8.03.2012

Sears Kit Homes

A few months ago, I came across a documentary about Sears Kit Modern Homes on TV. I was fascinated to learn that, between 1908 - 1940, Sears sold 70,000 - 75,000  ready-to-assemble modern houses via mail order! Theese are lovely homes! I did some more research and found beautiful images from AntiqueHomeStyle.com. Not only did I fall in love with the exterior, but also I was fascinated with the interior. Sears offered everything you needed in an entire house!

Here are some of my favorites:

My #1 favorite -- I have to say is "The Alhambra" -- a Mission Revival architecture style. This style, along with Spanish mediterranean, is an all-time favorite of mine. I love the arched facade, the clean white color, and look at the porch - how very inviting. It makes me feel like I am in a vacation resort. This house screams my name!!


And here are the Colonial Revival houses.... This reminds me of the kinds of houses that fascinate me in my childhood. I grew up in a country which is a former Dutch colony with historic Dutch Colonial buildings in my city. Here's "The Amsterdam".

Now, you can see the interior details here.... how very efficient!



And then The Americus -- Love the red rooftop !


And what about "The Preston"... So pristine! And look at the amazing furniture + interior in green + salmon + dark brown, the colors of the era. This would make a great space for entertaining and hosting guests!



And then, "The Verona" --  It's shown in black and white in all its glory ... and that fireplace -- so cozy


Here are a couple other things I learned about Sears homes:

1) Sears offered 370 designs and sent customers a 75-page instruction book.  People actually received all the parts necessary to construct a home -  an average Sears Modern Home kit had 25 tons of materials with over 30,000 parts (such as nails, windows, doors, wood, lumber, paint) including electric and gaslight fixtures.

2) These homes can also accommodate the modern conveniences of central heating, electricity and indoor plumbing (they did emphasize this information back in 1920s)

3) During its peak sales in 1929 before the Great Depression, the price range of the houses was $1,000 and $4,400 (approximately $12,590 and $55,390 in today's dollars).

4) And Sears also offered mortgage loans, which were typically for 5–15 years at 6%–7% interest. How do you like that compared to today's mortgage?

A historic house Sears kit home is definitely in my to-hunt list.  After all, this is what Sears told me:

   

Following the documentary, I got myself this book on Amazon which I highly recommend. A collection of vintage catalogs on Sears Kit Homes.


Also, if (like me) you have become a Sears Home Enthusiast, visit AntiqueHomeStyle.com where I got the Sears Homes images from.  Here are two other wonderful resources on Sears Homes: searshomes.org and SearsArchives.com/Homes.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

do you remember what the documentary was called or where you saw it? I've been looking for one for a long time.

Thanks!

Retro Therapy Vintage Fashion said...

Hi, I think it was on CNBC. I was not able to find the complete video online but here's a link to the abbreviated version: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100010316
Hope
Here's another one from an UK TV - I found it on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJelbBl8sZk
I hope this helps..

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