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Posts Tagged ‘bungalows and listerine’

Permanent Furniture III: Bookcase Colonnades

December 4th, 2013 Sears Homes 1 comment

In the early 1980s, my husband and I looked at an Aladdin Shadowlawn for sale in Chesapeake, Virginia. We both fell head-over-heels in love with the solid-oak bookcase colonnades between the living room and dining room.

It was just last week that I learned that, in the early 1900s, these enchanting built-ins were known as “Permanent Furniture.”

“Permanent furniture” (built-in cabinetry) was a brilliant concept. The more “permanent furniture” present in a house, the less “temporary furniture” the new homeowners would need to purchase. And all these built-ins really did make best-possible use of small spaces.

To read more about permanent furniture, click here or here.

As always, thanks to Norfolk historian and librarian Bill Inge for sharing his wonderful old architecture books with moi!

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More than 30 years ago, we looked in the windows of this Aladdin Shadowlawn in Chesapeake, Virginia (near Chesapeake Square Mall) and caught a glimpse of the solid oak built-in bookcase colonnades and fell hopelessly in love. There's something about "permanent furniture" in old houses that still makes me swoon.

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The Aladdin Shadowlawn had beautiful built-in bookcase colonnades.

The Aladdin Shadowlawn came with beautiful built-in bookcase colonnades (1919 catalog).

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These colonnades appeared in the Sears Roebuck Building Materials catalog (1921).

These colonnades appeared in the Sears Roebuck "Building Materials" catalog (1921). Pretty basic and very plain and no shelving or bookcases. And who's Carlton? My guess is that he's someone that wasn't well liked at Sears. Maybe it started out as a practical joke. "Let's name those really boring colonnades after that boring guy, Carlton who never does anything but stand around and look goofy," and before they knew it, the $34 colonnades were listed in the Sears catalog as "Carlton Colonnades."

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1921

For $82.50, you could buy a colonnade that actually had a practical purpose (unlike Carlton).

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The Sears Osborn featured these bookcase colonnades with either wooden muntins or leaded glass doors (1919).

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No sooner had I returned Bill Inges 1927 Builders Woodworking catalog than he loaned me this little treasure. It was full of - colonnades!

No sooner had I returned Bill Inge's 1927 Builders' Woodworking catalog than he loaned me this little treasure, "Building With Assurance; Morgan Millwork." It was full of - colonnades! It was published in 1923.

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And the first page of the Colonnade Chapter offered some interesting insights as to why we love colonnades.

And the first page of the Colonnade Chapter offered some interesting insights as to why we love colonnades: "It's an imitation of nature itself." BTW, check out the lovebird logo.

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Nice way to dress up a doorway!

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These colonnades are simple, but quite attractive. That rug looks like a trip hazard, though. The dining room furniture looks like it came out of a dollhouse. The proportions are skewed.

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Apparently Morgan had their own line of Carlton Colonnades.

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Much more ornate, and bigger bookcases, too. The original caption reads, "This Morgan standardized design offers a fine opportunity for tasty decoration with jardinieres, statuary, bric-a-brac, etc." I had to look up "jardinieres," because I've read a lot of books in my life but I have never seen that word. Turns out, "jardinieres" is a female gardener, allegedly. I'm not sure that even the most progressive 1920s housewife would be too keen on the idea of using built-in bookcases to store female gardeners.

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This one's my favorite: Rugged, sturdy, spacious and a built-in desk, too.

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That desk is pretty cool, even if he does have a lot of bills hidden inside of it.

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Another beautiful colonnade, but in use as a china hutch!

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A real-life bookcase colonnade in a Sears Hazelton in Oklahoma. Photo is copyright 2010 Rachel Shoemaker and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

A real-life bookcase colonnade in a Sears Hazelton in Oklahoma. (Photo is copyright 2010 Rachel Shoemaker and may not be used or reproduced without written permission. No foolin'.)

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

To read more about built-ins, click here.

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The World’s Most Beautiful Sears Arlington - in Gordonsville, Virginia

March 28th, 2013 Sears Homes No comments

Last week, I drove up to Charlottesville for an overnight trip, and I stopped in Mineral, Louisa and Gordonsville.

In Louisa, I found the World’s Most Perfect Kentucky (an Aladdin kit home), and if that had been the only kit home I’d found during the trip, that would have made it all worthwhile, but then I went into Gordonsville and found the World’s Most Beautiful Arlington.

And that made my day even better.

As I was leaving town, I saw an old signal tower on the railroad tracks, and that really was the cherry on the top of my already delightful day.

I’ve seen a lot of towns, but Gordonsville fast became one of my favorite places. It’s small enough to be charming, rich in local history (including railroad history!), and just big enough to be interesting. If it just had a railroad museum, it’d be perfect.

God bless the local citizenry for saving that old signal towel.

Scroll down to see photos of the World’s Most Perfect Arlington.

To read about the World’s Most Perfect Kentucky in nearby Louisa, click here.

And to learn more about what makes Louisa so special, click here.

