This house is on the Master List of Sears Homes as a Dundee model, and it is one.
But here’s the deal. I was in Cincinnati yesterday with a friend (who loves my Sears House habit), and she drove me around a bit, checking out a few of the houses on Joseph St. in Mt. Healthy, before attending a birthday party nearby. I was taking photos of this house (and the one next door) when the owner came out. Bob. He already knew it was a Sears House because they had bought it from the family of the original owner, who passed along the history. He didn’t, however, know what model it was. We chatted for a minute, then I headed on down the street to get photos of several other Sears Houses that are also on our list.
I was just finishing up getting my photos, ready to hop in Gretchen’s car and head for the birthday bash, when I saw a woman waving at me from down the street. So, of course, I headed back towards The Dundee, and discovered it was Mrs. Bob. She had a question. Did I know what the house looked like originally? The home had been added onto, sometime in the 1950’s, they knew, but she had always wondered how the rooms were arranged before the addition.
Fortunately, I had brought along several of my research books, so I grabbed my copy of the reprint of the 1926 Sears Modern Home catalog out of the car, and turned to the page showing The Dundee.
Mrs Bob had a look, and said that it still didn’t seem quite right, based on the current room arrangement, and I’d better come on in and see what was what.
In we go. She was right. The original part of the house didn’t quite match up with the 1926 catalog floor plan, even though some of the rooms had been repurposed.
Hmmmmm……..I promised to do some further research when I got home, and see if I could find another floor plan for the Dundee, or an alternate model that was similar.
And I did. Find an alternate floor plan for The Dundee. Well, not really an alternate, I guess, but an earlier one. And it was one that had no bathroom!
Lets compare the two floor plans, 1920 and 1926.
In order to make room for a bathroom in The Dundee, Sears added square footage to the back right hand corner of the house, and reconfigured the layout of the bedrooms. They squeezed in a super small bathroom, and added a short hallway in between the bedrooms for added privacy. In the original floor plan, without the bathroom, the bedrooms opened directly off the kitchen and living room. No wasted space there!
Now, back to the real Sears Dundee in Mt Healthy.
I’m no good with those photo shop programs that let you add lines, circles, pointers, etc., so I won’t waste my time and get frustrated trying to do that. I’ll just make an attempt at explaining what I think happened with the Dundee on Joseph St.
The exterior footprint of the house matches the plan in the 1920 catalog, the one with no bathroom. The living room is in the correct place, and the front bedroom door is off the living room, right inside the entry door. The original kitchen is now the dining room, and the wall between those two rooms has been widened to make it more open and light. Off the back of the new dining room is the original stairway to the basement. To the right of the old kitchen/new dining room space, originally the back bedroom, there are now two rooms. One is a small galley kitchen, at the rear, and the other is the bathroom, larger than the one in the 1926 floor plan. There is no little hallway. The house does not have the added square footage shown in the 1926 floor plan.
So that’s pretty much it for the original part of the house, which is lovely. It retains all the original doors and trim boards, unpainted and glowing just like new. The house also has the Stratford design hardware that is listed as being included with The Dundee in the catalogs.
What we don’t know, is whether this room change was made at time of build, or was done when the house had an addition put on in the 1950’s. If the rooms were changed at construction time, that would mean there was an alternate floor plan available for The Dundee that wasn’t shown in the catalog, or the house was customized by the purchaser at time of ordering. Either way, when it was done, all the doors and closets were kept in the original positions, except for the back bedroom as that room was re-purposed.
Interesting. If the house did have those room changes made at construction time, it would have had only one bedroom to begin with.
Here’s a current photo of the house, which shows the addition on the left side of the home.
Thanks to Bob and his wife for allowing me in their lovely Sears Dundee, and thanks to my friend Gretchen for waiting patiently while I got an unexpected house tour.