In today’s real estate market, a house with a mere 768 square foot would be considered pretty small, but in the 1920s, it proved to be a very popular size. The Sears Sunlight had two diminutive bedrooms (12-feet by 10-feet) and a bathroom that was a mere 6-feet square.
An “expandable attic” was its saving grace. There was a little bit of room on the second floor to add an extra bedroom or two (for short people).
The Sunlight is a hard house to identify because it’s small and – frankly – it looks like every other tiny bungalow that was built in the early 1900s.
I’ve never identified one on my own, but Cindy Catanzara and Rebecca Hunter seem to be old pros at finding these little houses!
One distinctive feature is the small clipped gable on the front and rear, and the hipped roof on the front porch, which juts out a bit beyond than the primary exterior walls. Another visual clue is the small enclosed space on the rear, but that often disappears after some remodeling.
Many thanks to Cindy Catanzaro for supplying so many wonderful photos of Sunlights in Springfield, Ohio!
The Sunlight, as seen in the 1928 catalog.
Look at the size of those bedrooms!
The Sunlight (1928).
When I was in Elgin, Illinois in February 2010, Rebecca Hunter drove me out to this house and said, "Are you ready to see the most perfect Sunlight in the world?" It is in pristine condition and has been painstakingly restored. The homeowners have the original blueprints.
Another view of the perfect Sunlight in Elgin, IL.
Rebecca then drove me out to this Sunlight in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It's also in very good condition.
Cindy Catanzaro found this Sunlight in Springfield, Ohio. It's had some alterations, but is still identifiable as a Sunlight. Photo is copyright 2012 Cindy Catanzaro and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.
Another view of the Sunlight in Springfield. Photo is copyright 2012 Cindy Catanzaro and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.
This is an older picture showing a pretty little Sunlight that was feeling forlorn and forgotten. I'm happy to report that this home is now in the hands of a happy family who truly values the home's unique, historical origins. Photo is copyright 2012 Cindy Catanzaro and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.
Same house as shown above, this Sunlight is already starting to feel loved and cared for, thanks to its new owners! Photo is copyright 2012 Cindy Catanzaro and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.
And you might notice that this Sunlight has had an addition put on the back. As originally built, it had a mere 768 square feet. Photo is copyright 2012 Cindy Catanzaro and may not be used or reproduced without written permission.
Why did the bungalow become so popular so fast? Click here to read a fascinating bit of history.
To see more pictures of Sears Homes in Ohio, click here.
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Hi, I am so glad I found your blog, I’ve been reading it all day. I wanted to let you know that my husband and I are owners of a “The Fairy” (Sears Home).
If you would like photos and a pdf of the catalog page for you to use to write a blog, let me know via email.
Looking at this is really interesting. We live in the Sunlight house.
It is fun to see other houses just like ours.
Would love to send you picture.