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Posts Tagged ‘suffolk VA’

What’s My Happy Color?

March 15th, 2018 Sears Homes 15 comments

Six months ago, a new chapter of my life began when I moved into this house in Suffolk, Virginia. In the 12 months prior to that, I’d often tell people, “I want a house that’s quirky and fun, something that’s solid and well-built, but unique. When people walk into the front door, I want them to think - this LOOKS like something Rosemary would buy!”

And I found it.

As someone who studies old houses, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a floorplan like this. I’m not even sure I can identify what style of house this is.

And on a related note, ever since I replaced the old storm door, I’ve been dreaming about a new color for the exterior shutters. Perhaps brown is the best color to complement the earth-toned bricks, but if you can think of a new color, please let me know.

Thanks in advance for any and all comments.

Want to learn how to identify kit homes? Click here.

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One of this homes most appealing features was that it had been beautifully maintained by its first (and only) owners. And yet, the storm door was a little tired and quite drafty. After it was replaced with the new full-view door but that has inspired me to re-think the shutter color.

One of this home's most appealing features was that it had been beautifully maintained by its first (and only) owners. And yet, the storm door was a little tired and a bit drafty. After it was replaced with the new full-view door (right side) , that inspired me to re-think the shutter color.

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If anyone has any guesses as to the year of manufacture for this door, Id love to know. The house was built in 1976, but surely the door isnt 40 years old - or is it?

If anyone has any guesses as to the year of manufacture for this door, I'd love to know. The house was built in 1976, but surely the door isn't 40 years old - or is it?

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The new storm door was under $200 at Lowes and does a fine job of highlighting that beautiful 1950s-ish looking front door.

The new storm door was under $200 at Lowes and does a fine job of highlighting that beautiful 1950s-ish looking front door. And Teddy the Dog loves it too.

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That front door looks more like something youd find on a 1950s ranch, and its one of my favorite features on this 40-year-old custom-built brick ranch.

That front door looks more like something you'd find on a 1950s ranch, and it's one of my favorite features on this 40-year-old custom-built house.

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As I mentioned above, Ive never seen a floorplan such as Ive seen in this house.

As I mentioned above, I've never seen a floorplan such as I've seen in this house. On the other side of that full-view storm door is this massive chimney, rising up from the floor to the ceiling. It provides privacy, so that you can't peak in the front door and see the living room.

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The living room (and the wood stove insert) is on the other side.

The living room (and fireplace with wood stove insert) is on the other side of that large brick chimney. You can see a bit of the front door behind that fireplace (with the old storm door). The space on the right is the stairwell that leads to the basement garage.

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Its a mighty narrow stairwell that leads to the basement/garage, and its built with concrete block walls. I have not been able to figure out why a staircase would need to be built like a bomb shelter.

It's a mighty narrow stairwell that leads to the basement/garage, and it's built with concrete block walls. I have not been able to figure out why a staircase would need to be built like a bomb shelter.

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Within that front foyer are two steps which lead to the living space. I spend my life thinking about houses and I cant even come up with a name for this particular style.

Within that front foyer are two steps which lead to the living space. I spend my life thinking about houses and I can't even come up with a name for this particular style. I suppose it's a brick ranch, but this sunken foyer is quite unique!

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Back to the question at hand - what color shutters do I want?

Back to the question at hand - what color shutters do I want? Or is brown simply the best choice? The roof is also brown. However, the brown storm door is gone!

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Shutter

Things were a lot more green when I bought the house in early October 2017. I'm looking forward to seeing that pretty green color again!

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Thanks in advance for any and all comments.

Want to learn how to identify kit homes? Click here.

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The Aladdin Colonial: Many Admirers!

October 16th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

Years ago, someone told me about a “big fancy Sears House” in Suffolk, Virginia. After visiting the house, I could only conclude that it was not a Sears House, but what was it? I sent a photo to my dear friend Dale Wolicki and he replied quickly, “It’s an Aladdin Colonial!

Dale knows more about Aladdin than anyone else in the world!

The Aladdin Colonial was touted as being a house “with many admirers” (see photo below). And I count myself as one of those many admirers!

To learn more about Aladdin, click here.

To read more about Dale, click here.

The Aladdin Colonial, in the 1920 catalog.

The Aladdin Colonial, in the 1920 catalog.

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The first floor featured a living room that was 15 by 30 feet. And in the back, there was room for a small library! Notice the butler's pantry. This was a fine home.

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It was a big spacious house, with several distinctive features.

It was a big spacious house, with four spacious bedrooms and two baths upstairs.

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Beautiful, too.

Beautiful, too.

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Heres the big fancy Sears House in Suffolk. In fact, its an Aladdin kit home - the Colonial.

Here's the "big fancy Sears House" in Suffolk. In fact, it's an Aladdin kit home - the Colonial.

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This Colonial is in Roanoke Rapids, NC.

This "Colonial" is in Roanoke Rapids, NC.

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This Colonial was photographed by a Sears House afficianado, but sadly, I cant find her name amongst my many emails. Nonetheless, its a beautiful house.

This Colonial was photographed by a Sears House aficionado, but sadly, I can't find her name amongst my many emails. It's a beautiful house and a wonderful photo, and it's on the corner of Capital Blvd and Scott Street, in a city not too far from Cairo, IL but that's all I remember.

