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Sears – or other “kit home” – on Perry Lane?

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on May 30, 2010

Sears or other kit house on Perry Lane in Menlo Park

Note to readers: when this post went live, we’d – whoops! – photographed the wrong house on Perry Lane. Alert residents were good enough to let us know and the current photo is correct.

When InMenlo visited with Paul DiCarli who spent 50 years on Perry Lane in unincorporated Menlo Park, he told us that one of the original houses on the street – #8 – was a Sears Kit Home that has been modernized. Whether or not it is an authentic Sears house has yet to be verified. What we did find out: Between 1908 and 1940, Sears sold about 70,000 homes in 48 states through its mail-order Modern Homes program, featuring 370 designs selling for $1,000 to $4,000 (prior to the Great Depression). But Rosemary Thornton has done extensive research about Sears Kit Homes and believes that California kit homes were produced by Pacific Ready Cut Homes. So while 8 Perry Lane is probably a kit home, it may not be a Sears kit home. Note: it was on the market for $759,000 earlier this year.

Photo by Chris Gulker

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie September 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I was born into this home as was my daughter….too bad the people who move into the neighborhood couldn’t appreciate it for it’s history. Nothing but yuppy homes now. Even my old home, repainted and renovated. The amazing yard had been planted by a famous botanist and the yuppies came in with their chainsaws and planted store-bought mass cloned roses. The original floorplan completely destroyed….everything old and beautiful ripped apart so it’s “livable” to the people who only care about money and looks.

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Tony Ford September 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm

That is NOT a kit home, to my knowledge. I lived in that house during the beginning of the Kesey years, and my grandfather Paul Bonnot built that house, and also the house just south of it (which may or may not still be there). My grandfather worked for California Fish and Game, and was an authority on shellfish and sea lions in California. His wife illustrated his publications for him.

Interesting to hear that someone was “born into this home,” as I was born in 1953 and we moved into the house after Paul Bonnot’s wife, Hester, who was the botanist, I assume, was killed when she drove her car into a train in San Mateo. Time flies, I guess, but I’d be interested in hearing more from Marie about her time there. The house once was surrounded by a hedge that made it invisible to the people on the street, and I remember my grandmother’s rock garden in the front corner of the yard, planted with cacti. There was also a large Victorian greenhouse in the back yard which was stocked with orchids. The large back yard was consumed by houses later built on Palo Alto Way.

Anyhow, I would say my family has bragging rights as far as who lived at 8 Perry Lane first, and not once did I ever hear from Paul Bonnot’s daughter (my mother, Rosemary) that he used a “kit” to build this house.

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