Friday, November 24, 2017

Sears Sherburne In Nevada, Iowa

snow-covered Sears Sherburne Nevada Iowa
Probable Sears Sherburne (No. 187) • 1915 •  Nevada, Iowa

Sears Sherburne catalog image in color
Sears Sherburne (No. 187) (Thanks, Daily Bungalow!)
This wonderful 1915 home was shared with me by its owners, Andrew and Sarah. They were pretty certain that they had a Sears No. 187 (later known as the Sherburne), but they wanted a second opinion... especially since their fireplace was on the other side of the house, from where it's shown in the catalog image. See? This catalog image looks so much like the house photo... until you realize that there is no side door or raised bump-out with two windows, above that side door. In fact, the placement of windows on this side is all wrong. That's because we're looking at the opposite side of the house, as this house has had its floor plan reversed... except for the fireplace. So, inside the house, the layout is opposite of that shown in the floor plan, however the fireplace is on the opposite wall from where the original layout places it. Normally, it would be next to the beautiful staircase that you have in the Sherburne, but, instead, there is a nice big window on that wall.

Let's take a look at the original floor plan:
Sears Sherburne catalog floor plan
I've indicated, with an arrow, where the fireplace is located in our Sherburne in Nevada, Iowa. You can see, as well, that fireplace ends up on the same side of the house as the dining room bump-out, with its three windows. You can see that bump-out on the house photo above-- but, the whole floor plan is flipped.

I ran across a video posted on YouTube by SuperPalamara, that is a sort of 3-D drawing video of the Sherburne. This image is from that video, and it gives you a better idea of the layout of the living room. The staircase and the fireplace are not accurate in design, but they are accurate in placement.

Sears Sherburne Super Palamara living room image

Here is the actual 5-minute video-- it's great how it shows all of the sides of the house, and takes you inside, to give you a feel for how the rooms are laid out:
The developer of the video mentions that this is the 1913 Sears Sherburne, so I'm assuming that he has seen the catalog image that is posted on the Sears Archives page: 
sears 187 1913 on sears archives
Source: Sears Archives
The House In Nevada, Iowa
Since I  have the luxury of having some wonderful photos sent to me by the current owners, let's take a look.

This shows the side of the house where the fireplace would normally be situated. You can see the side entry door, and the bump-out that is for the staircase there:
Sears Sherburne front
The owners sent this great view of the front of the house, which reveals the nice Craftsman door that is hiding behind the storm door in the image below. You can also see that, up in the huge dormer, one of the openings is actually a door. Those are the two upstairs front bedrooms there, and I imagine that the door to this deck area, would have allowed the owners to use that deck as a sleeping porch in the summer. Many of the early Sears homes have upper sleeping porches.

Sears Sherburne front
Google maps streetview allows us to move over just a bit, and get the shot showing the side door a bit.
Here's the house, dressed up for 4th of July!:
I'm a fan of the bunting!
Thanks for the photo, Andrew!

Sears Sherburne side entry and staircase bump-out
I believe that's all original wood shingle and clapboard siding and brackets. 
Do you see those concrete blocks supporting the house, and the front porch? Those could have been made by the homeowner (or whoever he hired to build the house for him, or along with him), using the Triumph, Wizard, or Knox concrete- block-making machines. Sears wouldn't have shipped him the concrete itself (but they would have arranged for a local masonry supply house to furnish it), and then he could have ordered one of these block-making machines. This 1915 Concrete Machinery catalog from Sears, shows the variety of finishes you could choose from, and has a page where they show the steps in making the block.

Sears concrete machinery sears wizard sears triumph sears knox
Here is the catalog, on

Sears concrete machinery sears wizard sears triumph sears knox
Here's a closer look at the block-making process (click image to enlarge):
Sears concrete machinery sears wizard sears triumph sears knox

There was a good variety of finishes to choose from:
Sears concrete machinery sears wizard sears triumph sears knox
You can see this page more closely, here.
Inside The Sherburne
Here is the beautiful staircase that every Sherburne has... although the homeowner could choose from a few different styles of spindles (balusters), banister, and newel.
Sears craftsman newel and Sears colonial balustrade Sears Sherburne staircase

Sears staircase newel options
These are some of the staircase newels offered in the early Sears Building Supplies catalogs. This is from 1912.

