The kit and catalog houses by Sears Modern Homes were well on their way to changing the way Americans approached housing when the Osborn model from the Honor Bilt line was introduced in 1916.
Priced at $2,753, the Spanish Mission-style design featured stucco porches, bulkheads trimmed with brick coping “for color” and timber columns. Two open porches and a rear sleeping porch were marketed to nature lovers.
Advertisements touted the home as hailing “From the Golden West.” Its generous windows, 9-foot ceiling height and one-level living were a hit with the public. Capturing the imagination of would-be homeowners, it stayed in production through 1929.
It also captivated Alicia Dallago, who first saw the Osborn model for sale at 8828 Memorial Drive in McCandless in 1998.
“I walked onto that front porch, and I fell in love,” she says. “I said, ‘I want this house.’”
At the time, Dallago was looking to downsize. She made a contingent offer on the Osborn, and was just one hour away from the entire deal falling apart when she received a firm offer on her other home.
“That in itself to me was a message that it was going to be my house,” she says.
Despite her ongoing love for the home, Dallago is moving again — this time, to be near her son.
Her two-bedroom, one-bathroom home is listed for $247,000 (MLS# 1520628, Michelle Bushée of Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty, 412/585-2451, piattsir.com) It is open by appointment.
Many North Hills residents already are familiar with the home thanks to Dallago’s longtime business, Alicia Photography, which operated from the location for 22 years. Today, Dallago works remotely restoring old photographs.
“I was the only female photographer in the area when I opened my studio,” she recalls. “It was the perfect setting to live and work from.”
Sitting on one-half acre, the bungalow retains the original footprint. The exterior has the stucco finish, original brick details and a wonderful wood porch floor finished in marine varnish.
“I spent many years sailing,” says Dallago, a native of Argentina. “I would varnish every three or four years. It’s great, you don’t have to sand between coats.”
Once inside, the 24-by-12 square-foot living room offers lots of flexibility, with seating to the left and to the right. The original fireplace was converted to gas and sports the original threshold and mantle. A pair of pocket doors with brass cup handles is classically beautiful and convenient.
“If I took portraits of …….