 2 degrees yesterday morning!

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My room is wonderful, and there are some people who might think it odd that a 59-year-old woman is so content in a room with a private bath, but it suits me very well. I love it here.

My room is wonderful, and there are some people who might think it odd that a 59-year-old woman is so content in a room with a private bath, but it suits me very well. I love it here. And I brought my own pillows and comforter!

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Read the prior blog here.

Rose recently gave a talk in Williamsburg, Virginia. Listen to it here.

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My New Life…

March 1st, 2019 Sears Homes 8 comments

As of yesterday, my new life in the Midwest has begun. I’m now living in a bedroom (with a private bath) and there’s even space for Seabiscuit (my Prius C) in the garage. For the first time in a long time, I awakened this morning feeling only a deep settled peace and calm.

Sometimes, I wonder why I waited three years to get the heck out of Hampton Roads (Southeastern Virginia) where my husband ended his life, and now I realize, it took me three years to get the emotional resources and spiritual courage and financial wisdom to make such a draconian move.

After buying my little house in Suffolk 15 months ago, I frequently said that I’d remain there until I died - and I did just that. Subsequent to a “minor” surgical procedure, I died and was resuscitated (or as Dale says, “heaven sent you back!”).

After returning from heaven in September 2018, I sold off or gave away many long-cherished possessions, sold my new car back to the dealership and listed my house for sale. (On September 5, 2018, I died and had no vitals for 10+ minutes.)

Honestly, “dying” was the best thing that ever happened to me, and it gave me a new outlook on life. In fact, it continues to transform my life.

It’s my goal to write a book about the near-death experience.  After that, I’m not sure where life will take me, but I know - it’s going to be wonderful.

To see Rose’s talk on Saturday (in Williamsburg), click here.

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Leaving a rest stop in Virginia, I paused to snap a photo. My little car was loaded down with my worldly possessions.

Leaving a rest stop in Virginia, I paused to snap a photo. My little car was loaded down with my worldly possessions.

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Driving west on I-64, I encountered an ice storm at the Indiana border. Seabiscuit behaved well, but the driver was a little unnerved. And despite my massive organizational efforts - I forgot to pack an ice scraper!

Driving west on I-64, I encountered an ice storm at the Indiana border. Seabiscuit behaved well, but the driver was a little unnerved. And despite my massive organizational efforts - I forgot to pack an ice scraper!

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The World’s Most Beautiful Kitchen…

February 21st, 2019 Sears Homes 7 comments

When I moved into my current home in Suffolk, it was my intention to stay in this house until I breathed my last. And it did work out that way - sort of. On September 5th, 2018, I was carried out of my house and transported to a local ER when - despite the efforts of the medical staff - I bled out, had a heart attack and died.

The heart attack had nothing to do with my heart - except basic hydraulics. When there’s not enough hydraulic fluid in the system, the pump shuts down.

When my heart stopped, I popped out of my 59-year-old body like toast out of a toaster. As I floated away, I had the time of my life - literally. Nonetheless, as my buddy Dales says, heaven sent me back.

Subsequently, I came to realize that I wasn’t living my life the way God intended. I had been miserable. Lying in the hospital bed for five days, I had time to think and reflect and I decided that I had to make some big changes. And I did.

Now I’m planning to move to the Midwest, and as part of this new life, I spend way too much time looking at Midwestern houses for sale, and I have found my dream kitchen.

Enjoy the pictures below, and if you are in the Williamsburg area on Saturday, come to my talk about my “temporary death experience” at 11:00. More information here.

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This is an actual image of my heart when I ran low on hydraulic fluid.

This is an actual image of my heart when I ran low on hydraulic fluid.

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Abso-galootely - the most perfect kitchen that I've seen in my house-hunting zillow-loving searches.

Abso-galootely - the most perfect kitchen that I've seen in my house-hunting zillow-loving searches.

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From every angle - perfection.

From every angle - perfection.

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Whoever designed this kitchen should have received the Nobel Peace Price for "Perfection in Design".

Whoever designed this kitchen should have received the Nobel Peace Price for "Perfection in Design".

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The exterior of the house that contains the World's Most Perfect Condition™.

The exterior of the house that contains the World's Most Perfect Kitchen™.

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Link to the house shown above.

Click here to see another blog on beautiful kitchens (of the 1950s).

