Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sears Hamilton in Waterford, Michigan

101 Cristy - Waterford, Michigan - Sears Hamilton
Recently, Wendy and I were driving home from doing a couple of presentations on kit houses when our drive home took us through Waterford, Michigan. I took a short detour to share with her a kit house I knew she would recognize immediately. Like our house, this kit house on Cristy Street in Waterford is a Sears Hamilton! Like our house, it still has many of the distinctive features of the Hamilton model. This Sears Hamilton in Waterford, Michigan was built around 1928 and is located in the "Crescent Lake Highlands" subdivision.

The Sears Hamilton was a popular model for Sears Roebuck. It was first offered in 1921 and continued to be featured in the Sears Modern Homes catalog through 1931. While Sears made some minor changes to the interior floor plan and exterior elements, the Hamilton remained largely the same design over the 10 years that it was offered by Sears.

Catalog image of Sears Hamilton (1931)

The Hamilton is often mistaken for the Sears Starlight as they both had a distinctive dormer with clipped gables on the front of the house. But where the Starlight had a porch across the entire front of the house, the Hamilton's porch only occupied half of the front of the house. To add to the challenge of identifying the houses, the porches on both models were often enclosed, as was done with this house.

Catalog image of Sears Starlight (1920)
Image courtesy of Lara Solonicke
The Hamilton is larger in size than the Starlight and it features a dining room bump-out, again with a distinctive clipped gable design.

Dining room bump out with clipped gable roof on the left side of the house

Because the landscaping kept us from getting a clear view of the left side of the house in Waterford, here's what that side of the Hamilton looks like on our house in Novi. In this view, you can clearly see the dining room bump out and distinctive roof line. 

24740 Taft Rd - Novi, Michigan - Sears Hamilton
On the back of the house, a breakfast nook and back entry extend the footprint of the house, a difference that helps distinguish the Hamilton from the Starlight.

Catalog image of the floor plan for the Sears Hamilton (1925)
Image courtesy of
As you can see from the photos, this Sears Hamilton has the standard floor plan. Our Sears Hamilton in Novi has a reversed floor plan.

101 Cristy - Waterford, Michigan - Sears Hamilton
I first discovered this Sears Hamilton a couple of years ago when I came across a real estate listing for the house and recognized it right away. Any doubts were quickly quashed when I saw that the fireplace had the same mantel and brick pattern as the fireplace in our house. The real estate listing photos are still available online if you want to see the inside of the house. Some of the original elements like the fireplace mantel and the window bench seat in the dining room can be seen in the photos. It's also nice to see that much of the interior trim hasn't been painted over as so often happens with houses that are "renovated".

Interior view of the built-in window seat in the dining room
Image courtesy of Zillow

While I was 99.9% sure that this was a Sears Hamilton, I was able to authenticate the house when I found a mortgage with Sears Roebuck in the mortgage records at Oakland County. The mortgage between Sears Trustee Walker O. Lewis and James I. Russell was for $4,000 and dated August 1928. 

101 Cristy - Waterford, Michigan - Sears Hamilton
It's always exciting to find kit houses but the Sears Hamilton will always be extra special for us. Do you know of any kit houses in your area? If so, let us know!


  1. How rewarding to find the mortgage for this one, especially!

  2. I like how the entry was enclosed but someone wanted to create another one. Makes it more welcoming.

    1. It makes a nice little seating area too. It's a quiet neighborhood by a lake.

  3. How many real life photos of Hamilton models do you have now? I know Wendy had a goal..........

    1. I haven't done a count recently but probably a couple dozen. I believe Wendy wants 100!