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KT Tunstall sells her mail-order Craftsman home in Venice for $2.5 million

KT Tunstall’s Venice Craftsman
Built in 1923, the Craftsman bungalow has four bedrooms and two bathrooms in 2,330 square feet.
(Realtor.com)

It took a trio of price cuts, but singer KT Tunstall has finally sold her Venice bungalow for $2.5 million. That’s about $300,000 more than she paid for it five years ago, records show.

A few blocks from Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the charming Craftsman boasts an interesting — and contentious — history. When it last listed for sale in 2014, it was touted as a kit home from Sears, Roebuck & Co., one of roughly 75,000 that the department store chain shipped out from 1908 to 1940.

As suburban sprawl stretched its way across the California landscape, homeowners would choose one of about 370 house styles from the company’s Modern Homes catalog. Then, Sears would ship the homes from Chicago via boxcar, offering a new path to property ownership for low- and middle-class families.

HOUSES BY MAIL –– Sears, Roebuck & Co. of Chicago sold about 100,00 mail–order kit houses from 1908
Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogs featured a selection of models that buyers could customize to their own specifications.
(Handout)
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The shipments included 10,000 to 30,000 pieces, a 75-page instruction book and a promise that a man of average abilities could assemble the home in about 90 days, The Times previously reported.

The four-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow is definitely a kit home, but whether it’s from Sears is still up for debate. Sears destroyed all the sales records in a corporate housecleaning, so the only way to confirm whether a house is a Sears kit home is through an architectural survey.

That ambiguity has given the constructions a cult following in recent years, as kit-home enthusiasts and Facebook groups alike try to suss out the origins of their mail-order abodes.

In an interview with The Times last year, kit home expert Rachel Shoemaker insisted the Venice home is not from Sears on the grounds that it doesn’t match the company’s building materials. She guessed it came from Pacific Ready Cut Homes Inc., an L.A.-based company responsible for many of the kit homes in Southern California.

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Regardless, the home has seen a massive spike in value in the last 25 years. The $2.5-million sale price is a 2,948% leap from the $82,000 it sold for in 1994.

The two-story home’s style has translated well into the modern day. Past a hedged courtyard, tapered columns frame a covered front porch.

Blue-gray shades cover the exterior and continue into the common spaces, coating the windows, doors, beamed ceilings and built-ins. There’s a living room with a tile fireplace, an office, an open-concept dining area and a galley-style kitchen in 2,330 square feet.

Upstairs, the master suite sits under dramatic vaulted ceilings and expands to a private balcony. The space overlooks a landscaped backyard with a trellis-topped patio.

Sigi Ulbrich and Pam Moran of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties held the listing.

A native of Scotland, Tunstall has released six studio albums since 2004, with hits including “Suddenly I See,” “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” and “Other Side of the World.” Her most recent album, “Wax,” came out in 2018.


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