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Thus Begins The New Chapter…

February 7th, 2019 Sears Homes 4 comments

I died. But apparently, it was only a “temporary death experience.” I’m hesitant to use the word “near-death experience” because I was good and dead. No vitals for more than 10 minutes. Seriously, completely gone. Kapoot. Out-of-town with no forwarding address.

Good times. (Actually, it really was a great time!)

I’ve shared the wonderful story with a handful of friends, but now I’ve been invited to share this story with a group in Williamsburg, Virginia. I’m in the midst of moving out of the area, and I don’t know when I’ll be back. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you might want to attend.

The talk is Saturday, February 23rd at 11:00, at the Williamsburg Mennonite Church, 7800 Croaker Rd (near the library). Seating is limited, so come early!

In the meantime, I’m scurrying to complete a book that offers details on this heavenly preview.

And in case you’re a faithful reader of this blog, this explains (in large part) the many, draconian life-style changes. Once you get a view of what’s coming, nothing on earth seems quite the same.

Want to learn more about what happens when a loved one has an NDE? Click here.

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More sunflowers

I didn't see this in heaven, but I do hope that when I get through that door, and see what awaits, that it's going to look a lot like a sunflower field in Alabama.

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Want to buy a book? Best hurry. :D  Two titles are now sold out and “Finding The Houses That Sears Built” will soon be gone too.

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The Final Touches of a Career…

February 3rd, 2019 Sears Homes 9 comments

When I started the “Sears Kit Homes” group on Facebook in 2009 (thanks to Rachel for remembering!), I dragged 12 friends into the group just so it wouldn’t look so pitiful. As the years passed, the group grew in numbers and I was gobsmacked when we passed the “1,000 members” mark.

In Fall 2018, when Sears started circling the drain, interest in the old kit homes was renewed, and I was doing 3-4 interviews per week (with the media) and that’s when membership in the Facebook group exploded.

As of today, it has 3,234 members and is still growing by leaps and bounds.

Yesterday, I mentioned (within the group) that I didn’t have many books left, and when these went, that was the end of it. Within hours, I sold more than 50 books (several different titles) and stayed up last night until 2:30 getting them packaged and ready for Monday’s mail.

As I said in a prior blog, I’ll always love the old kit homes, and I’ll still spin my head around when a pretty one passes me by, but the days of staying up until the wee hours inscribing, signing and packaging books are behind me.

Soon, I’ll be packing up my house and moving to the Midwest. Perhaps once I’m settled, I’ll revisit the question but for now, I’m done.

There are still 18 books left in my basement. It’d be swell to sell those last few before I head out! (Hint, hint!)

To buy the book, click here.

Join us on Facebook!

And if this book has brought you a blessing, please leave a comment below.

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In 2011, I snapped this photo in Edwardsville, IL and it still takes my breath away. I was there to do an architectural survey, and I stumbled upon this view and it reminded me of why I love the Midwest. I'm seriously considering moving to Edwardsville when I get to the Midwest.

In 2011, I snapped this photo in Edwardsville, IL and it still takes my breath away. I was there to do an architectural survey, and I stumbled upon this view and it reminded me of why I love the Midwest. Edwardsville has become a beautiful community, filled with shops and history and bucolic beauty. It may be where I land.

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The group now has more than 3,000 members and is still growing.

The group now has more than 3,000 members and is still growing.

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Saturday night, I stayed up until 2:30 am, signing, inscribing and packaging books. I'm still not sure how I'll get these to the post office.

Saturday night, I stayed up until 2:30 am, signing, inscribing and packaging books. I'm still not sure how I'll get these to the post office.

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First printed in 2002, this book has taken me to many wonderful places. It's been a fun run, but for now - for the first time in 17 years - it will be out of print. It would take another book to explain the many blessings of this book but in short, it was published just as my mother died and my marriage of 24 years came to an end. This book (and the grace of God) not only saved me, but it transformed my life and gave me a purpose. Best of all, it introduced me to hundreds of wonderful people, some of whom became lifelong friends.

First printed in 2002, this book has taken me to many wonderful places. It's been a fun run, but for now - for the first time in 17 years - it will be out of print. It would take another book to explain the many blessings of this book but in short, it was published just as my mother died and my marriage of 24 years came to an end. This book (and the grace of God) not only saved me, but transformed my life and gave me a purpose. Best of all, it introduced me to hundreds of wonderful people, some of whom became lifelong friends.

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Want to learn how to identify kit homes? Click here.

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Blame Canada…

January 31st, 2019 Sears Homes 7 comments

Every now and then, I get requests to ship my book out of the U.S., and typically, I refund the buyer’s money (go Paypal), and call it a day.

