Some People Can Just Watch TV…

But I’m not one of them.

Since 1981, I’ve worked for myself, owning a series of small businesses, some of which have been successful and some of which have not.  Currently, I only have one small business (“Gentle Beam Publications”) which publishes a handful of my own titles (such as “The Houses That Sears Built”).

All of which goes to explain why my #1 favorite show on Prime-Time TV is Undercover Boss.

Thursday afternoon, I finally got around to watching an episode which aired sometime earlier in the month (episode: “Epic Employees”), when I saw a house in the background that caught my eye. I hit the pause button on the DVR and took a closer look.

Next, I pulled out an old GVT catalog and thumbed through it, looking for the cute little house with the clipped gables and three dormers.

Sure enough, I was right. The house on Undercover Boss was a Gordon Van Tine kit home, Model #620.

For several months, I’d been hoping to find this model, as I’ve never seen one, and there it was. On TELEVISION!

Do you have a GVT Model #620 in your neighborhood? If so, please send me a photo!

And please do tell me, what is it like to be able to watch TV without studying all the houses in the background?  🙂

To read the next splendiferous blog, click here.

To learn more about how to identify kit homes, click here.

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house house house

The house shown in this scene from "Undercover Boss" is actually a kit home from Gordon Van Tine. What's it like to watch television without studying all the houses in the background? I do wonder about that sometimes. Strikes me as a little boring, actually!


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Close-up of the cute little house with the three dormers.



After seeing the house on television, I pulled up this image of GVT #620 (1927 catalog)!


house house

It was a darling little house with a good floor plan.



Note the three windows on the one side and the bay window on the side.



No doubt, it's the GVT #620 in the background. If you look close, you'll see the edge of the bay window with a shed dormer (just above the gray hair). What a fine little house!


According to the 1927 testimonial booklet (GVTs Proof of the Pudding), theres a #612 in

According to the 1927 testimonial booklet (GVT's "Proof of the Pudding"), there's a #620 in Palisades, NJ. And in this testimonial, they even give us an address!



And here's another GVT 620. This one is in Peshastin, Washington.


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The #620 in Peshastin was built by F. H. Tompkins.


Do you live near Peshastin or Palisades? If so, I’d love a photo!

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  1. Dale Wolicki

    And it’s one of the rarest GVT homes! It was only offered a few years right after World War One.

    There are a lot of houses that look like the #620 but the house on TV is exact, including the bay window.

    I once thought I saw a Sears House in the background during a rerun of Gilligan’s Island.

  2. Donna

    I found a Manchester once because it was the scene of a shooting and they showed it on the news!!

  3. Sears Homes

    @Dale Wolicki
    Dale, you are TOO funny!

    Donna, my husband tells me it’s a “handicap” to not be able to just watch TV without paying attention to all the houses that are shown.

    I’m not so sure that he’s right about that. 🙂

  4. Nicole

    Palisades Park is a town very close to New York City. But when I do map quest for that street I come up with nothing. I wonder if the street name is changed.

  5. Sears Homes

    That’s very interesting, Nicole. I hit the same brick wall. it’d be interesting to know what became of that fine little house.

  6. Rachel Shoemaker

    I spy a GVT #620 at 509 Palmetto Avenue in Melbourne Fla 😉

  7. Rachel Shoemaker

    @Rachel Shoemaker
    Well, how interesting! There are THREE Gordon Van Tine houses all together at that 509 Palmetto Ave address!

    I bet that empty lot had a GVT too. The corner house to the right is a Gordon Van Tine #613 (page 24 in the 1928 catalog) the garage in the back is a #107 (same catalog page 127).

    Then the #620 (that I mentioned last night – on same catalog page 25) and the house on the left is a #539 (same catalog page 102)
    Hopefully the historical society folks there will see this blog!

  8. magpie

    Huh. My 1920 house is really similar to the 620, but not quite.

    I know it’s GVT because we took out a window and it was marked. But the stairs are different.

  9. Eddie Browder

    Sadly the Gordon Van Tine kit home #613 and garage at 501 Palmetto Ave. was demolished this morning by the family. They own the residential lot next door and a commercial lot behind the house.

    This corner lot will probably become a parking lot one day. The famous 3 GVTs in a row (4 counting the garage) is down to 2 homes. What a loss for this neighborhood, Melbourne and all interested in kit homes!

  10. Patricia

    We have lived in the GVT #620 in Peshastin WA for the past 34 years. I just now found this old photo! It’s a wonderful house.

  11. Marc

    My maternal grandparents lived in the Peshastin GVT #620 when I was a youngster.

    I think they bought it in the early 50s, and moved in the 80s. Sold it to Patricia above. Hi Patricia. Boy, did they have the story wrong.

    They always said it was a Montgomery Ward house, and that the builder was named Thompson.

    Obviously you can’t see in the photo, but there was a railroad track that passed about 200 yards from the front of the house.

    I loved that house so much.

    They updated and modified and added on so much I doubt it looked much like intended after they sold it. Though Patricia and her family did a nice job restoring it.