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Posts Tagged ‘little house’

Gordon Van Tine #611: Unusually Well Planned

April 2nd, 2015 Sears Homes 2 comments

These last few months, I’ve been doing a proper survey of kit homes in Hampton, Virginia. I went out yesterday to check one last section one last time (which I’ve now visited twice), when this handsome bungalow jumped out of the bushes and called my name.

This Gordon Van Tine Model #611 is on a main drag (300-block of North Mallory) which leaves me scratching my head. How did I miss it?

That will remain one of the great mysteries of the universe, together with, where did I put my husband’s truck keys.

To read more about the kit homes of Hampton, click here.

There’s even more about Hampton here.

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Gordon Van Tine #611, as seen in the 1926 catalog.

Gordon Van Tine #611, as seen in the 1926 catalog.

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One of its distinctive features is the oversized porch and deck.

One of its distinctive features is the oversized porch and deck.

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What a house!

Notice how the porch roof sits within the primary roof. Interesting feature.

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Oh yeah, baby! :D

Sadly, some vinyl siding salesman has pillaged the house, but other than that, it's a nice match. The railings have been replaced, but that's a relatively minor affair.

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Good match on this side, too!

Good match on this side, too!

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So

And did I mention it's on the main drag? :)

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To read more about the kit homes of Hampton, click here.

There’s even more about Hampton here.

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The Sunlight in Springfield!

January 31st, 2013 Sears Homes 2 comments

In today’s real estate market, a house with a mere 768 square foot would be considered pretty small, but in the 1920s, it proved to be a very popular size.  The Sears Sunlight had two diminutive bedrooms (12-feet by 10-feet) and a bathroom that was a mere 6-feet square.

An “expandable attic” was its saving grace.  There was a little bit of room on the second floor to add an extra bedroom or two (for short people).

The Sunlight is a hard house to identify because it’s small and - frankly - it looks like every other tiny bungalow that was built in the early 1900s.

I’ve never identified one on my own, but Cindy Catanzara and Rebecca Hunter seem to be old pros at finding these little houses!

One distinctive feature is the small clipped gable on the front and rear, and the hipped roof on the front porch, which juts out a bit beyond than the primary exterior walls. Another visual clue is the small enclosed space on the rear, but that often disappears after some remodeling.

Many thanks to Cindy Catanzaro for supplying so many wonderful photos of Sunlights in Springfield, Ohio!

1928 House house

The Sunlight, as seen in the 1928 catalog.

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Look at the size of those bedrooms!

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The Sunlight (1928).

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When I was in Elgin, Illinois in February 2010, Rebecca Hunter drove me out to this house and said, "Are you ready to see the most perfect Sunlight in the world?" It is in pristine condition and has been painstakingly restored. The homeowners have the original blueprints.

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Another view of the perfect Sunlight in Elgin, IL.

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Crystal Lake

Rebecca then drove me out to this Sunlight in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It's also in very good condition.

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Springfield Cindy

Cindy Catanzaro found this Sunlight in Springfield, Ohio. It's had some alterations, but is still identifiable as a Sunlight. Photo is copyright 2012 Cindy Catanzaro and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Springfield Cindy

Another view of the Sunlight in Springfield. Photo is copyright 2012 Cindy Catanzaro and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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This is an older picture showing a pretty little Sunlight that was feeling forlorn and forgotten. I'm happy to report that this home is now in the hands of a happy family who truly values the home's unique, historical origins. Photo is copyright 2012 Cindy Catanzaro and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Same house as shown above, this Sunlight is already starting to feel loved and cared for, thanks to its new owners! Photo is copyright 2012 Cindy Catanzaro and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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And you might notice that this Sunlight has had an addition put on the back. As originally built, it had a mere 768 square feet. Photo is copyright 2012 Cindy Catanzaro and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

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Why did the bungalow become so popular so fast? Click here to read a fascinating bit of history.

To see more pictures of Sears Homes in Ohio, click here.

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Starlight, Starbright, First Kit House I See Tonight…

April 28th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

In the early 1910s, it’s probable that the Sears Starlight was their most popular model. In the early days, it was offered with and without an indoor bathroom.

In 1921, the Starlight had a significant model change. The small shed dormer in the attic was enlarged and changed to a hipped dormer with three windows. In addition, the pitch of the attic was made more steep, creating space for an additional room (for short people with a good tolerance of summertime heat).

The pre-1921 Starlights are miserable to try and identify because they are so simple, and they look like every other little house out there. Plus, before 1920, lumber in Sears Homes was not marked. Authentication of these pre-1921 Starlights requires measuring the home’s footprint and measuring individual rooms to affirm that it really is a Starlight, and not a “look-alike.”

Click here to learn more about Sears Homes.

In the 1919 catalog,

This little ad appeared in the the 1919 catalog, showing the many sizes and shapes of the Sears Starlight. This shows the houses with a myriad of dormers!