But last month, this nice fellow talked me into shipping a couple books to Canada, and I hesitantly did so, explaining that the postage would be a lot more than the $5 charged at the website.

He agreed to pay the extra shipping cost, which turned out to be $25.15! And - this is much worse - I couldn’t “click and ship” and send the books out via my mail box, but I had to peel off the bunny slippers, put on real shoes and GO INTO THE POST OFFICE and engage with society.

Unfortunately, Nice Fellow couldn’t get quite manage the extra funds via paypal, so he sent me a money order for $25.15 in American dollars.

Last week, I took that money order to my local bank (again, sans bunny slippers), and I think there would have been less commotion if I’d handed the teller a hastily scribbled note with the words “Give me all your money now.”

After much consternation, I was given $25.15 in cash, per my request.

Today, the branch manager called.

“M’am, did you know that there’s a $50 fee for cashing an international money order?”

I replied as one might expect.

Fortunately, the bank waived the fee this time but it cements my theory that shipping anything internationally is simply not worth the effort.

It just made me appreciate Paypal even more.

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My books are shipped right from my house which is very convenient. Here's a stack going out in yesterday's mail.

My books are shipped right from my house which is very convenient. Here's a stack going out in yesterday's mail. No more international sales for moi!

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Not a lot of these left anyway!

Not a lot of these left anyway!

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To learn more about Sears kit homes, click here.

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The End of an Era…

January 24th, 2019 Sears Homes 11 comments

Sears appears to be going out of business, and in a few months, my little book business will follow suit.

In 1999, I started working on a book about Sears kit homes. In early 2002, it was self-published, and I used 50% of my net worth to produce 1,000 copies. In 2004, I did a comprehensive revision.

That fun little niche book changed my life in so many ways, and all of them good. Suddenly, I was “The Author” and was treated with much respect and admiration by many lovely people.

By 2004, I’d appeared on PBS History Detectives, A&E’s Biography, CBS Sunday Morning News, and my little book even made it to Jeopardy in the Summer of 2004. In print, the story of my unusual career had been featured in countless newspapers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, and the Dallas Morning News (and about 100 others).

Before my lectures, I’d often get invited to join a group of history lovers at a local restaurant, and even though I never could eat a bite before my talk, I enjoyed getting to know folks. At one such dinner, a woman said to me, “We’re in the midst of a celebrity!” Excitedly, I glanced around the table and whispered, “Really? Where are they?”

She laughed and said, “No, I’m talking about YOU!”

In California, a faithful reader took me aside and said, “I’m so excited to meet you. In my world, you’re a rock star!”

At a hotel in Iowa, the clerk that was checking me in extended her hand across the tall granite counter that separated us and said, “Mrs. Thornton, I’d like to shake your hand. I read about you in yesterday’s paper, and I’ve always wanted to shake the hand of a real author.” (I remember thinking, “I hope you meet a real author one day!”)

There are no words to say how much those kind words touched my heart and lifted my spirits. And now it’s time to take a step of progress to The Next Super-Dooper Thing™.

In the last 20 years, I’ve written nine books, hundreds of newspaper articles and thousands of product blurbs. (Writing product blurbs on architectural products was the most difficult writing job I ever had, but it paid the bills.)

In the last 20 years, everything has changed, and now it’s time for a new chapter. I’m not sure where I’m going, but I know it’s time for a seismic shift. I’ll still write blogs on old houses, and I’ll still turn my head when I drive past a pretty Sears House, and I’ll still sign a few books for interested enthusiasts, but the halcyon days of Sears, and Sears kit homes are in my rear-view mirror.

In a few short weeks, I will hit the road in my little red Prius C. If you’d like to meet me, and you’re somewhere between Suffolk, Virginia and St. Louis, Missouri, please leave a comment below.

You can hear Rose on a one-hour podcast (99% Invisible) here.

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Last week, I donated three boxes of Sears House ephemera and materials to the ODU Library (Norfolk, Virginia). This is the view from my windshield, as the archivist wheeled the cart from my car and into the library.

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In a few short weeks, Seabiscuit and I will be hitting the road.

In a few short weeks, Seabiscuit and I will be hitting the road.

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When my current stock of books is gone, there will be no more reprints.

When my current stock of books is gone, there will be no more reprints.

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There they go!

More than 3,000 35mm slides and a whole lot of history - going into ODU.

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Please leave a comment below!

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