Trending Property: Original Sears ‘Kit’ Home Up For Sale At McCandless



TSears Modern Homes kit and catalog homes were set to change the way Americans approached housing when the Osborn model of the Honor Bilt line was introduced in 1916.

Priced at $ 2,753, the Spanish Mission-style design featured stucco porches, partitions topped with brick copings “for color” and wooden columns. Two open porches and a rear sleeping porch have been marketed to nature lovers.

The advertisements presented the house as being “from the golden west”. Its generous windows, its 9-foot ceiling height and its single-storey accommodation were all the rage with the public. Capturing the imaginations of future owners, it remained in production until 1929.

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It also captivated Alicia Dallago, who first saw the Osborn model for sale at 8828 Memorial Drive in McCandless in 1998.

“I walked into this porch and fell in love,” she says. “I said:” I want this to stay. ‘”

At the time, Dallago was looking to downsize. She made a conditional offer on the Osborn and was only an hour away from the collapse of the whole deal when she received a firm offer on her other home.

“That in itself was a message to me that this would be my home,” she says.

Despite his continued love for the home, Dallago moves again – this time, to be near his son.

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Her two-bedroom, one-bathroom home is listed at $ 247,000 (MLS # 1520628, Michelle Bushée of Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty, 412 / 585-2451, It is open by appointment.

Many North Hills residents already know the house from Dallago’s long-time business, Alicia Photography, which operated from the location for 22 years. Today, Dallago works remotely in the restoration of old photographs.

“I was the only female photographer in the region when I opened my studio,” she recalls. “It was the perfect setting to live and work.

Sitting on half an acre, the bungalow retains the original imprint. The exterior has a stucco finish, original brick detailing and a beautiful wood porch floor finished in marine varnish.

“I have spent many years sailing,” says Dallago, originally from Argentina. “I varnished every three or four years. It’s great, you don’t need to sand between coats.

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Once inside, the 24-by-12-square-foot living room offers a lot of flexibility, with seating on the left and right. The original fireplace has been converted to gas and features the original threshold and mantel. A pair of pocket doors with brass handles is classically beautiful and practical.

“If I took pictures of a dog, I would close the doors and say, ‘Let him go. He needs to go everywhere and get to know the place, ”says Dallago. “The same with children. It was very convenient. ”

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The 13 by 15 square foot dining room leads to the lanai. The layout fills the room with light from the interior and exterior multi-pane windows. The woodwork, baseboards and floors are original for the house, allowing the space to really shine.

In the 9-by-14-square-foot kitchen, a previous owner has taken on a renovation. While the footprint remains the same, modern conveniences such as a dishwasher, stainless steel appliances, and new countertops have been added. New oak cabinets with cathedral door fronts are a nice addition to the room’s original wood paneling and wood floors.

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A rear hallway leads to the utility room. Another door leads into the back yard, where Dallago has installed a tiered patio and pergola that takes advantage of the natural landscaping she has cultivated for years.

“I installed a waterfall and planted wild flowers. It creates an atmosphere in the yard, ”says Dallago. “You see all the trees and at night when the lightning is out. It is so beautiful.”

The setting was also the perfect place for the portrait.

“Wildflowers grow and every five or six years you cut them, weed and fertilize. Then they push back even harder, ”explains Dallago.

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Back inside, two 12-by-10-square-foot bedrooms hold more stories. One bedroom has a wooden storage cupboard from when the house was built.

“One of the previous owners was a watchmaker and it was in this room that he had his store,” explains Dallago. “At that time, travelers were using the old Route 19 to get to Butler and spend the night in this room. ”

The single bathroom has a tub / shower combination. The house also has steam heating and central air conditioning.

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An attic room has been converted into a bonus room. The 38 by 8 square foot space is the width of the house and is painted gray with gray vinyl flooring. It is lit by fluorescent light boxes designed to resemble windows.

“I finished this space to store my photos and used it as a sewing room. I insulated the walls and it is heated and air conditioned, ”explains Dallago. “I adjusted the temperature of the light to mimic daylight.”

The house has many fond memories for Dallago. She intends to preserve the history of the house and is determined to pass it on to the next owner as such, including the veranda that makes a Pittsburgh winter a wonderland.

“This veranda was my garden in winter. I would be there if it snowed, she said, I would open the blinds and watch the snow fall. It was just beautiful.

Hot Property is an inside look at the unique and historic homes on the market. Each week, Hot Property passes behind the For Sale sign to share the story of a special Pittsburgh area home. And four times a year, Hot Property provides an in-depth look at the area’s real estate market in Pittsburgh HOME Magazine, tracking home prices and sales, and detailing where hot properties are located. Rosa can be contacted at [email protected]

Everything about Sears kit houses

The year was 1895.

Sears, Roebuck & Co. was arguably one of the largest retailers in the world, and the Sears catalog sold everything from graphophone speaking machines to clothing, furniture, and personal items such as eyeglasses. The catalog pages even included a self-test for “old eyesight, myopia and astigmatism”.

In 1897, the Sears Catalog added a hardware and building material section that sold and delivered everything needed to build a building, including barns, sheds, and even outbuildings.

In 1906, building materials were no longer profitable and Sears considered closing the department permanently. Then came Frank W. Kushel, former director of the porcelain department. He took over the Builders Hardware section and had one revelation – he could ship building materials straight from the factory and save on storage costs.

It worked.

In 1908, Sears published its first “Book of Modern Houses and Building Plans”. Featuring an initial offering of 22 home models, the homes in the catalog were priced from $ 650 to $ 2,500, according to Sears Archives.

Modern home building innovations such as asphalt shingles, drywall, and pre-cut lumber allowed customers to tackle the ultimate DIY when the 25 ton homes arrived by train. Buildings quickly became known as kit houses thanks to a 75-page manual that guided builders through the part-by-part assembly process.

By 1910, design styles had broadened and gas and lighting appliances were offered. In 1920, Sears averaged nearly 125 homes per month. The Honor Bilt line of homes consisted of four-season homes with custom interior trim, siding and options. Architectural styles included Mission, Colonial, Tudor, Ranch, and Cottage, to name a few. By the time Sears ended the program, more than 100,000 Honor Bilt homes had been built in America.

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