I live in a modest bungalow in a community of similar homes ( some larger, some smaller ) in Pennsylvania. According to real estate records, my home was originally built in 1917. A few blocks down from here, there is what is known to be a Sears Kit Home. I do not believe my home to be a Sears home though it is very close to one of their models.
Here are some recent shots of my home front and sides exterior.
When I became interested in the history of my home and small community I began to learn a bit about kit and catalog homes :
Kit house From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Kit houses, also known as pre-cut houses, ready-cut houses, mail order homes, or catalog homes, were a type of prefabricated housing that was popular in the United States in the first half of the 20th century.  Kit house manufacturers sold houses in many different plans and styles, from simple bungalows to imposing Colonials, and supplied at a fixed price all materials needed for construction of a particular house, but typically excluding brick, concrete, or masonry (such as would be needed for laying a foundation, which the customer would have to arrange to have done locally).
Unlike modular homes, which are built in sections at a factory, in a kit house every separate piece of lumber was shipped already numbered and cut to fit its particular place in the house, thus eliminating the need for measuring and cutting, and likewise the waste of time (especially in the days before power tools) and of materials. Thus, kit home manufacturers claimed to save the customer as much as 30 to 40 percent over traditional building methods”
The closest kit or catalog home visual that I found to mine is this Dayton model.
I realized that many of the homes in my area, whether small bungalows such as mine, or large stately four and five bedroom homes, were probably also kit homes.
And what exactly is a bungalow ?
From Antique Home Style
- Usually 1 – 1 1/2 stories
- Low-pitched roof, often with broad eaves
- Entry typically opens directly into living room
- Often has a large front porch that creates an outdoor room
- Easy access to outdoor spaces like verandas, porches, and patios
- Open floor plan maximized for efficiency and flow from room to room with minimal space wasted on hallways
- Often small with reliance on built-ins for organization
- Siding varies. Stucco is the siding of choice for many California-style Craftsman bungalows. Western-style are typically more rustic with shingle or lapped siding, and Chicago-style bungalows are frequently brick. “
My little bungalow has all of the above characteristics. It is small and modest yet has a lot of character. It also has its challenges in regards to utilizing space and resources. Similar bungalows and kit / catalog homes were built all across America years ago, and those of this size were most likely built by families that needed to practice a frugal lifestyle on a daily basis.
For more information on SEARS KIT HOMES visit HERE.
For a full Home & Garden Tour visit HERE.