October 28, 2014

It's Two, Two, Two Houses in One

Sears encouraged customization of their standard kit houses.  "Your ideas and suggestions--what you want--are welcomed and made practical at a price you can easily afford."

Typical customizations would be to reverse the floor plan, modify closet configurations, add a sun room off the side, or make a house a few feet wider. Sometimes Sears would combine the exterior facade of one model with the interior floor plan of another.

The Sears catalog says that reversing a floor plan is no big deal.

Based on the customer's requirements, Sears staff architects would customize the standard plans and maximize the usage of standard sizes of materials and millwork so that the customer would save on the cost of building materials. The lumber arrived to the customer pre-cut based on the custom specifications.

There is a house in Mount Prospect I have driven by for years. I always looked at it and thought it resembled some Sears models, but it was too big and not quite a match to any of them. Now I can say with reasonable certainty that it is a customized Sears house--a hybrid of two models.

October 21, 2014

The Sears Lexington, "a Style That Will be Popular for All Time"

627 Euclid, Glen Ellyn.

Sears Lexington from the 1923 Modern Homes catalog.

A closer look at the side of the house. The Lexington has massive cornice returns, a door to the balcony with a window crammed next to it, and two lil' windows astride the chimney.

The Lexington, a Colonial Revival, was one of Sears's highest priced models. Sears always placed it towards the front of its Modern Homes catalogs. "The Lexington was designed by an architect whose specialty is houses of the true colonial type. This is his masterpiece in a style that will be popular for all time."

October 14, 2014

Two Sears Houses Still Standing in Northbrook

Northbrook still has a couple Sears houses that have not fallen victim to the wrecking ball.

1607 Techny, Northbrook.

Sears Hamilton, from the 1923 Modern Homes catalog.

This Sears Hamilton is largely untouched after almost 90 years. It is lacking the living room fireplace, but homeowners had the option to leave it out.

October 7, 2014

The Only Sears Croydon Ever Built?

Normally I feature only kit houses in the Chicago area. However, I do make exceptions, and the house featured on the website today is a particularly rare Sears model.

Sears Homes of Chicagoland reader Jeff Alterman recently sent me some photos of Sears houses in his hometown of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. One of those photos was of a Sears Croydon model, and I believe this is the only one ever found.

42 Clunie Ave., Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. Photo courtesy of Jeff Alterman.

The Sears Croydon, from the 1939 Modern Homes catalog.

The Croydon in real life does not look exactly like the catalog illustration. The projecting, asymmetrical catslide entrance bay does not match. The roofline on the front gable does not go all the way to the ground the way it appears in the illustration.

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