Archangel Of A House–Sears Uriel In Silver Spring For Sale

Historic Sears mail-order house on Silver Spring MDToday’s Kit House Of The Week is cute as a button, and it got me excited for another reason as well: it’s a 1923 Sears “Uriel,” a model I had actually never been in.

Page from 1922 Sears catalog

In fact, I once set out to search for a specimen of the Uriel’s very similar successor, the “Conway,” and was bitterly disappointed to find a nondescript 2-storey box that barely even let you recognize the footprint of the foundation. It was a house in Northeast Washington, DC, that had been used for a testimonial in the 1926 (!) catalog of Sears “Honor Bilt Modern Homes.” Perhaps that’s material for a whole other blog post.

Now, this 1923 Uriel kit house, sitting in a close-in little neighborhood between Kensington, Chevy Chase and Silver Spring, surely made up for it. It came on the market a couple of weeks ago, listed by Jonathan Karpa of L & F for $425,000. Apart from some recently replaced (and a little too shiny) hardwood floors on the entry level, much of the original woodwork and period detail has been preserved, including some Arts and Crafts-type trim on the exterior.  You can find the virtual tour here.

As the house is built against a hill, the front porch is almost on street level (and thus has no railing) while the southwest-facing back has a bright walk-out basement that’s finished and has an extra bath. You’ll find one cute or surprising feature after the other–a breakfast room addition for instance, that overlooks the deep yard and parkland. Or some kind of cabana over the patio in the backyard. (I imagine some lovely mosquito curtains and a sweet summer night breeze to go with it.)

This kit house-crazed Realtor can’t ever help herself when showing or viewing candidates: I must try to find some traces of the home’s past. (The “sleuthing,” as one of my clients calls it, clearly is the most exciting part of my occupation.)

Sears Uriel--construction marks
The famous blue grease pencil marks, a tell-tale sign your home was once ordered by mail.

And in this case, I did! There was but one (!) tiny little corner of the basement unfinished. Actually, not unfinished but you could get a glimpse of the floor beams where somebody was trying to make room for a pipe or cable. And what did we see? Blue grease pencil markings, just like the ones on the Sears Honor in Shepherd Park. There were letters, check marks and short lines. I couldn’t figure out what they said–feel free to speculate. But needless to say, it made my day.

If you’re looking for a rather affordable house with charm and an air of history in easy commuting distance to downtown DC (it’s near Beach Drive and the Capital Crescent Trail), this might be a great opportunity. As always, let me know if you want to see it!

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