Is my 1915 Foursquare a kit home?

Questions, answers and advice for people who own or work on houses built during the 20th century.

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subetterly
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:48 am
Location: New Jersey

Is my 1915 Foursquare a kit home?

Post by subetterly »

We were told the Foursquare we recently bought (in Princeton, NJ) was a Sears home, but after researching the Sears floor plans, I didn't find a match. Perhaps it is from another company.

It's a small, two and a half story Foursquare with attic dormers on 3 sides of the roof. It has 3 bedrooms and a bath on the second floor and a standard layout on the first floor.

HOWEVER, the dining room has two window on the outside wall with 4' of wall space between them, united by a stained glass panel under a continuous molding. The space below the stained glass panel is blank wall space (between the two windows) as if designed for a built-in buffet or similar piece that would fit between the windows under the panel. I couldn't find a single floor plan for a kit home that had this window arrangement. I believe it is the original window arrangement because the moldings are all original.

Has anyone seen this window arrangement in a smallish kit home Foursquare? We have found no lumber stamps, distinctive hinges, etc. to help in identifying the home.

The outside has been stripped of its porch and given new siding and it looks awful. But the inside still has charm.....

squareheaddonna
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Location: Cincinnati, OH

Post by squareheaddonna »

A picture is worth a bazillion words and we love pics here! Post some and we can try to figure it out! And welcome!

Donna

subetterly
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:48 am
Location: New Jersey

Pictures....

Post by subetterly »

Thanks Donna -

I'll post pictures as soon as I figure out how to get them from the digital camera into my computer......

asiedydd
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Post by asiedydd »

It's possible that it might be built from plans and parts from Sears. If 1915 is correct, it wouldn't be built from the ready-made "kit".

In 1906 Sears sold building supplies through their catalog.
In 1908 building plans were added.
In 1909 folks could purchase the plans and the exact materials in a package.
In 1916, ready-made (pre-cut) kits were first introduced.

RosemaryT
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sears homes

Post by RosemaryT »

Yes, a picture is actually worth about 25,000 words in this case. :)

Rose
author, The Houses That Sears Built

subetterly
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:48 am
Location: New Jersey

ca 1915 Foursquare - Kit Home?

Post by subetterly »

I am searching the records at our building department to get an exact date for the house construction. We were told circa 1915. I've added some photos.

The porch was removed by a previous owner. The dormers still have the original shingles but the rest of the exterior siding has been changed. The downstairs windows are now vinyl (with broken seals....) but the upstairs windows are original. The roof is slate (in drastic need of repair) with interesting metal ridge caps (now rusted through). The interior walls between the parlor and dining room were removed by po, along with any engaged columns or built ins it may have had. The pocket doors between the foyer and parlor are intact.

My hus and I probably can't restore it to its original look (due to the ridiculous price we paid for it in Princeton borough), but I would like to try to restore some of its charm, or at least not desecrate it further as we make changes. My hus would love to put a porch back on it.

I thought the dining area window arrangement might be distinctive to a particular kit home and I would appreciate any comments.

Susan


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nathanaelgreene
Posts: 183
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Post by nathanaelgreene »

my brother has a sears craftsman bungalow. He found out is was a sears because when he was redoing the upstairs he noticed that the supports, etc. had numbers on them as to be a guide for construcion.
Rescue, Restore and Reuse.

RosemaryT
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kit

Post by RosemaryT »

It's not a Sears kit home. I'll let Dale give the definitive answer about it being an Aladdin or GVT (but I'm guessing it's not one of them either).

Rose
author, The Houses That Sears Built

S Melissa
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Post by S Melissa »

Nonetheless - it is a wonderful old house and you are approaching the whole thing just right. There may be things you can't do to reverse some of it's "mis-fortunes" that happened in the past - but you can move forward towards putting anything you do - as being done properly - and any repairs that you approach - like the roof - as being done properly. If you think of renovation as moving forward in phases - do the best you can for the money you have to spend - you'll not only preserve the integrity of the house as it stands, but you will improve the re-sale value of the house down the line.

Do check and see if NJ has a tax credit program for historic house restoration - or if Princeton might too. I used to know one of the members of the Princeton Historic District Commission - Jim Constintine - he works for Looney Ricks Kiss - an architectural and planning office - and they worked on a project across the road from me in Canton MI - Cherry Hill Village - anyway - Jim is a wonderful resource and passionate about old houses. I would imagine with someone of his caliber on the HDC there might be programs that could assist you in one way or another! Best of luck!
Melissa
Canton, MI
1860 Italianate - Reuben Huston Home
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aed
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 9:50 pm
Location: middletown, ny

Is it a kit?

Post by aed »

Hi! I agree, it is a beautiful house! Your floors look great, & I love the pocket doors & staircase also. I'm just curious, Rose or Dale, since kit companies would customize their plans on request do you think the original owners wanted to incorporate their own stained glass window & one of their own pieces of furniture on that dining room wall? So, perhaps what would have been a triple window (which we have in our dining room) was altered? I couldn't see any door hardware, so I wanted to attach a picture of our Aladdin hardware in case there was a match. The stamping on the bottom of the floor board was located in my basement. Also, just a design question--where did the original front porch end? Is it just me or does the house look "right" without one? Are those front steps brick? Is there an open or enclosed porch in the rear?

I agree with Melissa (who has offered me some encouragement lately)--anything that you do to respect the history of the house & bring a little of that back is a worthwhile project! Good luck with your search, & enjoy your home! Anne

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"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it" ~ George Moore

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