WEST CHAZY - It's what he always hoped would happen, and finally the pieces fell into place.
Kenneth Lushia and his wife, Sandra, had wanted to convert a home into a bed and breakfast and had considered turning Lushia's mother's home into one, but Sandra couldn't picture it.
Although Sandra passed away in March, Lushia still had hopes of creating a B&B. After passing by a house that was for sale on West Church Street a few times, Lushia finally decided to stop and take a look.
"For whatever reason one day I said, 'I should stop just to see," recalled Lushia. "Then, when I saw this I said, 'Oh my goodness, this is perfect for a bed and breakfast."
Lushia returned with a realtor and learned of the long history of the house.
The house was a Sears Modern Home, built in 1913, and owned by Maude Lawson, who paid $1,100. The modern homes were a product of Sears, Roebuck and Co., which sold more than 70,000 homes from 1908-1940, and shipped them by freight train.
"You could get anything from small little camps to big, big houses," explained Lushia.
Lushia ended up purchasing the house, which is designed with stain glass windows and intricate woodwork along the entryway, up the staircase and on the doors - all original to the house.
In the early 1980s, the house was owned by John and Jane Rigsbee, who purchased it with the woodwork painted over.
"When they retired ... they just got gung-ho here. It was something they dreamed about," said Lushia.
Jane spent numerous hours painstakingly chipping off the paint from the woodwork, to bring it back to its origins.
Lushia learned of the previous owners of the house with documents and pictures all kept together in a built-in cupboard in the home - including the original check from Maude Lawson to Sears, Roebuck and Co.
From what Lushia has learned, his Sears home is not the only one in the area. And, he hopes to gather other Sears homeowners to form an association.
"Some companies, large companies, bought a lot of them, and they're located together on streets," explained Lushia. "Maybe that's what we got here."
For now, Lushia is working to get the house ready for the B&B he hopes to have ready for July - when he has his first booking. The plan is to have the house open for anyone wishing to stay, on a donation-only basis.
"I've stayed at a lot of bed and breakfasts and when it becomes a business-type thing ... that, to me, has missed its point," he said.
Lushia also hopes to have piano recitals and tea parties, and even a place for brides to prepare for their weddings.
"I guess once I bought [the house] and heard so many people say, 'Wow, we've never been in there,'" said Lushia, "then I just wanted to open right up and say, 'Okay, this is a community house, and it's time for you to see it and enjoy it.'"
Those interested in seeing or using the home may contact Lushia at 493-6671. For more information about Sears Modern Homes, visit www.searsarchives.com