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Posts Tagged ‘vintage baths’

“A Mansion of Colonial Style Architecture” - Sears Kit Home #303

December 6th, 2012 Sears Homes 4 comments

There are scores of Sears kit homes that I have never laid eyes on, and Sears Modern Home #303 is one of them.

This particular model is of special interest because it is so grand and ostentatious. It has many unique features, so it’s easy to differentiate #303 from your garden variety Queen Anne manse.

And this was offered by Sears Roebuck as a “Kit Home.”

What a kit!

I don’t know that any of these were ever built. The sale of Sears Homes didn’t really take off until after The Great War ended (1919), and this house was only offered in one year (1910). It does not appear in “Houses by Mail.”

My dear friend and co-author Dale Wolicki posits that it was just a carryover from a pattern book house that Sears added to their catalog in 1910. That’s a pretty sound theory, and very likely.

Modern Home #303 was offered only in the very rare 1910 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Modern Home #303 was offered only in the very rare 1910 Sears Modern Homes catalog. It was the most expensive house offered in the catalog, and was intended to be built with solid brick walls. Sears estimated that the finished cost would be about $6,700.

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Would you pay almost $7,000 for this house?

Would you pay $6,700 for this house?

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One of the towers

One of the towers is a polygon (not circular).

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And the other is round.

And the other is round.

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And there's a toilet on the first floor! No sink, just a toilet!

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Close-up of all that busyness on the back of the house.

Close-up of all that busyness on the back of the house.

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Check out this floorplan!

Check out this floorplan! Notice the trunk room over the kitchen area? Back in the day, it wasn't fittin' to put a bedroom over the kitchen. Too much heat and too many odors.

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And its even better than a Barbie Dream Mansion!

And it's even better than a Barbie Dream Mansion!

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To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To read about Wardway Houses, click here.

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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.

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The Sears Willard, as seen in the 1928 catalog.

The Sears Willard, as seen in the 1928 catalog.

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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!

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It is a darling house!

It is a darling house!

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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One fine little Willard in Peoria, Illinois.

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

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

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And another fine Willard in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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...

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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.

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house house

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

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

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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."

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

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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.

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house text

Nice floor plan.

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To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

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

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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.

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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.

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