Posts Tagged ‘spanish bungalow’

Alhambra Abuse

May 14th, 2013 Sears Homes 6 comments

The Alhambra was a fine-looking Spanish-flavored bungalow, and a very popular model for Sears.


In my travels, I’ve seen these little pretties subjected to all manner of abuse.

The most egregious abuse is typically inflicted by vinyl-siding peddlers, those plastic-pushing pernicious parasites who roam the country, seeking whom they may devour with their polyvinyl chloride products of pestilence.

Not that I have strong feelings about this, mind you.

Several years ago, a vinyl-siding salesman appeared at the door of my 1925 Colonial Revival home, asking me if I was getting tired of painting the old cypress clapboards. He said he had a product that would make my house “maintenance free,” and asked if I’d like an estimate.

“Mister,” I said in a low growl, “You just need to back away very slowly, for BOTH of our sakes. Now just be on your way, and don’t ever EVER come back.”

I never did see him again. And that’s a good thing.

When applied to older homes, vinyl siding is very damaging to old houses, and can trap moisture between interior and exterior walls, causing mold, mildew, bug infestation and eventually wood rot.

In “The Vinyl Lie” (an article that can be found here),  Architectural Conservator Gary Kleier writes,

During the installation of vinyl siding a layer of styrene insulation board is applied over the wood siding, and the vinyl siding is applied to that. This insulation board forms an effective barrier to the passage of water vapor, thereby trapping it within the wall. During the winter months this water vapor will condense to liquid water and began rotting the wood materials. Over a period of years the structural integrity of the exterior walls can be completely destroyed. Further, the presence of deteriorating wood has been shown to attract termites and other wood attacking insects.

Gary specializes in restoration architecture and architectural forensic service. You can visit his website here.

To read some VERY well-done articles on the damage of substitute siding on older homes, click here.

Or read the full text of Gary’s article here.

To see a WONDERFUL documentary on the damage that vinyl causes, click here.

Click here to see some pretty Alhambras!

If you’d like to spend several days reading articles on how much damage vinyl siding does to an older home, google the words, “benefits of removing vinyl” plus “historic home.”

If you’d like to see what happens to the curb appeal of houses with vinyl siding, scroll on down.


The Alhambra

The Alhambra, as seen in the 1921 catalog.


Its unique floorplan makes it easy to identify!

It's unique floorplan makes it easy to identify!


Lets start by showing a VERY pretty Alhambra (in Gaffney, SC).

Let's start by showing a VERY pretty Alhambra (in Gaffney, SC). What a fine-looking house!


Oh man.

Oh man. that's really, really bad. And this time, it wasn't the vinyl siding salesman that ruined the home's original beauty. No, this house was attacked by an older version of the VSS. This house was attacked by a real ASS! (Aluminum Siding Salesman). Location: Ohio.



Somewhere in Ohio, an Alhambra is missing its identify.


Ouch. Again.

Ouch. Again. By enclosing the front porch, they made those distinctive front windows disappear. They're still visible inside the house. Can this house be restored to its original appearance? Yes, but it'd be a whole lot of work. Location: Wisconsin.



Substitute sidings wreak havoc on historic homes. Location: Michigan.


Somewhere in Washington, DC, an architect has lost his mind.

Somewhere in Washington, DC, an architect has lost his mind. Yes Virginia, this is a Sears Alhambra. Or was. Gosh, I'm sure this house is MUCH more valuable now!!! NOT.


And lets close on a happy note. One of my Top Ten All-Time Favorite Alhambras. This beauty is in Lexington, VA.

And let's close on a happy note. One of my Top Ten All-Time Favorite Alhambras. This beauty is in Lexington, VA. Notice the fan light over the door! And it still has its original downspouts. Beautiful!


To read more about Alhambras, click here.

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The Santa Rosa, by Gordon Van Tine

May 13th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

Last week, I did a blog on the Spanish bungalow that Sears offered - the San Jose. This week, I scanned some old slides from my trip (in 2004) to Burlington, Iowa, and among those old slides was a picture of the Gordon Van Tine house - the Santa Rosa!

In the intervening nine years, I’ve never seen another Santa Rosa - and I’ve been looking!

To read more about Gordon Van Tine (another kit home company), click here.

To buy Rose’s newest book, click here.

Santa Rose GVT 1928

The Santa Rosa was not a big house, but it sure was a cutie!


Floor plan

The kitchen was so small, you had to leave the room to change your mind!


House itself

The Santa Rosa had several "Spanish-esque" details, such as the projecting beams, the ornamentation at the gable peaks and the faux wall next to the porch.



This Santa Rose in Burlington is a spot-on match to the catalog image!



It's obvious the owners love their home. I wonder if they know it came from a mail-order catalog?

To see more pictures of pretty Sears  Homes, click here.

To learn about Sears most famous Spanish bungalow, click here.

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