June 3, 2014

A Custom Sears House in Wilmette

1014 Pontiac, Wilmette.

Not only did Sears sell standard kit homes, they also sold custom homes. 1931 was a huge year for the Sears Modern Homes Department--they sold 470 homes worth $15,000 or more where the owners used their own architect's designs and materials they specified.

In July 1931, Sears announced that they would build an English style house in Indian Hill Estates in Wilmette. The house was to be designed by George Fred Keck. Sears had the general contract and would supply the building materials.The buyer would finance the house with a 15-year mortgage from Sears (at six percent interest). Sears wanted to show wealthy home buyers that they could get a high-end house and still use Sears materials and home construction services.

The house was completed by January 1932 and opened to the public for three consecutive weekends.

The first floor had walls of stone and the second floor was plaster with half timbers. The residence had eight rooms originally.  The great chimney served three fireplaces: one in the basement recreation room, one in the living room, and a third in the master bedroom. 

At some point, the attached garage was converted to a family room with a bay window.

An illustration of the house that shows the original attached garage on the left. Illustration courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

A sensitive addition to the house.

The original owners were Arthur G. Stanten and his wife, Hazel. At the time the house was purchased, Arthur was the associate manager of the Conkling, Price & Webb insurance brokerage. The Stantens lived in the house until at least 1942. By 1945, L.F. Hawley Jr. was in the house.

Leaded glass windows and beamed ceilings in the living room.

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