3402 Ormond Road (2005)

They say that good things come in small packages. If that’s true, then this house is truly a “good thing.” After all, it’s small. And it came in a package.

That’s because this is a Sears Catalog house—one of only five in Cleveland Heights and perhaps 75,000 nationwide. Between 1908 and 1940, Sears Roebuck & Company manufactured and marketed through its mail-order catalog more than 400 different house styles: from the elaborate “Ivanhoe” (complete with French doors and art glass windows) to the spartan “Goldenrod” (three rooms and no bath).

As shown in the catalog reproduction, 3402 Ormond is Sears’ Ardara model which, according to the catalogue, is “a bungalow that will be recognized at once as having many unusual and attractive features and conveniences.” The most striking elements of the house are the front porch roof and the attached garage (highly unusual in a smaller house). However, there are numerous other characteristics that may surprise this year’s tour-goers. For example, despite its apparently diminutive size, the Ardara sports four bedrooms, two full baths, an eat-in kitchen and unusually high ceilings. It also is exceptionally well made. All Sears homes, in fact, were designed to very high quality standards: exceptionally thick support beams and walls, solid doors and generally superior building materials.

As you can see in the graphic, the house “can be yours” for only $1599 (storm doors and windows $70 extra; screen doors and windows $34 extra). What the new owner/builder got for his money was (on average) 30,000 individual building pieces, including 750 pounds of nails, 27 gallons of paint and a 75-page instruction book with the homeowner's name embossed in gold on the cover. Masonry (block, brick, cement) and plaster were not included as part of the package deal, but the bill of materials list advised that 1,300 cement blocks would be needed for the basement walls and foundation. The typical carpenter would charge $450 to assemble the house. Painter's fees averaged about $35. Other skilled labor generally priced out at about $1 an hour.

Beyond the fact that it is a nearly exact match with the catalog, the Ardara’s authenticity was confirmed in several additional ways. For example, Sears marked all of its lumber so that amateur contractors would know what went where. Boards with these markings are visible in basement and attic. Tour hosts will be happy to point them out to interested visitors. Hardware on the interior doors represents another perfect match: The builder of this home (1925, incidentally) chose Sears’ “Stratford” design for the door-handle assemblies and interior locks.

For those interested in observing other Sears homes in Cleveland Heights, there are The Argyle (2027 Marlindale Avenue), The Crescent (3347 Ormond Road), The Columbine (3407 Clarendon Road) and The Wayne (3639 Randolph Road).


Watch For:

  • Embossed leather chair from Austria, c., 1720
  • Oil painting of St. Jerome, c., 1750.
  • Oil painting over the mantelpiece by aboriginal Canadian artist Virginia Bordeleau.
  • Deck constructed with maintenance-free composite materials, no visible wood
  • Ancient Greek artifacts on mantelpiece, dated to before Christ.


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