Offered between 1913 and 1918, the Sears Hawthorne was a somewhat ungainly-looking Craftsman style bungalow which was not a huge seller. It was essentially the one-and-a-half story version of the Sears Avondale which was far more popular with kit house buyers and available for over a decade. This Hawthorne is not to be confused with a much later Colonial Revival kit house given the same name by Sears and sold from 1931-33.

The house recently appeared on Old House Dreams and its bulky lines looked oddly familiar… a quick glance through Houses by Mail confirmed my suspicions. The house we’re about to look at was customized and varies somewhat from the published plans. The most obvious difference is the large mass built out over the porch roof. Too large to be a dormer, but not quite a full-height story, either, the space is awkwardly somewhere in-between. It might have looked better if the wrap-around pent roof had been eliminated. Let’s look around!

As marketed, the Hawthorne had a half-story with two rooms, neither of which were on the front. It looks sharp painted a dark color, presumably brown. Image source:
The floor plan reveals the numerous custom alterations which were made. Here, the colonnade was abandoned in favor of a wide pocket door and the staircase was simplified. Image source:
The living room fireplace is ornamented with pressed brick. Note the barely visible bits of stained glass flanking it. Image source: via
While the fireplace is not of the same tapered design shown on this catalog page, we can see that the same pressed brick shapes were used in construction of the fireplace. Image source:
Here’s a better view of the stained glass window… there are three of them in the living room. They are each a bit wider than the illustration shown in the 1912 Building Material and Millwork catalog published by Sears. Image source: via
The window pattern is seen in the lower left of this catalog page. Image source:
Built-in book cases are below two of the stained glass windows (washed out in this photo). Note the doorway at right… Image source: via
This doorway was substituted for the colonnade shown on the floor plan. Image source: via
And this is the pocket door used instead. Image source:
All of the architectural elements in this room are in the Sears millwork catalog… Image source: via
We are advised that the Craftsman China Closet and Buffet is “being installed in high priced flats and the finer class of residences”. Image source:
Quite a complex plate rail! Image source:
The center door is found in the house as well. Image source:
The front door is at right. The door to the left is likely a later alteration but may have been part of the original customized design Image source: via
The front door is at right, with beveled glass. Image source:
French doors are also found in the catalog, as is the hardware, below. Image source: via
The Stratford design was used here, a mid-range option. Image source:
Fortunately “work” on the house stopped upstairs before the main floor was impacted. It appears that the original walls and ceilings here were made of “Peerless Wall Board”, a sandwich of fiber board and asphalt. At least no plaster was destroyed here and removal will pave the way for better installation of insulation. Image source: via
This material is found in many older houses, particularly in attic conversions. It tended to sag over time, and is often replaced with sheetrock. Image source:
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