Posts Tagged ‘built-in cabinets’

Permanent Furniture IV: Window Seats

December 9th, 2013 Sears Homes 3 comments

This is my fourth series on “Permanent Furniture,” a term I’d not heard until Bill Inge lent me his 1927 “Builders’ Woodwork” catalog.

And what a wonderful term it is. It defines the “built-ins” that make early 20th Century American architecture so enchanting and beautiful and practical.

Unless otherwise indicated, all images below appeared in the 1927 Builders’ Woodwork catalog.

Many thanks to Bill Inge for sharing these fun old architecture books!!

To read Part I, click here.

Click here to read Part II and Part III.

As always, please leave a comment below!



"Window seats and bookcases are very often used in combination, adding comfort to convenience."



"These niches are not intended to supplant bookcases..." In other words, we know that you're going to have a *lot* more books than this, because you're a typical intelligent American with an innate desire to learn and grow. Wow. If only they could have known that TV would soon arrive on the scene and turn us into a nation of marginally literate, non-reading, believe-anything-you-see-on-the-tv saps. (But I digress...)


window seat

Check out the fountain in the backyard. Now *that's* a view! I also love the little writing desk.



See the item in front of the pen with a rounded bottom? Now, I'm sure most of my highly intelligent, history loving readers already know this, but it was a blotter, and on its underside, it had a piece of absorbent paper or cloth. After signing your documents with a quill pen, the blotter was used to soak up excess ink.



Since they don't have a fountain in the backyard, they put up some draperies. But they do have a fine-looking Dutch Colonial out back. This is my favorite nook. Can you imagine curling up on this soft cushion, literally surrounded by all your favorite books? That lamp is in the wrong place, though.



Rather plain, but still a quaint idea.



If I still had a house with radiators, I'd install this design in a second. It's a radiator cover, plus window seat, plus book storage, plus drawer space. And it's not recessed (as many are).



Another pretty one, but still pretty. And good storage underneath that bench seat.


seats seats

The simplest of designs, and yet there's a lot of storage space in those seats.



This "permanent furniture" window seat and bookcase appeared in the 1927 Homebuilders' Catalog.


1571 HB 1923

This, unlike the above, is an actual photo which appeared in the 1923 Harris Brothers (kit homes) catalog. The house shown is Harris Brothers' Modern Home #1571. In addition to the window seat, it has the bookcase colonnades, built-in buffet and gorgeous beamed ceiling.


house house house

This was the only real-life example of a window seat I could find, and it's a poor example because it's really an "Inglenook" more than a window seat. And yet, it's still mighty pretty. The house shown is a Sears Magnolia, in northern West Virginia.


To read more about the Sears Magnolia in West Virginia, click here.

Read all about phone niches by clicking here.

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Built-ins and Sears Kit Homes

January 30th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

Many times, I’ve seen less-than-informed sources report that if your home has built-ins, such as built-in ironing boards and breakfast nooks and telephone niches, it’s probably a kit home.

This is not true.

Built-ins were practical space-saving ideas that became very popular in the early 1900s, which was also the years when Sears kit homes became popular. And, built-ins were big sellers in hardware catalogs, too. In other words, you could add them to your house in later years.

Both Sears and Montgomery Ward offered these built-ins in their mail-order catalogs.

Pictured below are examples of the built-ins offered in the Sears Honor-Bilt Hardware catalog.

1933 Sears Building Materials catalog

1933 Sears Building Materials catalog. Note the Sears Mitchell on this catalog's cover. Note, these aren't just building materials, but HONOR BILT building materials!

Sears Ironing Board

For $5, you could purchase this dandy ironing board that was designed to fit within the studs.


For an extra $2.25, you could upgrade to an oak telephone cabinet. The phone shown here is a 1910s/20s candlestick phone. The vented panel on the lower portion held the "ringer." Old phones did not have individual ringers, but used a central bell located somewhere in the house.


For a mere $14.95 you could have this adorable "Colonial Breakfast Alcove" in your bungalow's kitchen.

To read more about breakfast nooks, click here.

To read about Sears Homes, click here.

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