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Sears mail order home gets new life

by Starke Jett

The dining room, sun room and kitchen flow from one to another with the new design.
An upstairs bedroom overlooks Cockrell’s Creek.
The kitchen was extensively remodeled.
The Dey cottage is a 1926 Sears mail order home on Main Street in Reedville.

It was restored in 2007 and remodeled the following year as a vacation home to accommodate a Colorado family, who wanted more space and energy efficient qualities.

Ben and Kathy Watson of Colorado are sister and brother-in-law to Beth Atlaffer and her husband Blaine, who live on Main Street in a restored late 1800’s Victorian house. The two couples bought the Sears home in 2006. They planned to restore it and then sell it.

A slow real estate market persuaded the Watsons to buy out the Altaffers and convert the cottage into a larger second home for their family. They hired local architect Rob Schindler to add a sun room, extra bedroom, deck and revamp the energy qualities of the home.

“The goal was to keep the integrity of the home, but with function over form,” said Ben Watson. “It was small for our family. We wanted to keep the original look but add space and make it energy efficient.”

The original cottage was sold as a kit by Sears and shipped by train, or in this case steamboat to the buyer’s location. The model sold to Russell Dey Sr. of Reedville was called the Hathaway and was styled after an English cottage.

The Hathaway was 18 feet by 26 feet with two stories and a small front porch. It had a kitchen and living room downstairs and two bedrooms and a bath upstairs. The kit was shipped complete except for bricks and cost less than $1,300. Sears sold over 100,000 kits of various models between 1901 through the 1930s.

Schindler added about 400 square feet in the downstairs sun room on the back of the house and the third bedroom above that. He remodeled the kitchen, built a deck facing Cockrell’s Creek and installed energy efficient systems and windows.

“I wanted to keep the distinctive roof line of the cottage,” said Schindler. “I think the additions turned out well and are true to its heritage.”

posted 03.25.2010

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