After my talk in Raleigh (May 19th), a woman named Lydia introduced herself to me (and purchased several of my books!). She said that she had family members living in a fine Sears House in Chapel Hill.
That was puzzling, because I had driven through Chapel Hill the day before, and I had only seen Aladdin kit homes, no Sears.
However, while in Chapel Hill, I’d become flustered by the vast amounts of pedestrian traffic (and non-thinking students stepping off curbs right in front of vehicles) and the trees: Massive, leafy, bushy, house-obstructing trees.
Within 30 minutes of arriving into Chapel Hill, I abandoned my search and returned to my hotel in Raleigh.
Had I missed a Sears House in Chapel Hill? It was a distinct possibility.
Soon after I arrived back home to Norfolk, Lydia contacted me and emailed a photo of this fine Sears House in Chapel Hill.
The photo she emailed was a beautiful Sears Ardara.
I’ve not seen many Ardaras in my travels. In fact, I’ve only seen four: One in Zanesville, Ohio, two in Elgin, Illinois and one in Crystal Lake, Illinois. And soon, I hope to visit this Ardara in Chapel Hill!
To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.
To read about Buster Keaton’s kit house, click here.
The Ardara first appeared in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.
In both the 1921 and 1928 catalogs, it was offered with and without the attached garage. This is from the 1928 catalog, and if you compare it with the image above, you'll see the price actually had dropped by 1928.
This is one of my favorite descriptions (taken from the 1928 catalog). The Ardara is "notable for its contrast to the commonplace...pleasingly combines Oriental and Occidental architecture." And the garage has "the same treatment as the house." Awesome!
Notice that it has a "Music Room." In the 1921 version, this room was identified as a den. In 1928, this could have a couple meanings. The phonograph and the radio were all the rage in the late 1920s, and in some of these old floorplans, you'll see this identified as a "radio room," or "space for phonograph." Or it might have been a designated space for the family piano. In this time period, it was expected that most people would own a piano.
The Sears Ardara in Chapel Hill. What a beauty! Note the oversized cornice returns. This is one (of many) eye-catching features on this Colonial-style house. (This photo is copyright 2012 Paige Warren and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)
And here's a picture of the same Ardara in the 1920s, soon after it was built. The small gable (at the top of the roof) was original to the house, and the dormer was added in the 1950s. (This photo is courtesy of the Wade family and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)
The Ardara, soon after it came into the Wade family (February 1944). The dormer (shown in the contemporary photo above) was added in the 1950s to create living space on the second floor. (This photo is courtesy of the Wade family and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)
The Ardara, as seen in the 1921 catalog.
An Ardara in Crystal Lake, IL.
A very sad Ardara in Elgin, IL. (This photo was taken in 2003.)
To learn more about what I found in Chapel Hill, click here.
Look at the abundance of Sears Homes I found in Raleigh, NC.
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