Recently a small group of Sears House friends and I had a brief discussion about original details on the houses we had located. After some thought, and going back through my hundreds of photos of Sears Houses, I have decided that a Sears Vallonia model in Springdale is the house with the most original details that I have ever seen.
The Vallonia was a very popular model for Sears, Roebuck and Co. It was first shown in the 1920 catalog. It may have been in the 1919, but I don’t have access to that year. Yet. It was not in the 1918, for sure, so I am going with 1920 right now.
Here’s the illustration from the 1920 Sears Modern Homes Catalog.
It was offered as an eight room bungalow. Here’s the floor plan from that same year, 1920.
Sears continued to offer the Vallonia all the way up to their last Modern Home catalog, 1940, with few changes.
The 1925 catalog shows the house from the same angle, but states that the house can now be purchased as a five or eight room bungalow. The eight room plan includes a finished second floor, which would add $237.00 to the cost of the house kit. The dormer and the second floor windows are a bit larger now, which would surely let in more light and air. The details state the house has been built in hundreds of locations.
The 1930 catalog illustration is probably my favorite view, as it shows the house from the dining room side.
You’re probably wondering about that Vallonia in Springdale by now.
This Vallonia was built reversed from the catalog offering. This option was available on most Sears Houses at no additional cost. This buyer also added a fireplace in the living room.
Check out all the original details on this home. It has those distinctive front porch pillars, which are found on several Sears models. It has the original front porch railing, and that is pretty rare.
All the windows are original and it retains all the eave brackets and decorative details on the rafter tails.
Just for fun, I changed the catalog image and the photo of the house to all black and white, just to compare.
One more original detail is the keystone block on the slightly curved beam above the front porch. This was seen on several other Sears models, but many times has been covered over by aluminum or vinyl siding. Sears researcher and friend, Donna Bakke, called it “the notch”.
The keystone was shown in the early years, from 1920 to 1926, but was missing in the later years. Since this Vallonia was built in 1924, it has it. Here’s a close up view of the front of the house from the 1925 catalog, showing all the great details including the keystone.
And here’s the comparison. One other thing is, this Vallonia has double windows on each side of the front door. This was never shown in the catalog images, but quite a few Vallonias in the Cincinnati area were built that way. Maybe the salesman in that area was a bit OCD, and wanted to make the house look more symmetrical.
Here’s a straight on view of the front of the house.
Here’s a close up of the right side of the front porch so we can see those original details a bit better.
If you look at the front window carefully, you will notice a small bit of hardware at each top corner. I’m pretty sure this is for the optional screens and storm windows that you could purchase as an add-on to your house kit.
Here’s a close up of the dormer.
I haven’t met the home owner of this wonderful Sears House, but I hope they know what a gem they have, and plan to keep it as it is. If you are in the Cincinnati area, have a look next time you drive down Sharon Rd.,