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In 1920, the Starlight had the shed dormer (most of the time).

In 1920, the Starlight had the shed dormer (some of the time).

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This Starlight in Boone, Iowa has a

This Starlight in Boone, Iowa has a traditional shed dormer.

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But this little Starlight in Painesville had

But look at the dormer on this little Starlight in Painesville. It's a gabled dormer and it's really, really tiny. And the front porch roof is flat, and it's not an integral part of the house, as it is with the traditional Starlight. How confusing!!

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Built in Castalia, Ohio, this

Built in Castalia, Ohio, this Starlight has a different railing, and I have no idea what the floor plan is, because those windows down the side are in the wrong place.

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Detroit

Again, the railing is different and this one has a hipped dormer (rather than shed) and this appears to be a bathroom-less model.

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Starlight

In the 1921 catalog, these interior photos were featured.

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A view of the Starlight's dining room (1921 catalog).

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Early starlights

The bathroom-less Starlight was offered into the 1920s.

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1921 Starlight

In1921, the Starlight sold for $1,553.

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Sears Starlight in Alton, Illinois.

Sears Starlight in Alton, Illinois.

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This Starlight in Duquoin, IL is in mostly original condition.

This Starlight in Duquoin, IL is in mostly original condition.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To learn about Wardway Homes, click here.

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The Calumet: 20 Rooms in 12!

March 30th, 2012 Sears Homes 2 comments

Sears always had an interesting way of ciphering. The Calumet was a four-apartment kit “house” with 12 rooms. The “20 rooms in 12″ was a little misleading.

The eight mystery rooms were “bedrooms” which were really teeny-tiny closets. Inside those eight tiny closets were eight fold-away beds (Murphy beds). The “bedroom in a closet” idea was heralded as a great space-saving device and a money-saving device too. After all, there’s no need to buy rugs and pictures and chairs and night stands when you sleep in a closet.

Who needs a bedroom anyway?

I’ve only seen one Calumet and that was in Bloomington, IL and it had been greatly altered.

The typical Sears Home was a 12,000 piece kit that was bundled and shipped in one boxcar. The Calumet was probably a bit more than 12,000 pieces. It was 2,800+ square feet, but it also had four kitchens and four bathrooms and a lot of steps, railings and porches. And a lot of doors.

And eight beds.

And all for a mere $3,073.

To learn more about Murphy Beds, click here.

Twenty rooms in 12 promised the header on this page.

"Twenty rooms in 12" promised the header on this page.

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The beds came with this kit apartment.

The built-in wall beds came with the Sears Calumet. They were hidden behind nice-looking French doors! I wonder how long these primitive metal-framed beds survived in these old four-plexes?

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Only three rooms per apartment, but they are fairly spacious. And note the small windows in the "bedroom" (closet).

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And

Close-up on those wall beds in the dining room and living room.

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The Cinderella was another Sears House that promoted use of stowaway beds. Note the

The "Cinderella" was another Sears House that promoted use of stowaway beds. Note the text at the bottom of this page: "You are saved the expense of two extra bedrooms in your house, as well as the additional expense of rugs and furniture..."

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And what exactly do you get for $3,073?

And what exactly do you get for $3,073?

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Close-up of the Calumet as shown in the 1918 catalog.

Close-up of the Calumet as shown in the 1918 catalog.

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Sears Calumet in Bloomington, IL.

Sears Calumet in Bloomington, IL.

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To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To learn more about multi-family Sears kit apartments, click here.

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Oh My! So Many Kit Homes in Hampton, Virginia!

February 22nd, 2012 Sears Homes 3 comments

Thus far,  my friend Dale and I have found more than 50 kit homes in Hampton! It’s a real surprise to find so many houses from Aladdin and Sears in one city here in Southeastern Virginia and they’re all clustered together in one neighborhood!

Not surprisingly, there are almost as many Aladdin Kit homes in Hampton as there are Sears kit homes. Aladdin (like Sears), sold their kit homes through a mail-order catalog. These were true kits - shipped in 12,000-piece kits - and arrived at the train station “some assembly required.” Each kit came with a 75-page instruction book that told the neophyte home builder how all those pieces and parts went together.

Take a look at some of our favorite finds!

One of my favorites, the Aladdin Shadowlawn (1919 catalog).

One of my favorites, the Aladdin Shadowlawn (1919 catalog).

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What a beauty! A perfect Aladdin Shadowlawn! Just perfect.

What a beauty! A perfect Aladdin Shadowlawn! Just perfect.

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The Aladdin Pasadena was another very popular house for Aladdin.

The Aladdin Pasadena was another very popular house for Aladdin.

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And there are several of these in Hampton. Heres one!

And there are several of these in Hampton. Here's one!

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And heres another!

And here's another!

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The Sears Fullerton is a big, bold and beautiful foursquare (1925).

