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Posts Tagged ‘prefab sears’

The Berwyn: Monotony Relieved!

July 2nd, 2012 Sears Homes 1 comment

The Sears Berwyn (named for a city in Northern Illinois) was one of their most popular houses, and it’s a cutie-pie of a house, too!

The double-arched front porch makes it easy to identify.

The Berwyn as seen in the 1929 catalog.

The Berwyn as seen in the 1929 catalog.

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The text in the 1929 ad promises that monotony is relieved.

The text in the 1929 catalog promises that monotony is relieved in the Berwyn.

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Small house, but thoughtful floor plan.

Small house, but thoughtful floor plan.

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By 1938, the Berwyn hadnt changed much.

By 1938, the Berwyn hadn't changed much, but it had a new name.

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This Berwyn

This long thin vent on the front gable is a distinctive feature on the Berwyn. The cement-based siding was probably added in the 1950s. This snowy house is in Elgin, IL.

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This Berwyne is in Kirkwood, MO and some not-so-thoughtful vinyl siding installing wreaked havoc with that double-arched opening.

This Berwyne is in Kirkwood, MO and some not-so-thoughtful vinyl siding installing wreaked havoc with that double-arched opening.

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SJe

Another Berwyn with the cement-based siding (White Sulphur Springs, VA).

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This house in Rock Falls, Missouri is also

This house in Rock Falls, Missouri is clad in aluminum siding.

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And this Berwyn is in my neck of the woods, Hampton, Virginia.

And this Berwyn is in my neck of the woods, Hampton, Virginia. The wrought-iron post is not a good idea.

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The Berwyn was one of a handful of houses that made it into the very last Sears Modern Homes catalog (1940).

The Berwyn was one of a handful of houses that made it into the very last Sears Modern Homes catalog (1940). In this catalog, it was renamed the Mayfield.

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To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To read about Teddy the Wonder Dog, click here.

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The Breakfast Nook: Practical, Useful and Just Darn Cute!

May 21st, 2012 Sears Homes 2 comments

The other day, my husband told me that he’d like a nook for Christmas.

“I’ve always wanted one too,” I told him excitedly, “but I don’t think there’s room in our kitchen! They sure are cute, aren’t they? And I could pick out some 1950s fabric for the seat cushions.”

Turns out, he was talking about the eReader sold by Barnes and  Noble.

Drat.

Built-in breakfast nooks became wildly popular in the early 1920s and ever moreso in kit homes.  After Dr. Lister’s Germ Theory went mainstream, people couldn’t get out of their massive manses fast enough. The grand Victorian home fell from favor with a resounding thud.

The Bungalow - due to its simple design and germ-killing ease - became America’s Favorite House.

Downsizing a house from 2,500+ square feet to 1100 square feet isn’t easy, and it was the dining room that took one for the team.

Architects dealt with the small spaces by making the best use of every square foot, and no room was designed more efficiently than the kitchen.

The morning meal could now be taken at a built-in table, nestled neatly away in a corner or a specially designed nook. It was an idea whose time had come, and it was also practical and “step saving” (a popular concept at the time). It was easier for the lady of the house to set up and clean off a small table in the kitchen than fiddling with the big fancy wooden table in the dining room.

To read the next fascinating blog, click here.

To read about the exhumation of Addie Hoyt, click here.

My favorite image is from the 1923 Gordon Van Tine catalog. Gordon Van Tine also sold kit homes, and their kitchen nooks were shown in the catalogs - in COLOR!

My favorite image is from the 1923 Gordon Van Tine catalog. Gordon Van Tine also sold kit homes, and their kitchen nooks were shown in the catalogs - in COLOR!

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Not surprisingly, the built-in breakfast table in the grandiose Sears Magnolia was also pretty fancy!  (1921 catalog).

Not surprisingly, the built-in breakfast table in the grandiose Sears Magnolia was also pretty fancy! (1921 catalog). Check out that floor!

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The Sears Ashmore had

The Sears Ashmore was also a pretty fancy house, but this built-in breakfast table is downright pedestrian.

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This floorplan for the Sears Ashmore shows the placement of their nook.

This floorplan for the Sears Ashmore shows the placement of their nook.

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Montgomery Wards offered nooks in their kit homes, too. This photo came from the Montgomery Wards Building Materials catalog.

Montgomery Wards offered nooks in their kit homes, too. This photo came from the Montgomery Wards Building Materials catalog.

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The Sun

In 1921, you could order a built-in breakfast alcove from the Sears catalog for your own home. It was made with quality materials and look at the price!!

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The Sunrise!

"The Dawn" had a unique design, and had to be placed near a window. When the crepuscular rays of the dawn hit the side wall, the table automatically lowered into place.

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Wow

Notice the rays striking the wall where the table was located? Pretty neat, huh?

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Another

In 1935, nooks were still offered - and quite popular.

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This nook appeared in Norwood Sash and Doors Building Materials catalog (1924). Norwood Sash and Door (in Norwood Ohio), supplied a lot of millwork for Sears kit homes.

This nook appeared in Norwood Sash and Door's Building Materials catalog (1924). Norwood Sash and Door (in Norwood Ohio), supplied a lot of millwork for Sears kit homes.

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This nook appeared in the Pacific Ready Cut Homes catalog. PRCH was based in Los Angeles, and they sold about 40,000 kit homes during their 30 years in business. They stopped making kit homes in the late 1930s and started making surfboards.

This nook appeared in the Pacific Ready Cut Homes catalog. PRCH was based in Los Angeles, and they sold about 40,000 kit homes during their 30 years in business. They stopped making kit homes in the late 1930s and started making surfboards.

