Competing with other kit home builders in the first quarter of the 20th century, Sears offered an assortment of home plans and kits that had appeal to a broad spectrum of home buyers.
Small bungalows, large farmhouses, four squares, and lightly decorated Queen Anne styles provided something for nearly everyone. All were available by order from the catalog to be delivered to the buyer’s local railroad depot.
All parts and materials were included in their kit houses. All the new owner needed to do was assemble his team of carpenters and someone to haul it to the prepared home site.
The Ashmore plan shown in the 1916 Sears catalog, has all the delightful characteristics associated with the California bungalow style.
Clustered pillars on the entry porch and pergola-covered porch off the dining room, notched braces and a cobblestone chimney lend more than passing charm to this home.
An inglenook with built-in seating and cabinetry off the living room with its box beam ceiling indicated on the plans shows this home is an excellent example of the style.
An interior drawing along with the exterior elevation provide a sense of what the prospective homebuyer saw when thumbing through the 1916 Sears Modern Home catalog.
Three bedrooms, a spacious bath, a large pantry, built-in buffet, and box beam ceilings were a few of the amenities Sears offered in the Avondale model bungalow.
The Chelsea model home offered by Sears in 1916 was a quintessential four square style home. A broad porch, spacious reception hall, and living rooms on the main floor define the main floor.
Four bedrooms and a bath populate the second. An interesting pantry layout bridges the kitchen to dining room so serving and storage provides a transition from a busy or hot kitchen to a serene formal dining area.
In 1916, Sears offered the Edgemere model to prospective home buyers. Two stories on a 500 sq. ft. footprint, offered buyers a tidy, two-bedroom, one bath home of modest proportions but considerable charm.
Best categorized as a folklore bungalow, it combines the knee brackets and rafter tails of the bungalow with decorative ridge boards with gable end flourishes.
The simple open floor plan seen in the Elsmore model published in the 1916 Sears Modern Home catalog epitomizes much of the craftsman ethic. The large living room with space for dining at one end and contemporary layout is similar to much later homes.
Unlike many bungalows, this home has an entrance hall instead of opening directly into the living room as is more common.
Model 264P172 or The Hazelton
The Hazelton (also numbered 264P172) is a spacious craftsman style plan offered in the 1916 Sears Modern Home catalog. Little floor space is wasted in this approximately 1200 sq. ft. home.
The rooms are slightly larger than many comparable homes and an generous front porch ensures that outdoor living needs are equally well served.
Model 264P176 or The Auburn
Sears Modern Homes shows Model 264P176 aka The Auburn in its 1916 catalog. Large rooms offer residents plenty of space both upstairs and down. Special features include a dining porch, large pass through pantry, generous reception hall, and sleeping porch on the second floor.
The brick fireplace and porch with some craftsman style touches make this a charming and eclectic style home.
Model 264P243 shown in the Sears catalog of Modern Homes for 1916 features a wrap around porch and pergola in addition to many of the standard features typically found on bungalow style homes.
With just over 1000 sq. ft. this small house offers two bedrooms, one bath, but a large living room and ample outdoor living area.
Model 264P247 or The Atlanta
As cities grew, many people with the means invested in plexes and became landlords as well as homeowners. Sears answered that demand with a series of designs including Modern Home No. 264P247.
A craftsman style four-plex, each unit has two bedrooms and one bath, a front porch for enjoying a cigar and back porch for service needs. A light shaft cores the building and delivers light to the centrally-located bathrooms.
A classic bungalow style with broad porch and shed dormer is seen in the Wareham house plan offered by Sears in 1916. Three bedrooms of varied proportions and bath take up the second floor with living rooms and kitchen on the main floor.