Posts Tagged ‘plan book houses’

Shipshape and Bristol Fashion: In Portsmouth and Hampton, Virginia!

June 5th, 2013 No comments

Mrs. Terrell was a first-grade teacher at John Tyler Elementary School in Portsmouth, Virginia for many decades, and she was dearly loved by all. She was also our neighbor in Waterview (just off High Street).

When I started first grade, I was disappointed to learn that I’d been assigned to Mrs. Saunders’ class (the OTHER first grade teacher). I had so hoped that I would be in Mrs. Terrell’s class. She was soft-spoken and always had such a sweet smile.

As a hyper-sensitive, high-strung little girl, I preferred the familiar. I knew Mrs. Terrell. I liked Mrs. Terrell. And I really loved her house.

Mr. Terrell was a gem, too. He was always in the garage, tinkering with their two old Volkswagen Beetles (early 1960s).

Fifty years later, I found Mrs. Terrell’s house in a plan book. The house (“The Bristol”) appeared in the 1920s plan book put out by Harris, McHenry and Baker. In fact, these plan books were issued by countless lumber yards as a marketing tool to help sell more lumber. Dover Publications reprinted the book issued by Harris, McHenry and Baker (and it’s available at

Plan book homes were different from kit homes, in that when you ordered a plan book design, you received blueprints and a list of building materials needed to build the house, but the actual building materials were obtained locally.

Recently, I took a tour of Old Wythe (in Hampton) and we found THREE examples of Mrs. Terrell’s house, and that was in one neighborhood.

To learn more about the kit homes in Hampton, click here.

Old Wythe has their own website! Click here to see a fine bunch of vintage photos.



The Bristol, as seen in the 1924 planbook.


kind of a crummy

The Terrell's "Bristol" on Nansemond Crescent in the Waterview neighborhood in Portsmouth. Ever since I can remember, their Bristol has been all "ship shape and Bristol fashion." I've always loved that neighborhood and loved this home.



Close-up of The Bristol.


house house

One of three "Bristols" in Old Wythe (Hampton).


Small section of Wythe

The second of the three Bristols in Old Wythe.


plan book house

This one has fallen prey to aluminum siding, but it's still easily recognizable as a Bristol.


To learn more about the plan book houses of Portsmouth, click here.

To read more about kit homes in Hampton, click here.

A Beautiful Saratoga in Mukwonago, Wisconsin

March 8th, 2012 1 comment

My great aunt Addie has a lot of friends in Wisconsin. Even though Addie has been dead 111 years, she’s still a popular girl and Addie has more than 450 friends on Facebook.

At this website, my blogs on Addie have been viewed by more than 40,000 people.

And thanks to Addie, I’ve become friends with a woman named Heather who lives in Wisconsin. Heather reminds me of my own daughters. Heather is incredibly intelligent, well-read, sagacious, and best of all, she has a compassionate heart. Smart people are a blast, but when you find someone who’s smart and kind and wise, that’s a wonderful thing.

Heather possesses all those qualities. And she loves Sears Homes, too!

Recently, Heather found and photographed a beautiful old Sears House in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. It’s quite a house, and it’s in largely original condition.

To learn about the “Good, better, best” quality offered in the Sears Roebuck catalog, click here.

Sears Saratoga

Sears Saratoga, as seen in the 1922 catalog. Look at the price!



Saratoga in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, looking much like it did when it was built more than 90 years ago. (Photo is copyright 2012 Heather Lukaszewski and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)


Saratoga house

Close-up of the line drawing in the 1922 catalog.


Saratoga window

Detail on the Saratoga's ornate window


Park Avenue window

And what a perfect match it is to the original picture! (Photo is copyright 2012 Heather Lukaszewski and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)


Detail on the columns

The columns are also a perfect match to the old catalog image. (Photo is copyright 2012 Heather Lukaszewski and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.)



Column as seen in the 1922 catalog.


To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To learn more about Aunt Addie’s exhumation, click here.

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