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Aladdin Homes (based in Bay City, MI) also offered a built-in breakfast nook in their houses.

Aladdin Homes (based in Bay City, MI) also offered a built-in breakfast nook in their houses.

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Even Popular Mechanics offered a built-in breakfast table for their handy readers. But this one had an added benefit.  You could sleep on it.

Even "Popular Mechanics" offered a built-in breakfast table for their handy readers. But this one had an added benefit. You could sleep on it.

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But it really does not look too comfortable.

But it really does not look too comfortable. It was probably an effective deterrent for turning away overnight guests: "Sure, we have room for you! Honey, go fold out the BREAKFAST TABLE for Aunt Sally and Uncle Kermit."

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Ladies Home Journal featured this nook in their 1924 magazine.

"Ladies' Home Journal" featured this nook in their 1919 magazine.

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Last but not least, a real live nook in Greenville, Illinois, in the most perfect Lynnhaven that you ever did see. Note, awesome rooster towels do not convey.

Last but not least, a real live nook in Greenville, Illinois, in the most perfect Lynnhaven that you ever did see. Note, awesome rooster towels do not convey.

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To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

And I must confess, I made all that up about the breakfast table that lowers itself when the sun’s rays hit it.  :)

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The Lone Sears Home in Owaneco, Illinois

November 2nd, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

In 2011, I drove almost 3,000 miles throughout Illinois, finding and documenting the Sears Homes in that state. And it was during that long drive that I found this Sears Hollywood, sitting just off the main drag in the tiny town of Owaneco, Illinois. The house is a spot-on match to the original catalog image, but some of its flesh is missing and the skeletal system is also showing some signs of decay.

However, I’m gladdened to see that the house has not been ruined with insensitive remodeling. Fact is, this house will not be hard to restore, because it’s in largely original condition!

To read more about the Sears Hollywood, click here.

To learn more about how to identify a kit house, click here.

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Owaneco is the home to a Sears Hollywood!

Owaneco is the home to a Sears Hollywood!

From the 1919 catalog, a Sears Hollywood

From the 1919 catalog, a variation of the Sears Hollywood.

Sears Home

Sears Hollywood, as seen in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Sears Hollywood in St. Charles, IL (found and documented by Rebecca Hunter).

Sears Hollywood in St. Charles, IL (found and documented by Rebecca Hunter).

From the 1919 catalog, a Sears Hollywood

From the 1919 catalog, a variation of the Sears Hollywood.

Sears Hollywood in Cairo, Illinois

Sears Hollywood in Cairo, Illinois.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

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Hopewell’s Historic Kit Homes: And They’re Not in Crescent Hills! (Part VII)

April 1st, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

Yes Virginia,there’s an awesome collection of kit homes in Hopewell but they’re mostly kit homes from Aladdin!  Hopewell does have a few Sears Homes. In fact they have eight in their Crescent Hills area.

But the Aladdin kit homes number in the dozens.  And in addition to the Aladdin kit homes in the downtown area, it seems likely that Hopewell might have kit homes from Sterling Homes (yet another kit home company).

And I would never have guessed this on my own, without the help of fellow kit home aficionados Mark and Lisa Hardin.

In downtown Hopewell, there are dozens of Aladdins, but amongst those Aladdins are also several models of house that I’ve not been able to identify.  In Mark’s email, he theorized that at least one of the “mystery models” might have come from Sterling Homes.  After looking at the pictures, I think he might be right.

If he is, this certainly adds even more intrigue to the mystery of those little houses in Hopewell. Are all of them kit homes? We know that Hopewell has kit homes ordered from Sears and Aladdin. Do they kit homes from Sterling , too?

An exampele of a Sears Home (The Puritan) in Hopewell

An example of a Sears Home (The Puritan) in Hopewell

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Pretty little Puritan on City Point Drive in Hopewell

Pretty little Puritan on City Point Drive in Hopewell

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The Aladdin Edison was a modest home, but darn cute. And easy to identify these many years later.

The Aladdin Edison was a modest home, but darn cute. And easy to identify these many years later.

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First, my favorite Edison in Hopewell.

A real-life example of the Aladdin Edison in Hopewell.

The above photos provide two of the many examples of both Sears and Aladdin kit homes in Hopewell.

And then there’s Sterling Homes. Like Aladdin, Sterling Homes was based in Bay City, Michigan. While Sterling was successfull in selling their kit homes nationwide, they were a much smaller company than Aladdin or Sears. To learn more about Sterling, click here.

Pictured below is the catalog page for the Sterling Homes “Browning-B.” The “B” is usually a reference to a different floorplan for the same house design. (Despite looking through my reference materials, I never did find a “Browning-A.)

Compare the catalog page with the Hopewell houses. The roof on the back of the house doesn’t drop down near as far as the front. And look at the pair of gabled dormers, connected by the small shed dormer. Most interesting is the bay window on the front of the house, next to the front door.

Sterling

From the Sterling Homes catalog.

Sterling

There are several of these models in Hopewell's downtown area, interspersed with Aladdin kit homes. Is this the Sterling "Browning B"? It sure is a perfect match. The only flaw is the size of the eaves on the dormer window. Everything else is perfect, and that's remarkable, because this is a very unique house.

Aladd

Another Sterling Browning-B in Hopewell? Appears to be!

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Sterling

A close-up of the house as it appeared in the catalog.

Another one

Side-by-side comparison of the two houses.

Thanks again to Mark and Lisa for this find! I don’t think I’d ever have thought to check my Sterling field guides to identify these houses in Hopewell, Virginia!

Part I can be found here. Part II is here. Click here for Part III.

The fourth series is here. And number five is here. And after you read the sixth part, you’ll be all caught up.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.