Ever Wanted To Live In A Historic Sears Kit Home?

1926 Mail-Order Home in Shepherd Park/ Washington DC
Currently for rent: the less common model “Honor,” Nr. P13071, a 1926 Sears Catalog House in Washington DC’s Shepherd Park Neighborhood

Oh, what thrill it was! The one-hundred-percent, doubt-free identification that we so rarely get to see! But just wait; we will get to that later.

This week’s historic kit home is actually a rare find, at least for Washington, DC (correct me, if I’m wrong–I’m always looking to make new discoveries). Once more, we located it in the Shepherd Park neighborhood in the northern tip of DC.

The bright home with its rather unusual roof line (worked-in layered arches above the windows) is a spacious Sears “Honor,” was built in 1926 (model number P13071), and it’s currently for rent through our company. (You can find more pictures at the listing link. Or find a virtual tour here.)

Sears "Honor" catalog page
More than some assembly required: Sears catalog page

The interior woodwork, floors and other details are pretty much intact and have been preserved nicely. Some modifications to the house appear to be original (Sears allowed for customization), such as the pantry and back porch addition off the kitchen that still features an original ice box that could be loaded from the outside. That way, a larger eat-in kitchen was created.

Likewise a possibly original modification is the configuaration of the three front bedrooms on the floor plan that have been made into two huge bedrooms (the dividing wall is now between the two windows that appear to belong to the middle bedroom).

But there have been modernizations as well: the bedroom above the kitchen for instance is now a generous master bath and walk-in closet.

Grease pencil markings on kit house
Pre-cut lumber, marked for use in the right place

Back to my thrilling moment: as the basement is still unfinished, we could go after the tell-tale signs and traces that might make it possible to truly authenticate the house.

My heart beat a lot faster when I discovered the blue grease pencil markings kit house historians always talk about! They were on different types of pre-cut lumber, behind the stairs for instance, or on some of the floor beams. The numbers all contained the sequence “13071” which was the catalog number in 1926.

Sears do-it yourself feature
Typical feature in Sears houses: block at the junction of baseboard and stair trim

Of course, there were a bunch of other Sears-typical identifiers, such as the vertical block between the baseboard and the stair trim at the bottom of the steps, that was thought to make the kit’s assembly easier for the not quite so skilled do-it-yourself carpenter. But the grease pencil truly made my day!!

The property manager, Judy Meyerson, had no idea that this was a kit house. But I hope she will pass my post on to the owners who are diplomats somewhere out in the world and couldn’t be asked yet.

And if you are a kit house enthusiast–here is your chance to live in one!

© 2011, Catarina Bannier

Original Source: Yes! Blue Grease Pencil! — My Historic Mail-Order Home Of The Week


4 thoughts on “Ever Wanted To Live In A Historic Sears Kit Home?

  1. My Great Aunt’s (and prior to that my Great Grandmother’s) home in Claymont, Delaware is a Sears Kit home. I know this because it was built by my Great Grandmother and her husband. It is currently bank owned and for sale.

    Not sure which model it is. I think instead of having a big front porch, half of the porch was made into a room which was used as my great-grandmother’s hair salon. Almost nothing has been done to it since it was built (although there is carpet covering the hardwood), so it has all of the tell-tale details. Here’s the MLS listing. http://www.cbpref.com/property/details/3093457/MLS-6291364/47-Manor-Ave-Claymont-DE-19703.aspx?IsBranded=1&AgentID=13604

    I wish there were better photos, but you could contact the realtor if you were interested in seeing more.

    1. Hi Jen, thanks for this! The pictures are indeed quite pitiful, and Google Streetview has the house pretty much completely obscured by trees. From what I can see, I would think it’s a Sears “Woodland,” and that was indeed still offered in the 1920s.
      In case you remember the house quite well, I’ll upload a catalog page here, or I’ll email it to you. Stay tuned…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s