Archive

Posts Tagged ‘restoration of old bathrooms’

Pretty, Pretty Preston!

December 28th, 2012 Sears Homes 11 comments

Houses By Mail” (published 1985) is a wonderful field guide for those seeking more information on the 370 models of Sears kit homes that were offered from 1908 - 1940. The book contains some factual errors, but it’s still one of my favorites and has a cherished spot in my library and in my heart.

The house featured on the cover of “Houses By Mail” is the Sears Preston. It’s a puzzle as to why the publisher selected this particular house, as it was a pretty rare model.

When Pete Sanders first discovered a Sears Preston in Berkley, Michigan, it was love at first sight.

“The character of the house was outstanding,” he said. “I loved it, and I left a note in the door, asking about buying it.”

Pete says he didn’t realize it was a Sears House until after he purchased it.

Pete told me, “Once I got inside the house, I was really in love. It had nine-foot ceilings, and the built-in bookcases had amazing detail.”

Pete has very good taste in houses!

The Preston was one of the top five fanciest (and most expensive) houses that Sears offered, right up there with the Magnolia and the Lexington.

Is there a Preston in your neighborhood? Send me a photo!

And thanks to Pete Sanders, Catarina Bannier and Judy Davids for supplying all these wonderful photos!

The Sears Preston was one of Sears biggest and fanciest homes. Its shown here in the 1921 catalog.

The Sears Preston was one of Sears biggest and fanciest homes. It's shown here in the 1921 catalog. Note the price. The Preston was second only to the Magnolia in terms of price and grandeur. The Sears Magnolia was the most expensive house that Sears offered.

*

Close-up of the Prestons dining room.

Close-up of the Preston's dining room.

*

Notice the detail on the living room fireplace. This is a classic design for a Sears fireplace.

Notice the detail on the living room fireplace. This is a classic design for a "Sears" fireplace.

*

This was the only house Sears offered that showcased the optional wall safe.

This was the only house Sears offered with an optional wall safe. I see some Federal Reserve notes on the bottom, but what's in the top shelf?

*

The Preston also had a built-in breakfast nook.

The Preston also had a built-in breakfast nook.

*

The floorplan shows the massive rooms.

The floorplan shows the massive rooms. The living room was 27' long. That's a big room.

*

Upstairs

Upstairs had four modest bedrooms and a sleeping porch.

*

It really was (and is) a beautiful home.

It really was (and is) a beautiful home.

*

And heres the house that Pete Sanders fell in love with in Berkley, Michigan.

And here's the house that Pete Sanders fell in love with in Berkley, Michigan. The dormers were removed and the front entry was remodeled sometime in the early 1930s. Photo is copyright 2012 Judy Davids and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

Incredibly, Pete has some vintage photos of the house.

Incredibly, Pete has some vintage photos of the house. This photo shows the house with the original dormers and entry-way. Even the flower boxes are in place. Photo is courtesy of Pete Sanders and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

bicycle

This shot shows a cute little kid on a big bike and also the home's original entryway. Photo is courtesy of Pete Sanders and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

And the homes rear.

And the home's rear. One of the unique features of the Preston was that it was one of only FIVE models that Sears offered with functional shutters. (In addition to The Preston, the other Sears Homes with real shutters were The Puritan, The Lexington, Martha Washington and The Verona.) The other Sears Homes had decorative shutters that were permanently affixed to the wall. Photo is courtesy of Pete Sanders and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

And a wonderful photo showing a picture-perfect picket fence.

And a wonderful photo showing a picture-perfect picket fence for a perfect and pretty Preston. Photo is courtesy of Pete Sanders and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

Close-up of the house

Close-up of the house. Photo is courtesy of Pete Sanders and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

Another view of the house

Another view of the house, post-entry-way remodel. The dormers were removed when the entry-way was squared off. Photo is courtesy of Pete Sanders and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

house

Another view of the house, showcasing that incredible fence. Photo is courtesy of Pete Sanders and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

The Baldwins owned the home in the 1930s.

The Baldwins owned the home in the 1930s. Judging from this photo, they didn't have the official Sears fireplace (shown above). You can see a piece of the original built-in bookcases behind Father's left shoulder. Ernest R. Baldwin (seated) was the mayor of Berkley from 1932 to 1944. Those were tough years to be a mayor of any town. Florence Church Baldwin is seated beside him. Also pictured are their two sons, Robert and James. Ernest R. Baldwin was a veteran from The Great War. Photo is courtesy of Pete Sanders and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

Pete really scored a bonanza with these photos of the homes interior.

Pete really scored a bonanza with these photos of the home's interior. This is the living room, adjoining the entry hall. Photo is courtesy of Pete Sanders and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

And check out the bedroom!

And check out the bedroom! What a perfect picture, encapsulating the furnishings and lifestyles of the early 1930s. Photo is courtesy of Pete Sanders and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

The Preston is a very rare Sears kit home, but Catarina Bannier found one in the Washington DC area.