And look what I found in Mineral (Virginia)!

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The Sears hosues

Most likely, the Sears Homes in Gordonsville came into town right here at the Gordonsville depot. Sadly, this building was torn down sometime in the 1970s or so. I'd be grateful to know an exact date. Just beyond the depot is the signal tower. I'd also be grateful to know how this survived the wrekcing ball. Photo is copyright 2010, C&O Historical Society and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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What a thrill to find the signal tower is still standing!

What a thrill to find the signal tower is still standing!

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The Sears Arlington was a classic Arts & Crafts bungalow (1919).

The Sears Arlington was a classic Arts & Crafts bungalow (1919).

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The Arlington, close up and personal.

The Arlington, close up and personal.

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Be still my heart! What a glorious, gorgeous example of a Sears Arlington!

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And if you look down the side, youll see it has the stair step windows.

And if you look down the side, you'll see it has the "stair step" windows. This Arlington truly is a perfect example, and a large part of the reason it's so perfect is that it retains its original siding and windows.

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Take a look at the original casements on the Arlington.

Take a look at the original casements on the Arlington.

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My oh my, what a beautiful thing to see!

My oh my, what a beautiful thing to see! It even has original WOODEN storms!!

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And just down the road from the Arlington is what I suspect is a Sears Chelsea.

And just down the road from the Arlington is what I suspect is a Sears Chelsea (1908).

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Is this a Chelsea in Gordonsville? Tough to know for sure. My first impression is YES, but Im just not 100% certain. Id love to get inside this house and do a more thorough inspection.

Is this a Chelsea in Gordonsville? Tough to know for sure. My first impression is YES, but I'm just not 100% certain. I'd love to get inside this house and do a more thorough inspection.

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A sneak peak of the beautiful Kentucky I found in Louisa.

A sneak peak of the beautiful Kentucky I found in Louisa.

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To read more about that beautiful Kentucky, click here.

To learn more about how you can support the good work of the C&O Historical Society, click here.

To contact Rose, please leave a comment below.

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“The Kentucky” in Louisa, Virginia

March 22nd, 2013 Sears Homes 7 comments

Aladdin was probably the biggest of the six national companies that sold kit homes through mail order. And here in Virginia, the majority of kit homes I’ve found are Aladdins. This is probably due to the fact that Aladdin had a huge mill in Wilmington, NC.

Earlier, I drove out to Charlottesville (from my home in Norfolk), and I took Route 33 so that I could look for kit homes. I’d about given up on finding anything in Louisa when I turned down a sleepy little road about four blocks from the train station and look what I found!  It’s an Aladdin Kentucky.

I’d been hoping to see one “in the flesh” for some time, and this one in Louisa is in WONDERFULLY original condition!

To read about another beautiful kit home I found in nearby Gordonsville, click here!

Click here to see what I found in Mineral (Virginia)!

To read about another “Kentucky” (in Mechanicsville, Iowa), click here.

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The Kentucky, as seen in the 1919 catalog.

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The Kentucky was offered in two floorpllans, small andl arge.

The Kentucky was offered in two floorplans, small and large. This house was 43' wide!!!

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Fine-looking house, isnt it?

Fine-looking house, isn't it?

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Be still my heart. Here it is, alive and well in Louisa, VA.

Be still my heart. Here it is, alive and well in Louisa, VA. It's rare to find a 100-year-old house still in original condition. This house has its original doors, windows and sidings!

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The Kentucky is a very wide house!

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Close-up on the details.

Close-up on the details. I love those windows!

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Many years ago, someone planted a pair of oaks squarely in front of the house.

Many years ago, someone planted a pair of oaks squarely in front of the house.

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Close-up on the catalog image shows detail of the columns, doors and window.

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This Kentucky looks much like it did when built in 1914.

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Easily one of the best matches Ive ever seen - and its in Louisa, VA!

Easily one of the best matches I've ever seen - and it's in Louisa, VA!

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In addition to the Aladdin Kentucky, I also found this cute little bungalow in Louisa. This image is from the 1923 Aladdin catalog.

In addition to the Aladdin Kentucky, I also found this cute little bungalow in Louisa. This image is from the 1923 Aladdin catalog. This was the Aladdin "Cape Cod" (model name).

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What a nice match to the catalog page!

What a nice match to the catalog page!

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The Aladdin Madison was a very poplar house for Aladdin. In this graphic (1923 catalog), it was called The Lindbergh.

The Aladdin Madison was a very poplar house for Aladdin. In this graphic (1928 catalog), it was called "The Lindbergh."

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This house was offered with two floorplans.

This house was offered with two floorplans. The Madison in Louisa was the larger of the two floorplans, with the extra window on the home's front, and the two bump-outs in the rear.

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Heres the Madison in Louisa! Another lovely match!

Here's the Madison in Louisa! Another lovely match!

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To learn more about why these kit homes are historically significant, click here.

To read about the kit homes in Staunton,VA, click here.

And to learn more about why Louisa is so historically significant, click here.

