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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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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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