The Preston is a very rare Sears kit home, but Catarina Bannier found one in the Washington DC area. Photo is copyright 2012 Catarina Bannier and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.

*

And I found this one in Wyoming, Ohio in 2003.

And I found this one in Wyoming, Ohio in 2003.

*

It is indeed a real beauty.

It is indeed a real beauty.

*

To learn more about how to identify Sears Homes, click here.

To join our group on Facebook, click here.

*   *   *

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Willard: A Two-Story English Cottage

December 5th, 2012 Sears Homes 3 comments

The Neo-Tudors (also called Tudor Revivals) have always had a special place in my heart. They’re cute, practical and distinctive.

The Sears Willard was one of their most popular designs, and because of its many distinctive features, it’s easy to spot.

Scroll on down to see several real-life examples of The Willard.

The Sears Willard was the house featured in a promotion showcasing affordable monthly payments.

The Sears Willard was the house featured in a promotion showcasing affordable monthly payments. It's a darling house, and the payments aren't too bad either.

*

The Sears Willard, as seen in the 1928 catalog.

The Sears Willard, as seen in the 1928 catalog.

*

Think you may have a Willard? Wont be hard to figure out if you can get inside! Look at the many unique features on this floorplan!

Think you may have a Willard? Won't be hard to figure out if you can get inside! Look at the many unique features on this floorplan!

*

It is a darling house!

It is a darling house!

*

In all my house-hunting career, Ive never photographed a Sears Willard from the right angle. Something in my muscle memory demands that I take the photo from THIS angle.

In all my house-hunting career, I've never photographed a Sears Willard from the right angle. Something in my muscle memory demands that I take the photo from THIS angle. Nonetheless, you can see a few of those distinctive features from this angle. Notice the three windows in a row on the right side, and the dainty cornice return. Also notice the nine lites (windows) in the front door. This brick Willard is in Colonial Heights, VA.

*

This house is photographed from the correct angle, but its not my photo.

This house is photographed from the correct angle, but it's not my photo. This Willard is in Bowling Green, Ohio and the photo was taken by Dale Patrick Wolicki (copyright 2010, and can not be reprinted or used without written permission).

*

And heres another Willard

This Willard was not photographed by me, but you can see that Rebecca Hunter (the photographer) has the same problem with muscle memory that I do. (Photo is copyright 2010 Rebecca Hunter and can not be reprinted or used without written permission). We just yearn to photograph this house from the three-window side.

*

Galax, Virginia is a fun little town with lots of rolling hills which makes photography a bit challenging.

Galax, Virginia is a fun little town with lots of rolling hills which makes photography a bit challenging. Lots of utility wires in this photo, but it's definitely a Willard (with a modified dormer) in Galax. Unfortunately, as built, that dormer (with a flat roof in front of the dormer window) leaks like a sieve, so people often build out the dormer to enclose that flat spot.

*

One fine little Willard in Peoria, Illinois.

One fine little Willard in Peoria, Illinois. Again, from the wrong angle.

*

house

Here's the lone Willard photo I have taken from the correct angle. It's in Crystal Lake, IL.

*

And another fine Willard in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

And another fine Willard in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Look at the angle. Sigh.

*

To visit Dale’s website, click here.

To visit Rebecca’s website, click here.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

Interested in Wardway (Montgomery Ward) kit homes? Click here.

*   *   *

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Sears 264P202! What a House!

December 1st, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

Before 1918, Sears Homes were given numbers, not names. From a marketing perspective, it was brilliant to assign names to these models. After all, would you rather tell Mum and Dad that you’re buying “Sears Modern Home #2089″ or that you’ve just purchased The Magnolia?

Pre-1916, some of these houses had very long model numbers, such as the house shown here. It was apparently a fairly popular house for Sears, as I’ve got four real-life examples below, and yet it was offered only for a few short years, appearing last in the 1916 catalog.

Does this look like a Sears House to you? Didnt look like one to me, either, but it is! Its the venerable 264P202, and judging by the photos below, its a design that you should memorize, because it was apparently fairly common!

Does this look like a Sears House to you? Didn't look like one to me at first, but it sure is! It's the venerable 264P202, and judging by the photos below, it's a design that you should memorize, because it was apparently fairly common! This one is in Benld, IL.

*

An interesting aaside: Do you know how Benld got its name? A fellow named Ben L. Dorsey purchased the land foor its rich mineral rights (coal, really) and it was developed into a tiny town. The name “Dorsey” was already taken, so Ben L. Dorsey chose the name “Benld,” a combination of his first name and subsequent initals.

For the flatlander tourist, it might help you to know that it’s pronounced, “Benn-ELD.”

*

The original catalog page (1916) shows that this house sold for

The original catalog page (1916) shows that this house sold for $1,165 and by 1917, it was gone. In 1918, Sears Homes were given names instead of numbers. The 264P202 never had a name, so we know it was gone by 1918.

