IKEA caused a stir last year when they debuted their $100k, pre-constructed, partially furnished, flat-packed homes. Turns out, the thrifty Swedes were beaten to the punch by Americans Sears Roebuck–the mail order juggernaut of the late 1800s.
Under the name “Sears Modern Homes,” the company sold upwards of 100,000 home kits across the U.S. between 1908-1940 in 447 different styles. Thankfully, Sears brought “modern” home technology to the masses like indoor plumbing, insulation, central heating and electricity.
The kits sold cost between $600-$4900 in three trim levels: Honor Bilt, Standard Built and Simplex Sectional. Honor Bilt was the most lavish package and included upgrades like cypress siding and cedar shingles. Homes arrived by train with a 75-page construction guide and 10,000-30,000 numbered pieces–just like IKEA!
Turns out, that enchanting million-dollar bungalow you saw in Silver Lake last week may actually be a $1200 Sears Home.