Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sears Vallonia in Ferndale, Michigan

Wendy and I with Nicole Curtis and Tessa.
Tessa is a cancer survivor who Nicole and her fans
have helped support through fundraisers. 
Wendy and I were in Ferndale, Michigan recently to tour the latest project by Nicole Curtis. You may know her from her show "Rehab Addict" where she primarily restores (versus renovates) old homes back to their original glory. As homeowners who consider ourselves as caretakers of our Sears catalog house, we've always been fans of her approach. She respects the historic character of the homes she works on and attempts to maintain that character versus the gut and modernize approach you often see in many home "improvement" shows. I knew from my list of Sears mortgages for Oakland County that there is a Sears Vallonia on the same block as Nicole's project house. After we finished our tour of the house, Wendy and I walked down the block to take a couple photos of the Vallonia.

Image courtesy of
We know from the mortgage records that this Sears Vallonia had a mortgage between Albert Schlegel and Walker O. Lewis, Trustee for Sears Roebuck for $3,600 in April 1926. Since we know that homes were typically completed within 3 to 6 months after the financing was completed, it's likely that this house is celebrating its 90th birthday this year!

1626 Pearson - Ferndale, Michigan - Sears Vallonia
The Vallonia was one of the most popular, if not the most popular, of the Sears catalog house models. Just in 1926, seven Vallonias in Oakland County were financed with mortgages through Sears Roebuck. Its enduring popularity helps explain why the Vallonia continued to appear in the Sears Modern Homes catalog well after the Arts and Crafts style that it was based on had largely fallen out of favor with home buyers. 

Catalog image of Sears Vallonia (1925)
Image courtesy of
As you can see from the photos, this Vallonia has lost some of its distinct architectural elements like the "Sears" porch columns and the porch beam with its "keystone" that were wrapped in aluminum and the distinctive balusters on the porch railings that were replaced. However, you can still see where the exposed rafter tails are located on the dormer and the sides of the house. This house also has a bay window on each side of the house where the standard floorplan only has one in the dining room. We've seen this change on other Vallonias including the Sears Vallonia in Northville, Michigan. Customers could request these minor changes to the house design that Sears would accomodate for an additional cost to reflect the change in plans and materials. 

1626 Pearson - Ferndale, Michigan - Sears Vallonia
In addition to the Vallonia on Pearson Street, Ferndale is home to quite a few houses from Sears. We'll be highlighting some of these homes at our upcoming presentation at the Huntington Woods Public Library. Know of any other kit houses in Ferndale? Let us know in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. This is so cool! I bought this house in 2021 and it’s so cool to know the history of it! Thank you!