*

housse house

This wonderful example of a 264P202 is in Okawville, IL. Look at the detail on the columns! It's a real beauty in original condition, but...

*

house house

A broader view shows that this old house has been converted into a Funeral Home, and that brick ranch globbed onto the side is actually a not-so-sensitive addition.

*

house house

This 264P202 is in West Chicago. Of the four examples shown on this page, three of these homes have porte cocheres.

*

house house hosue

Close-up of the original catalog image (1916).

*

House in Arkansas

Here's one in Searcy, Arkansas that is being offered for sale at $128,000. In the listing, this house is described as "One of the last Sears Roebuck houses left in White County."

*

To learn more about “one of the last Sears Roebuck houses in White County,” click here.

*

The house in Searcy has a bathroom thats in beautifully original condition.

The house in Searcy has a bathroom that's in beautifully original condition. Left is the 1916 Modern Homes catalog. Right side is the house in Searcy.

*

house text

Nice floor plan.

*

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To see an abundance of awesome photos of the house in Searcy, click here.

*   *    *

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Old Bathrooms

January 31st, 2011 Sears Homes 1 comment

When my husband and I first looked at our old house in February 2007, we loved many things about it. It was spacious and elegant and well-built and full of potential. The kitchen had five nice windows and a walk-in pantry and the upstairs bedroom was just right for our four-poster bed. It was a fine house, but…

It had a terrible bathroom.

It had been done in classic 1980s beige and it had been poorly done. Tiles were popping off the walls and the floor tile (12-inch faux marble) crunched and wiggled when we stepped on it. Redoing that bathroom was a major undertaking. We started in January 2010 and finished in May  2010. That’s a long time to have your primary bathroom out of commission.

The hex flooring (shown below) came from a floor covering company in Los Angeles. The material is very popular in Hollywood, and is often used in movie sets, when a 1910s or 1920s bathroom or kitchen set is needed in a hurry.

It creates the look of the 1920s hex tiles in a hurry. When I saw the material up close and personal, I was thrilled. You have to bend over and touch the flooring to ascertain that it’s not real tile.

Below are some photos of the project.

Update:  As of August 2011, we’ve sold this house and moved to a new house (Mid-Century Modern). Looking at these pictures of our “New Old Bathroom” reminds me of how much I love the 1920s look!

To see what I did to our 1960s bathroom (in our new home), click here.

*

Ugly bathroom

If I had to pick one word to define this bathroom, it would be ugly and beige. Wait, that's two words. How about "ugly-beige"? Pictures don't do it adequate injustice.

ugly radiator in ugly bathroom

Poor old radiator in ugly bathroom. Notice how - due to two tiling jobs atop the original tile - it's slowly being swallowed up by substitute flooring materials. The vertical pipe is rusting because some moron put the tile and/or adhesive right up against the pipe, instead of using a sleeve to protect against corrosion.

Ugly bathroom vanity

This photo shows how ugly the vanity lights were. This really was a hideous affair.

Ugly floor

Originally, it was my goal to restore the old hex tile, but after spending about 2/3rds of my fifth decade chipping away the TWO layers of tile on top of this 1920s hex tile, I realized my efforts were in vain. About half way back (headed toward the back of the room), the tile floor had been destroyed.

Bathroom

A very smart flooring guy studies the mess and figures out what to do to make it all pretty again. He sat on the edge of that tub for about 20 minutes but his solution was genius.

Bathroom

The radiator was removed and taken away to be sand-blasted and powder-coated. In the meantime, the heating contractors had to chisel out 6" of concrete and replace the old pipe(s). Cost: $,1900. This was a problem, because I had promised my husband the total bath redo would be under $2,000. Oopsie.

Bathroom

More views of the ugly floor mess.

New bathroom floor goes in

New bathroom floor was installed, after vast amounts of floor leveler were floated on the surface of that old mess. The look was transformative. Everyone was surprised at how good it turned out.

bathroom walls go up

New wainscoting is installed. Dave the Contractor covered the new floor with three layers of kraft paper to protect it.

Finis!

Finis! Isn't it beautiful? Thanks to Craigs' List, I found this pedestal sink - Kohler Memoirs - and got it for $250. Brand new, never installed. Guy bought it and his wife didn't like it. So he did what any smart husband would do - sold it for 1/3rd the value on Craigs' List. We placed the marble slab under the radiator so that the if it ever needs service again, removal will be simple. Plus, we wanted to protect the vinyl floor from the weight of this 400-pound radiator. The marble slab is under the toilet because after we removed all that flooring, the pipes were too high. Plus, it's a cool look. And yes, that is real Italian marble.

Bathroom pretty

The only original thing in this "vintage" bathroom is that brass towel rack. We found it in the back of the linen closet when we bought the house.

Bathroom

Close-up of bathroom faucets.

Bathroom

Now the purple bathmat matches the rest of the room! :)

To read more about Rose’s pink house, click here.

To learn about Sears Homes, click here.

*   *    *