November 23, 2020

An Enduring Sears Argyle in Evanston

2407 Payne, Evanston. Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Argyle.


Although it was the best selling model for Sears Roebuck, the Argyle was a small house, about 1,000 square feet, and because of this, many of them have been demolished. There is an Argyle in Evanston that is is remarkably unchanged. Only the front porch has been enclosed and a deck added off the rear.

The same house in the previous color scheme. They painted the Adirondack chairs while they were at it. The house had brown shingles since at least the 1960's.


The front sun room. Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


The Argyle had a bumpout for the dining room window seat that had four narrow windows. Photo from Realtor site.


The only change to the interior floor plan was that the wall between the kitchen and dining room was removed to make one large kitchen with an eat-in area. Photo from Realtor site.


The French doors to the new back deck. Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


The Argyle has two bedrooms. Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


This Argyle was built about 1921 by Elizabeth A. and John M. Jenkins.  John worked as a clerk in a chemical laboratory. 

Elizabeth died in 1929, so John moved in with his daughter and her husband in their house in Lake Bluff. John sold the Argyle to the Zeimet family who owned it for the next couple decades.




November 10, 2020

A Sears Willard with a Facelift

An authenticated Sears Willard in Crystal Lake got a facelift and the new refreshed house was recently listed for sale. 

162 Rosedale, Crystal Lake. Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Willard. The one in Crystal Lake appears to have the original batten shutters. That may also be the original copper lantern above the door.


The Sears Willard was a one-and-a-half story English plan designed by architect David S. Betcone.


Photo from Realtor site.

 

The Willard was about 600 square feet on the first floor. The living room was generously sized at 14' 5" by 17' 5".

 

The Willard featured a corner fireplace. Photo from Realtor site.

 

Three large windows provided good ventilation. The floors in the living room and dining room were oak, and the floors in the kitchen and bathroom were maple. Photo from Realtor site.

 

Photo from Realtor site.


All new kitchen. The original kitchen cabinets were still there as recently as 1997. Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.



Photo from Realtor site.


The Willard had a second story dormer in the back and a projection on the first floor. The projection was intended to accommodate the refrigerator and some cabinetry.  Today, it serves the same purpose. Photo from Realtor site.


The plaque is correct in that the house was built in 1928 by Frank and Frances Heath. Frank particularly liked the Willard because of the charming flower box in front. The couple got their financing from Sears Roebuck. 

According to the building permit, a local carpenter built the house for the Heaths, although the family also did some of the work themselves. When the house was being built over the summer, the Heaths and their two children lived in the garage. The Heath descendants have old photos showing the house's construction, and they still have the original blueprints.

The Heath family owned the house until 1983.




October 27, 2020

The Sears Rembrandt: A Dutch Colonial Named for a Dutch Artist

You'll find Sears Rembrandts scattered throughout the Chicago suburbs. The Rembrandt is an "unusually well arranged Dutch Colonial house", according to the Sears catalog copy.


Sears Rembrandt @Sears Homes of Chicagoland
115 E. Maple St., Lombard.


Sears Rembrandt @Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The Sears Rembrandt from the 1926 Modern Homes catalog.


The Rembrandt in Lombard has a reverse floor plan from the catalog illustration. Sears would reverse a house for no charge for many designs.

The sun room was optional.

Sears Rembrandt @Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Close up of the original portico. 



According to Sears, the Rembrandt had a "cleverly planned" interior.


Sears Rembrandt @Sears Homes of Chicagoland



Sears Rembrandt @Sears Homes of Chicagoland



Sears Rembrandt @Sears Homes of Chicagoland




Sears Rembrandt @Sears Homes of Chicagoland


Sears Rembrandt @Sears Homes of Chicagoland


The house was built in 1924 and the original owner was Robert Jackson Ray, an associate professor of economics at Northwestern University. He got a mortgage from Sears Roebuck for $6,000 in June 1924. Ray hired a contractor to construct the house, according to his daughter Eleanor.



Sears Rembrandt @Sears Homes of Chicagoland
You can read Eleanor's recollections of the house in this 1996 newsletter.



The Ray family owned the Rembrandt until 1966.