The Sears Fullerton is a big, bold and beautiful foursquare (1925).

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This Sears Fullerton in Hampton is a perfect match to the catalog page!

This Sears Fullerton in Hampton is a perfect match to the catalog page! (Minus the red Ford truck, that is.)

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One of the characteristic features of the Fullerton is that broad dormer.

One of the characteristic features of the Fullerton is that broad dormer with one tiny window. This house still retains its original siding and windows!

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Another fun find was the Sears Hathaway (1925 catalog).

Another fun find was the Sears Hathaway (1925 catalog).

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Perfect in every way!  (Minus the red truck - again.)

Perfect in every way! (Minus the red Ford truck - again.)

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In addition to Sears and Aladdin, I also found a kit home sold by Lewis Manufacturing.

In addition to Sears and Aladdin, I also found a kit home sold by Lewis Manufacturing.

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The Lewis Shelborne - looking just like the catalog image above!

The Lewis Shelborne - looking just like the catalog image above!

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The Sears Alhambra was a perennial favorite (1919 catalog).

The Sears Alhambra was a perennial favorite (1919 catalog).

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And Hamptons Alhambra is dressed in brick!

And Hampton's Alhambra is dressed in brick!

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Gordon Van Tine was another kit home company that sold mail-order homes in the early 20th Century.

Gordon Van Tine was another kit home company that sold mail-order homes in the early 20th Century. The model shown above was known as "The Roberts" (1921).

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This one in Hampton faces the water - and its been supersized!

This one in Hampton faces the water - and it's been supersized!

Hampton has too many kit homes to fit into one blog. To read part II, come back tomorrow and click here!  :)

To learn about the kit homes I found in Newport News (East End), click here.

To read about the kit homes of Norfolk, click here.

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A Crowning Jewel of a Bungalow: The Corona

July 5th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

One of the most interesting stories I ever heard came from a man who grew up next door to a Sears Corona in Gillespie, Illinois (about 70 miles northeast of St. Louis).

It was 2003, and I’d just finished a talk on Sears Homes in Bloomington, Illinois. A nice fellow approached the podium and told me that he’d grown up in Gillespie, Illinois, next door to the Sears Corona. He now lived in Chillicothe, Illinois (about 60 miles away), and he thought I should come out to Chillicothe and see his house, for it was really special.

“Oh brother,” I thought to myself. “Another nut job.”

But he continued.

All of his life, he’d appreciated the fine craftsmanship and beauty of the Sears Corona in his hometown, and he vowed that when he grew up, he’d live in a house just as beautiful and well-built.

He’d recently finished his own home in Chillicothe, and his beautiful new home had been built as a modern-day replica of the old Sears Corona.

Now it was getting interesting.

The next morning, I delayed my trip home to Godfrey, Illinois and detoured to Chillicothe. It was well worth the trip, and it was a beautiful home.

In my many travels, I’ve only seen three Coronas, and two of them were within 20 minutes of each other. The third was the reproduction Corona in Chillicothe.

By the way, “Corona” is Latin for the word “crown.”

To learn more about kit homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

Sears Corona as seen in the 1919 catalog

Sears Corona as seen in the 1919 catalog

The reproduction Corona in Chillicothe

The reproduction Corona in Chillicothe. It's a beautiful house, and he did a first-class job! This photo was taken in 2003, shortly after the house was completed. I'd love to get an updated photo.

And from the 1921 catalog

In this catalog picture (1921), you can see that the gabled dormer is centered on the roof. This is a pretty distinctive feature of the Corona.

The original Corona in Gillespie that provided the inspiration for the house in Chillicothe

The original Corona in Gillespie that provided the inspiration for the house in Chillicothe. This Corona in Gillespie, IL is one of the most perfect examples of a Sears house that I've ever seen. The fact that the original pergola is intact is remarkable.

This Corona is a little different with that supersized dormer. Its in Benld (pronounced Benn-eld), Illinois. The town was named for Ben L. Dorsey (some famous guy in Illinois). There was already a town named Dorsey, so the townfolk decided on Benld, which is an abbreviation of Ben L. Dorsey.

This Corona is a little different with that super-sized dormer. It's in Benld (pronounced Benn-eld), Illinois. The town was named for Ben L. Dorsey (some famous guy in Illinois). There was already a town named "Dorsey," so the townsfolk decided on "Benld," which is an abbreviation of Ben L. Dorsey. One of the unique features of the Corona is the cross-gabled porch roof. That always catches my eye. Perhaps the most unique feature is that dormer, centered squarely on the roof.

Another angle of the Corona in Benld.

Another angle of the Corona in Benld.

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And you can see how much the Benld house looks like the original catalog image.

Floorplan

The Corona is a spacious house, measuring 49.6 by 26'.

And theres more space upstairs.

And there's more space upstairs.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

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