Can You Find The 1931 Sears Mail-Order Home In This Picture?

Our Kit House Of the Week feature (in which we  regularly present historic catalog houses that come on the market for sale in the Washington DC area) has been a little neglected in recent weeks, but rest assured, the whole reason for that are–kit houses. I’ve started a great project to lose sleep over! More about that soon.

Now let’s get to the good stuff! How about a game of Where Is Waldo The Sears Kit House?

"Tudor" door model from 1930 Sears catalog

The “Tudor” door as it appeared in the 1930 Sears catalog

Take a look at the house above, currently on the market in McLean, VA, a lovely suburb of Washington DC, for $965,000. The house is advertised by its Realtor, Leslie Hutchison of Fall Properties, as “Orig 1931 Sears Home expanded & set high on a hill.”

Huh? Original 1931 Sears home? When you look at the virtual tour, you see a large-ish 6-bedroom house from, say, the late 20th century. Newer, but not contemporary. Traditional, but not with an actual style. And certainly not a Sears kit house I’ve ever encountered.

But then I saw the recessed wall on one half of the porch, and the front door with its half round/half straight Tudor-style top, and it clicked. This was a period Sears door I had seen before! The “original” house must be hidden on the first floor! I pulled out the old catalogs and could quickly determine that this was indeed a Sears “Wheaton”before it got encased in this new structure. Peek-a-boo!A Sears catalog house -- here in the catalog, in McLean on the lawn.

1931 Sears house in suburb of Washington DC1930 Sears catalog--kitchen cabinetsSuddenly, it all looked right in the core part

1930 Sears kit house -- floor plan

The floor plan of the “Wheaton” as it appeared in the 1932 Sears catalog of “Honor Bilt” homes

of the house: the kitchen for instance, with its unusual floor plan and original built-in cabinet–exactly in the place the catalog’s floor plan shows. Living room and dining room as well–they look just like they did 80 years ago.

And what’s not to like about having a big yard with a pool, and a rec center with six tennis courts right behind it?

As always, if you’re interested in owning (or seeing) this piece of American history–just let me know!

(Images of the McLean house courtesy of MRIS)

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About Catarina Bannier

I'm a journalist-turned-Realtor based in Washington, DC. My clients have come from five continents--not unusual in a city that's full of life, history, world politics and stories Some of them, however, have lived here all their lives, and they have been the ones that taught me the most. For the past eleven years, helping people buy and sell homes has been more than a business for me. It feeds my passion for house history, it's a way to make new friends, and it has become a way of life. Nothing tells more about you than the home you choose for yourself.
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2 Responses to Can You Find The 1931 Sears Mail-Order Home In This Picture?

  1. Kim says:

    Thank you so very much for posting so many photos of this Wheaton. We live in one as well that has also suffered some alterations. Our home is still a single story and has nearly all of the original floor plan minus some interior walls in the front section of the home. To see the front interior as it was designed is such a thrill!!! Our front entry is also gone :( So to see it here was incredible. Our home also has a front porch so the swoop over the door is lost as well. Would you be able to email me the photos? I would love to have them to add to my collection of information on our home. We are always working to preserve what is here and put back what is lost. Thanks again for sharing this online! Kim

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