The Sears “Barrington” was not a very rare or unusual model. In fact, the style was so popular in the late 1920s that several other companies, including Montgomery Wards, offered similar-looking mail-order houses. This 1930 Sears “Barrington,” however, is just like we want to see them. We have so often complained about renovations that strip those dear old homes of their charm and character, add generic additions, or “modernize” in a way that violates the style of the house.
This house, however, which just hit the market (listed with our very own office for $1,049,000 ) is an absolutely beautiful example of how it can be done right. While there is a two-story addition in the back, it’s not out of proportion to the rest of the home. The whole design was inspired by the original part of the house, even the new window moldings are crafted to match the old ones in the front.
Just as nice is the fact that much of the historic Sears mail-order detail was preserved, even some quirky things that have long disappeared from our lifestyle. Take the built-in phone booth in the entry hall, for instance. According to the 1930 Sears catalog, it was supposed to “solve the problem” of “where will we place our phone?” That probably won’t be necessary for 2014 cordless handsets, but a great touch to respect it as part of the home’s integrity.
A similarly authentic piece is the corner cabinet in the dining room that came shipped with the houses neatly packed 1,000s of pieces as well. The catalog image (below) even shows the same lead glass panes.
Kitchen and baths are new, but they, too, work with the essence of the style. It certainly can be done, but it’s not usually what we get to see! And some changes to the layout might actually be practical improvements, like an arched break-through from the hall to the kitchen. Beats carrying groceries through the living room, at least in my book.
The main stairs still sport the unique Sears-invented plinth blocks for the lay builder. There’s no doubt about the authenticity of this one!
You can see a Virtual Tour of the whole house here. And as always, if you’d like to see this historic kit house in person, just let us know and we’ll get you in!
Do you think you live in a kit house? We’d love to hear about it: