July 21, 2020

In Villa Park, a Sears Brookwood?

435 N. Yale, Villa Park. Photo from Realtor site.


The Brookwood from Sears Roebuck.


This house in Villa Park certainly looks like a Sears Brookwood. The floor plan perfectly matches that of the Brookwood. The owner believes the house was purchased from Sears Roebuck. So what's the problem?

This "Sears Brookwood" was sold by Montgomery Ward.


Wards mimicked many of the Brookwood's details, from the projected entrance to the flat-top dormer. There's a family room addition on the back that is not visible from the street. Photo from Realtor site.



You won't find this house in any Wardway Homes catalog.  Montgomery Ward custom designed a lookalike to the Sears house for its customer, Leo J. Dingman.

Bottom line: Montgomery Ward wanted to sell as many homes as they could. Even if the home wasn't one of theirs.

This was not the only instance when a kit house company built another company's model. Both Sears and Wards built each other's houses.


Living room and front vestibule. Photo from Realtor site.


The staircase for the Brookwood is in the back of the house. Photo from Realtor site.



Dining room. Photo from Realtor site.

 
Photo from Realtor site.


The Brookwood had three bedrooms. This is the one above the front door. Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.


The built-in linen closet. Photo from Realtor site.





July 7, 2020

The Disappearing Sears Dundees

The Sears Dundee was a small, affordable bungalow that was sold 1920-1930. As was the Sears approach, the architects tried to add style with an ornamental porch, decorative railings, and brick porch piers. The charming little trellis on the side was also included.

Sears Dundee from the 1928 Modern Homes catalog @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The Sears Dundee from the 1928 Modern Homes catalog. In the early years, the Dundee did not have a bathroom, but by 1928 it was included as more square footage was added to the house.


Floor plan of the Sears Dundee @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
The later floor plan with the bathroom.


We don't have many Dundees in the Chicago area, and there are not many to be found nationwide either. Clearly the house was a strong seller since Sears offered it for 10 years. I suspect that the little bungalows are disappearing over time and are being replaced by larger homes.

Sears Dundee in Aurora @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
807 Iowa Ave., Aurora. This Dundee was built in the summer of 1926 and was financed by Sears Roebuck. The house still has the non-functional third brick pier. Another feature that indicates a Dundee is the horizontal attic windows on the sides of the house. Photo from Realtor site.


Property
Rear view of the Dundee. If the house has not been added onto, this is another unique identifier. Photo from Realtor site.




Sears Dundee in Oak Forest @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
5109 W. 155th St., Oak Forest. This Dundee still has the ornamental porch.



Sears Dundee in Elgin @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
631 Keep, Elgin. This Dundee was built in 1927 and was financed by Sears Roebuck. Photo from Realtor site.



631 Keep Ave, ELGIN, IL 60120
Photo from Realtor site.





Sears Dundee in Glenview @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
657 Harmony Lane, Glenview.  Ouch!  Photo from Realtor site.




Sears Dundee in Glenview @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Google Streetview shows the Dundee in Glenview a few years ago when it had the original scalloping detail on the porch.










June 23, 2020

A Sears House You've Never Seen--the Amhurst

Sears Amhurst in Hinsdale, built 1928 @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
739 S. Lincoln, Hinsdale. Photo from Realtor site.


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


Sears sold the Amhurst from 1926 to 1928. Only a handful have been located nationwide, and there are two authenticated Amhursts in the Chicago area--this one in Hinsdale and another in Glen Ellyn.

See how the center window on the side doesn't go down to the trim level as shown on the illustration? That is the case on every known Amhurst. Sometimes Sears got the catalog illustrations wrong.


Sears Amhurst in Hinsdale, built 1928 @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Another angle. Photo from Realtor site.

One of the stylistic selling points of the Amhurst was that the second story was wood siding and the first story was brick veneer.  Sears said the house had "picturesque and distinctive beauty". Our Amhurst in Hinsdale has had the brick veneer removed so that both stories match.


Sears Amhurst in Hinsdale, built 1928 @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
That is a modern "Craftsman" newel post. Photo from Realtor site.



Sears Amhurst in Hinsdale, built 1928 @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Amhurst in Hinsdale, built 1928 @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Amhurst in Hinsdale, built 1928 @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Amhurst in Hinsdale, built 1928 @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
There wasn't a half bath on the original floor plan.  Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Amhurst in Hinsdale, built 1928 @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Amhurst in Hinsdale, built 1928 @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
There wasn't an open concept kitchen and family room on the original floor plan. Photo from Realtor site.


Sears Amhurst in Hinsdale, built 1928 @ Sears Homes of Chicagoland
Photo from Realtor site.


The Amhurst was purchased by Alfonso G. Mesenbrink for $8,000 in February 1928. Alfonso got his financing from Sears Roebuck.  He was a carpenter, and built the house for his family.

The Amhurst last sold for $1.24M.