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The 1920 catalog showed this interior shot of the Colonial living room.

The 1920 catalog showed this "interior" shot of the Colonial living room.

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Aladdin actually started offering kit homes in 1906, two years before Sears Roebuck. And Aladdin persisted until 1981, a full 41 years beyond Sears.

Aladdin actually started offering kit homes in 1906, two years before Sears Roebuck. And Aladdin persisted until 1981, a full 41 years beyond Sears. This is my favorite Aladdin advertisement. I just love this image (1914 catalog).

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Sears Homes had a letter and three-digit number on their framing members, but Aladdin kit homes had words (as is shown here).

Sears Homes had a letter and three-digit number on their framing members, but Aladdin kit homes had words (as is shown here). This rafter is in a house in Roanoke Rapids, NC which has an abundance of Aladdin kit homes.

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To learn about the Aladdin kit homes in Roanoke Rapids, click here.

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Wonderful World of Westlys

July 2nd, 2011 Sears Homes 6 comments

One of Sears most popular kit homes was the Westly. It’s an easy house to identify because it’s quite unique. The roof line on the rear of the house does not come down as far as the roof line in the front. That dormer on the front is also pretty distinctive, with a door flanked by two windows, and the small railing in front.

Often (not always) the Sears Westly has the five piece eave brackets.  And it often has the distinctive columns found on about 24 of Sears most popular designs. Click here to learn more about those distinctive columns!

Westly

One of the distinctive features (inside) is that corner fireplace in the dining room! This is from the 1919 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Close-up of the dormer on the Sears Westly

Close-up of the dormer on the Sears Westly, and a better view of the original railing.

A nearly perfect Westly in Oak Hill, WV

A nearly perfect Westly in Oak Hill, WV. The lower railings are original, but the upper railing has been replaced. Also note the original columns and five-piece eave brackets.

This Westly is in Lynchburg, VA

This Westly is in Lynchburg, VA. See that little closet window on the upper right? That's another pretty distinctive feature of the Sears Westly.

Elgin, IL has the largest collection of Sears Homes in the country. This Westly is one of 210 Sears Homes in this northwestern Chicago suburb.

Elgin, IL has the largest collection of Sears Homes in the country. This Westly is one of 210 Sears Homes in this northwestern Chicago suburb.

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Is this a Westly? I'd be willing to bet $50 that it is. However, wrought iron is *not* this home's friend. The porch remodel was especially hard on the porch, as it made the front porch DISAPPEAR. This house is located in Virginia. There are no five-piece eave brackets because there are no EAVES to bracket. If this house were a human being, it'd be outlined in white chalk and we'd be hunting for the murderer.

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This photo dates back to 2003, before the vinyl siding installers defrocked this house. Back then, this house was in stunningly original condition. The roof is Buckingham slate, which is unusual, but not unheard of for Sears Homes. In Sears Homes, the roofing joists were supersized, and collar-beams were added at each joist, to accommodate the extra weight of a slate roof. Buckingham slate (from Buckingham County) is one of the best slate shingles out there, and weighs in at 1,400 pounds per square. With minor maintenance every 100 years, the roof will last for eternity. This house is in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Sears Westly in Suffolk, Virginia

Sears Westly in downtown Suffolk (Virginia). It's been beautifully restored to its original glory and splendor, and has original siding and windows.

Superman slept here. Maybe. This Sears Westly is in Metropolis, IL.

Superman slept here. Maybe. This Sears Westly is in Metropolis, IL.

Sears

This Westly in Lewisburg, WV has had its dormer extended. The flat spot in front of that dormer on the Westly is prone to leaks. Extending the front roof and nclosing the space is one way to solve that problem.

Perfection defined. Located in Raleigh, this Westly is one of my all-time favorites.

Perfection defined. Located in Raleigh, this Westly is one of my all-time favorites. Original everything. And beautifully maintained.

Close-up of dormer and original railling.

Close-up of dormer and original railing.

And in Oklahoma! Its had a lot of improvements but this Westly is still standing.  Photo is copyright Rachel Shoemaker and can not be reproduced without written permission.

And in Oklahoma! It's had a lot of "improvements" but this Westly in Tulsa is still standing. Photo is copyright Rachel Shoemaker and can not be reproduced without written permission.

The rear of the Westly is also very distinctive with this short wall and through-the-cornice dormer. Photo is copyright Rachel Shoemaker and may not be reproduced without permission.

The rear of the Westly is also very distinctive with this short wall and through-the-cornice dormer. Photo is copyright Rachel Shoemaker and may not be reproduced without permission.

When I first saw this house in Ohio, I had an overwhelming urge to knock on their front door and demand that the homeowners surrender their Home Depot credit cards.

When I first saw this house in Ohio, I had an overwhelming urge to knock on their front door and demand that the homeowners surrender their Home Depot credit cards. If this were a dog, we'd test it for rabies and then put it down.

Sears Westly on Fauquier Avenue in Richmond

Sears Westly in Richmond, VA. If these walls could talk, this house would ask, "Do these railings make me look flat and dull?"

Westly in Midwestern suburb

Lastly is this Westly in Northerly suburb of Chicago. Poor Westly has had an entire neighborhood built behind it. In Illinois, they call this a condominium. In many other states, this is call "hideous."

To read more about the Sears Homes in the Midwest, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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