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Coming Out Of The Closet: Murphy Beds

November 12th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

In the early years of the 20th Century, living a simple, modest, clutter-free life was an integral part of The Bungalow Craze.

Murphy Beds were an integral part of that “space-saving” mind-set. And they were very practical, too. After one’s morning prayers and ablutions, how often did one return to their sleeping quarters?

When the sun popped up in the morning, it was time to make the bed, fluff the pillows and tuck your bed back into the wall.

During tough economic times, there was an expectation that homeowners would take in needy family members. When times got really tough, homeowners took on borders, too.  (Bear in mind, this was before government became our All-in-all.)

The Murphy Bed made our little bungalows a little bit bigger, and a little more accommodating.

In the 1920s and 30s, the sale of Murphy Beds skyrocketed. In the 1950s and 60s, sales dropped, as Americans moved into bigger and bigger houses. In the 1990s and beyond, sales again are way up, due to a poor economy, high unemployment and rising housing costs.

Some of the early 20th Century kit homes offered by Sears and Aladdin featured Murphy Beds.

“The Cinderella” (so named because the house was so small it required less work), was a cute and cozy kit home offered by Sears in the early 1920s. This little bungalow made good use of its small spaces by incorporating a Murphy Bed. Take a look at the pictures below to see how they did things 100 years ago.

To learn more about built-ins in the 1920s kit home, click here.

To learn about breakfast nooks, click here.

Want to learn more about Murphy Beds? Click here.

If you enjoy the blog, please oh please, share the link on Facebook!  :)

The Cinderella (1921 Sears catalog) was so named because it was an efficient bungalow that saved the housewife

The Cinderella (1921 Sears catalog) was so named because it was an efficiently designed bungalow that saved the housewife much time and effort.

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Interior views of The Cinderella (1921).

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Less furniture to buy - less trouble and work. Good points, actually.

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In the Cinderella, the beds were tucked into a closet during the day.

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This is my favorite shot. This room was about five feet wide and ten feet deep, but it looks pretty darn spacious. And look at that sink at the end of the wall. Just a lone sink.

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The Cinderella assumed that both Living and Dining Rooms would be used as sleeping spaces.

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It's so easy, even a child can do it! Sort of.

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Floorplan shows how tiny that "bed space" really is. It was 10'11" long and - if the drawing is anything near scale, it appears about five feet wide. In modern times, the folks looking at this house probably thought, "How odd! A big walk-in closet next to the living room, and it even has a sink in the corner!"

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"Dressing room and bed space." Pretty tiny space!!!

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"Twenty rooms in 12." Eight of those 20 rooms were closets with a bed.

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Here are two of those eight "bedrooms." At least they have a window.

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Close-up on the Murphy Bed in the Calumet.

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And here's a real, live Calumet in Bloomington, IL.

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Aladdin Sonoma (1919)

Like Sears, Aladdin (Bay City, MI) also sold kit homes through mail order. They had a line of wee tiny Aladdin homes known as "Aladdinettes." Here's a picture of the Sonoma (1919), one of their Aladdinnette houses.

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The Aladdinnette's "bed space" was really tiny. Only 6'9" by 5'. You have to step out of the room to change your mind!!

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Close-up of the Aladdinnette's "closet bed."

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And despite those Laurel and Hardy episodes...

Despite what you've seen on those Laurel and Hardy episodes...

To read the next awesome blog, click here.

Interested in other early 20th Century space savers? Click here.

Youtube demonstration of a real Murphy Bed (1916).

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The Jefferson: A True Example of Southern Colonial Architecture

June 12th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

For 12 years, I’ve been looking hard for the Sears Jefferson. This style of house is fairly popular and look-alikes aren’t too hard to find.

However, the genuine article, the Sears Jefferson is very difficult to find.

In fact, the only one I know of is in Carbondale, Illinois, and I didn’t find it. Rebecca Hunter did.

When I visited the Jefferson in person, my biggest surprise was the lead-glass window over the front door. You don’t find those too often in kit houses. This was a fancy house and it came with all the accoutrements.

To learn more about identifying Sears Homes, click here.

To read about the Aladdin Villa, click here.

The Sears Jefferson (1936 catalog).

The Sears Jefferson (1936 catalog).

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Fancy writing for a fancy house!

Fancy writing for a fancy house!

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Spacious, too.

Spacious, too. The Jefferson had more than 2,400 square feet.

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A close-up of the house (1936 catalog).

A close-up of the house (1936 catalog).

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And here it is in Carbondale.

Carbondale's "Jefferson" is a perfect match, down to the details. Notice the railings.

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Another angle

The Jefferson is perfectly symmetrical with nine windows on the front. Most of the "look-alike" houses I've seen have paired windows. And many have a small parade porch centered on the second floor (over the front entry). Lastly, pay attention to the entry.

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Close-up on that fancy entry to the Jefferson.

Close-up on that fancy entry to the Jefferson.

To read the next fascinating blog on Sears Homes, click here.

To hear an amazing story about my amazing Aunt Addie, click here.

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