Romantic Rodessa in Northwest DC’s Kent

If Cati and I had our druthers, we would write about local kit houses on a weekly basis (this has  always been the goal).  Work, however, has a way of interfering with our plans.  I guess we shouldn’t complain!

So, about three weeks ago I headed out with my trusty tape measure to pay a visit to 5414 Hawthorne Place, NW in the District, right along MacArthur Blvd. Had I been a bit speedier with my posting, some of you might have chanced a visit.  As it stands now, the Sears Rodessa (see a pdf of the original catalog page here) bungalow is under contract.  Rats.

Built in 1925, this modified “Rodessa” (click here for MLS pictures) offers up 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths.  It would appear that it started off with a simple 2 bedrooms and 1 full bath (hey- count your blessings. Sears also offered a version without a privy).  Along the way, someone added some really unfortunate faux-stone siding, which remains to this day.  At the same time, they appear to have expanded the front porch to accommodate the massive FormStone® posts, so perhaps it was a good trade-off?  Naah.

Identifying this Sears Rodessa was pretty easy, given all of the clues (again, see pictures at the very bottom of this post):

  • Many exterior finishes survived the not-so-pretty faux stone dress: the exposed pegged rafters under the clipped gable roof and decorative blind boards for instance
  • The front door matches the exact classic bungalow-style door in the Sears catalog.  With 8-glass panels sitting atop a small “shelf”, this one is in the bag
  • The original Sears medicine cabinet with its plain bottom and three-member crown… a dead give-away
  • All the interior window and door trim and much of the hardware (such as the “Stratford” door plates–see pictures in the slideshow below) are preserved, and some are more unusual, for instance the “door butts” or closet hinges.  To be honest, these had us fooled, until Cati spied them in a long lost catalog
  • Many exterior finishes survived the not-so-pretty faux stone dress: the exposed pegged rafters under the clipped gable roof and decorative blind boards for instance
  • The measurements of all the (unaltered) rooms in the front of the house “check out,” meaning, a clone would not adhere to Sears specs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kent is a popular, if not sleepy little section of Washington, DC.  While it’s hard to know how the Hawthorne house came to the neighborhood, remnants of the old Capitol Transit #20 trolley line (Union Station to Cabin John) are to be found throughout the Palisades, the neighborhood next to Kent. The #20 was a popular route though the Palisades out to the Glen Echo Amusement Park. Chances are strong that the Sears kit house was transported on this very rail line.

 

 

 

 

 

If you think you’ve got a kit house, or if you are interested in living in a kit house- get in touch!  Fill out the form below, or give us a call (yup, we still answer our phones).