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Sketched May 10, 2016

If you stand in front of a house with your sketchbook long enough, chances are someone will come out to see what you are up to.

That happened to me the other day on Capitol Hill. Only this wasn’t really a house. It’s an 11-unit apartment building with an eye-catching curb appeal.

Landlord Henry Herrmann, who happened to be around fixing things up, said the three-story dwelling was originally built as a Sears kit home back in the day.

As I learned later, Sears sold thousands of these homes in the earlier part of the 20th century. Homeowners would choose from a catalog of more than 300 home designs and Sears would ship them the materials so they could build the houses themselves. That’s quite an interesting d0-it-yourself approach to home building. It sounds just like something Amazon would replicate in this day and age!

I enjoyed this random encounter with a Seattle landlord. At the rate Capitol Hill is changing, I wouldn’t have been suprised to find a “notice of proposed land use action” sign in the front yard of Herrmann’s building. But he said he and his wife Jenifer have owned and personally managed the property since 1980 and don’t expect to sell it any time soon.