November 16, 2021

Shining a Spotlight on the Sears Sunlight

The Sears Sunlight was a popular low-priced bungalow. It was 24 feet wide, and had five rooms (not including the bathroom). 

The Sears Sunlight from the 1928 Modern Homes catalog.

The Sunlight is tough to identify just based on a visual inspection. Many bungalows of the time have the same jerkinhead roof and are of a similar size. One differentiator of the Sunlight was an enclosed staircase on the rear left side, but today many Sunlights have been expanded and that rear entry is gone.

The front and rear gables came with wood shingles, which Sears recommended that customers paint them a different color than the rest of the siding.

Let's take a look at three Sears Sunlights in the Western suburbs.


203 S. Aldine, Elgin. Capture from Google Streetview.

This Sunlight in Elgin is almost an identical match to the catalog illustration. The windows are newer, and it's not clear if the wall around the front porch is original or whether railings were once there. The wood shingles are still on the front gable, although they blend in with the siding.

Undated photo of the house without porch railings but with the original windows. Photo from Elgin Bungalows.

This 1928 house has stamped lumber in the house, authenticating it as a genuine Sears Sunlight. The original owner was Albert Ott.

North Aurora

4 N. Adams, North Aurora. Capture from Google Streetview.

Like this house in North Aurora, most Sunlights have their porches enclosed today. When the horizontal attic window is replaced with a vertical window (as often happens), it throws off the perspective and makes the Sunlight harder to identify.

This Sunlight was built in 1928 by E.H. Prueter and wife, and they got their financing from Sears Roebuck.


235 W. Harrison, Lombard. Photo from Realtor site.

This Sunlight in Lombard has a reverse floor plan (Sears would offer that for free for most models). 

Photo from Realtor site.


Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

Photo from Realtor site.

The second bedroom serves as an office. Photo from Realtor site.

I bet the whole bathroom was pink at one point. Photo from Realtor site.


1 comment:

Architectural Observer said...

The shingled gable, when picked out in a contrasting color as recommended by Sears, gives the house a significant bit of refinement and character. However, that character simply disappears when the shingles are painted or covered like the rest of the wall.

The house appears to be surprisingly spacious for such a small footprint; renovations appear to have enlarged the kitchen area both visually and physically. I'd bet that this plan was widely copied by builders everywhere.

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