When Ruth Anker first saw the home at 111 E. New England Ave., she was charmed by its quaint looks, complete with a cozy front porch and pillars.
When she went inside the house, reality set in. The 1921 Sears home was in its original state -- two bedrooms and a bath on one side of the house and a living room and kitchen on the other.
She passed on the purchase in 2001. Someone else bought the house, added several rooms, making it comfortable and livable. Two years later, she purchased it and moved in.
On Sunday, July 13, as part of the Tour of Homes & Gardens, sponsored by the Worthington Historical Society, visitors will be able to see for themselves the surprisingly spacious and livable home.
For those who don't know about Sears' modern homes, there will be a book and plans for the home, which was one of 447 different designs sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. between 1908 and 1940.
The homes were purchased from a catalog. All of the prefitted pieces were shipped, usually by train, and put together on the site.
Anker's home is the Crescent style and cost between $1,351 and $2,410 when it was built in 1921.
The 2001 addition doubled the size of the house, with two new bedrooms, a full bathroom and a full basement.
Anker remodeled the kitchen, replaced worn wood floors and painted the interior in similar shades to give the appearance of spaciousness.
She also added a patio and extensive landscaping all around the house.
Anker said she believes visitors would be surprised by how much larger the house is than it seems from outside, and they'd be amazed by the history of the little house that grew.
"First you have the front facade, and then you see what you can do to make it easy to live in," she said. "Things can be done to retrofit things to a modern lifestyle."
The tour will be from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 13. Tickets may be purchased before Sunday for $15 at the Old Rectory, 50 W. New England Ave., and at Fritzy Jacobs, at High Street and New England Avenue. Tickets will be $20 on Sunday, on sale at the Old Rectory.
Nine other homes, buildings and gardens also will be open and will cover 150 years of home design in Worthington. Included will be several of the modern homes in Rush Creek Village.
Stops on the tour include:
• The Old Rectory, built in 1845 as the parsonage for St. John's Episcopal Church, which now serves as offices, a museum and a gift shop for the historical society.
• A house at 544 High St., which has been turned into a family residence in recent years after being a photography studio for many years. The original American foursquare was built in 1827.
• A house at 519 Evergreen Circle is one of the stops in Rush Creek Village and was designed by Theodore van Fossen and built in 1957.
• A house at 559 White Oak Place is one of the newer additions to Rush Creek. It was built in 1996 and, in the organic style of Frank Lloyd Wright, is integrated into ravine surroundings, with four levels to accommodate the sloping terrain.
• A house at 5795 Foster Ave., also in Rush Creek, is another Wright-inspired home. During the 42 years the owners have lived there, they have expanded the floor plan to include more bedrooms, a bathroom, a screened porch and a wine cellar, which was dug by hand.
• St. John's Episcopal Church, 700 High St., which was built in 1827 and was the first church of any denomination organized in central Ohio in 1803. It was built by members of the community using trees from the surrounding forest, boulders from the Olentangy River, clay from the river banks in Delaware and nails forged by a local blacksmith.
• The gardens at 700 Hartford St. is considered one of the most spectacular sights in Worthington. Extensive formal English gardens were designed by the homeowners, with several distinct "rooms" with sitting areas, water features, sculptures, perennials, annuals, hostas and ever-changing plantings.
• A house at 120 E. Granville Road is a Craftsman bungalow built in 1920 and purchased in 2011 after being a rental property for many years. A complete renovation was done, interior space reconfigured, three small bedrooms replaced with two larger ones and other changes.
• A house at 95 E. Granville Road once belonged to the Griswold family and was moved to its present location from Hartford Street in 2001. It was remodeled extensively and new front porches and other additions built.