In the 1900s, Sears, Roebuck and Company started the home-in-a-box trend with its catalog “kit homes.” Although Sears filed for bankruptcy in October 2018, its DIY houses will keep it’s legacy alive in neighborhoods across America.
Comprising more than 10,000 pieces and materials, the kits retailed for between $600 and $6,000 (equal to between $8,400 and $84,000 today) and were available in about 270 styles.
There’s no exact estimate of how many kit homes remain, but the company sold around 70,000 of them in the first half of the 20th century. Read on to see what they look like today.
The Bankrate Daily
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1. Sears “Maytown,” Naperville, Illinois
Situated in Naperville, Illinois, this “Maytown” model Sears kit home was built in 1912 and boasts features like bay windows and a covered porch. Its walk-up third floor offers bonus space suitable for an additional fourth bedroom.
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2. Sears bungalow, Indianapolis, Indiana
Dating back to 1930, this Sears bungalow home in Indianapolis, Indiana, features original kitchen tile and a basement with two finished rooms.
Renovations include refurbished flooring in the kitchen in a delightful checker print (added in 2012) and fresh paint on the main floor.
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3. Sears “Milford,” Dekalb, Illinois
For a taste of New England Cape style in the midwest, look no further than this “Milford” model Sears kit home in Dekalb, Illinois.
With attractive accents such as crown molding, a fireplace and hardwood floors, there’s no shortage of character.
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4. Sears “Jewel,” Irvington, New York
You’ll find this circa-1922 “Jewel” model in Irvington, New York. Spanning about 2,222 square feet and three levels of living space, it has four bedrooms and four baths.
In addition to a living room with a fireplace and a formal dining room, there’s also a renovated eat-in kitchen updated with granite and stainless steel appliances that were definitely not included in the original Sears blueprints.
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5. Sears “Chelsea,” Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
This “Chelsea” Sears kit home in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was constructed in 1925. It features four bedrooms and two baths, as well as a covered porch and a deck with an awning.
A later addition to the back of the house provides a full bath and a modern kitchen.
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6. Sears “Puritan,” Libertyville, Illinois
Located in Libertyville, Illinois, this “Puritan” Sears kit home was built in 1926 and was first renovated in 1979.
Updated highlights range from hardwood floors and a bonus room on the third floor to a professionally installed eco-friendly rooftop garden.
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7. Sears “Bellewood,” St. Charles, Illinois
Built in 1939 and renovated in 2018, this “Bellewood” model in St. Charles, Illinois, features a bevy of modern updates such as new lighting fixtures and higher ceilings, not to mention a custom-made curved front door.
Outside, there’s a yard with two patios and a fire pit.
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8. Sears bungalow, Lake Worth, Florida
Circa 1928, this Craftsman-style Sears bungalow in Lake Worth, Florida, features period details such as coffered ceilings and a hidden trap door.
Additionally, the property’s back cottage has been updated with new appliances.
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9. Sears kit home, Charlevoix, Michigan
Although it’s been updated, this 1929 Sears kit home in Charlevoix, Michigan, retains its original hardwood floors. Other cool features range from a gas fireplace to a kitchen with a pantry.