2nd Tuesday Apr 2013

VINTAGE DIY: Sears Prefab Catalog Home Kits

Written by: Vanessa
Comments: 0
Category: Life Break, Real Estate Bits
The Argyle:

The Argyle: $1479 home kit in the 1900s and about $600k in Pasadena today

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.


‘A $6500 house!’ The Argyle interior with the top-of-the-line ‘Honor Bilt’ package

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.

A Sears home then and now

A Sears home then and now

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.

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