"Not So Big" House Lifestyle

Sears Catalog Historic Craftsman

award winning home remodelThe current owners purchased this 900 sq. ft. one bedroom/one bath Sears Catalog Home in horrible condition.  A century of runoff from the street and uphill parcels, poor drainage, and no waterproofing left the northern wall of this original Craftsman completely rotten.  To make matters worse, the previous owner had started then abandoned a poorly executed remodel, leaving the house open to the elements for two years.

The new owners loved the character of their “Bungalow District” neighborhood, its walking distance to downtown, and proximity to good schools. They wanted to bring back Craftsman features lost over time; convert the former basement into additional living space for their growing family; and, improve the home’s comfort, health and efficiency.  Every inch of the house was touched to achieve these goals.

An excellent example of the “Not So Big House” lifestyle, the final 1,400 sq. ft., three bedroom/two bath home lies in the footprint of the original Sears Craftsman home.  This is the largest home in which the owners, who relocated from Boston and previously lived in New York and London, have ever lived.

But having a small space doesn’t mean you have to forgo anything in your life.  The original 900 sq. ft. floor plan was very odd with a small living room, kitchen, laundry room, two bedrooms, and a large bathroom that could only be accessed through one of the bedrooms.  The owners opened the space to create a “small but grand” room—including the living room, dining area and kitchen—along with just one bedroom and a bathroom upstairs.  A new stairway leads downstairs to two new bedrooms, a bathroom, a playroom for their three children, a laundry room, and substantial crawlspace for storage.  The small backyard features a patio, playground, and an edible landscape with multiple fruit trees, including meyer lemon, blood orange, satsuma tangerine, mulberries, espalier fig, and tangerine trees. They even have blueberry bushes!  Their garage is up the street – in a parking area shared with eleven other Sears Catalog bungalow homes – where the owners store myriad sports paraphernalia and are even building a small boat.

These owners love to cook. One of the favorite elements of their remodeled home is the new French La Canche oven. Coming from France, this piece had the longest lead time and was ordered months in advance.  Everything had to be readied sight unseen. The concern was whether adequate space was allocated and gas hookups located properly.  It all fit perfectly and now family and friends are enjoying home cooked epicurean delights.

Download One SheetArchitect: Blackbird | Designer: Jessica Risko Smith | Photographer: Jim Bartsch