Sears craftsman newel and Sears colonial balustrade Sears Sherburne staircase
It looks like the owners chose a nice, chunky Craftsman style newel, but the more shapely Colonial Baluster.
Now, normally, to the right of this staircase, would be the wall with the fireplace and bookcase. But, since that is on the other side of the living room, we have a nice sitting area there, with a large window:
Sears Sherburne living room
Isn't that just lovely!
And, then, across the living room, we have the fireplace wall:
Sears Sherburne living room fireplace
The opening to the right of the club chair, is to the dining room.
Now... we should take a closer look at that cast-iron fireplace insert... because.... it's from Sears! It's design No. 128. The catalog referred to that decorative piece above the grate, as the "Summer Front".
Sears cast iron fireplace insert no 128
This image is from page 12 of the circa 1910 Mantels and Consoles catalog from Sears.

Sears cast iron fireplace insert no 128
From page 12.

cover of Sears catalog for mantels and fireplaces
The cover of the catalog, which you can browse here, on
The hinges that you see on the bookcases to each side of the fireplace, are also shown in the Sears catalog, though they are a design that I believe other companies carried, as well:

Sears house hinge
The owners told me that this hinge is found throughout the house, including on this gorgeous built-in storage hutch. Just look at the patina on that wood!

Sears built-in cabinet with Sears hinges
When ordering built-in cabinetry, the homeowner could choose from a variety of hinges and drawer pulls.
I would like to thank Andrew and Sarah, for sharing their beautiful home with us, and providing these great photos.

More Sherburne Examples
If you're interested in seeing other Sherburnes around the country, here are a few links:

Sears Sherburne Gahanna Ohio
We have interior views of this probable Sherburne in Gahanna, Ohio, thanks to a real estate listing: click here.
Sears Sherburne Bloomington Illinois
This probable Sherburne is in Bloomington, Illinois. This photo was taken by Andrew and Wendy Mutch (of the NBC Nightly News segment!), and I've taken photos of it, myself, on a visit to Bloomington. It looks to be a bit customized... it has some fabulous woodwork in side, which you can see in this real estate listing.

Sears Sherburne Fulton NY
This authenticated Sherburne, in Fulton, New York, is a testimonial house, that appeared in Sears catalogs. Andrew Mutch shows more, and explains what a testimonial house is, in his Kit House Hunters blog post, here

Additionally, this house was recently sold as a HUD property, and you can view a sales video by Jon Adolfi, here, to get some interior views.

Sears Sherburne Berkley Michigan
I just love, love, love this Sherburne. Andrew and Wendy Mutch found it in Berkley, Michigan, and Andrew writes about it, here.

Sears Sherburne Cincinnati Ohio
You can read about this probable Sherburne in the Mount Washington area of Cincinnati, Ohio, here, at Cindy Catanzaro's recreation of Sears Houses In Cincinnati, a blog originally written by the late Laraine Shape.

One last look:
Sears Sherburne 1918 catalog
The Sears No. 187 / Sherburne was never sold as a pre-cut kit, only as a kit with standard-length lumber.
It was available through 1923 in the Sears Modern Homes catalogs.


  1. The Sherburne is one of my favorite Sears models. Along with the Vallonia, I think it’s the kind of house that most people think of when they hear the phrase “Sears Catalog House”.

    1. Agreed! I don't think there was a nicer model offered than the Sherburne.

  2. My aunt and uncle lived in a four-square (I have NO IDEA what it was) that had a remarkably similar first floor plan. The fireplace was at the opposite end from the stairs and it was a much better plan for the positioning of furniture. I fondly remember an upright piano in the space where the fireplace is "supposed" to be. We all played piano.

  3. Owning a house with a sleeping porch is on my bucket list. I love the posts where you have photos of the houses today.

  4. We have the same hinges all over the house we just purchased that we believe is a Sears Kit Home. Was that hinge in the 1913 catalog? Is anyone interested in helping us find out more about our home? Original lighting and gorgeous built in cabinets with the Sears lead glass design is in great shape. Would love some help! Thanks

    1. Hi there, Unknown commenter! I would love to help you figure out your probable Sears house. Please contact me at
      Judith Chabot, Sears House Seeker blog


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