Sears Kit Homes

Sears Kit Homes Spotlight Tuesday – The Kilbourne

Today is Sears Kit Homes Tuesday. Sears Modern Homes catalog was first published in 1908. The 1913 volume featured 112 designs for homes for which homeowners could purchase a kit that was delivered with all the materials needed to construct the home. Later volumes offered up to 370 designs. Between 1908 and 1940, more than 70,000 of these Sears Kit Homes were built across America. Today we are featuring The Kilbourne.


In the 1926 Sears Catalog, a customer wrote, “Our house has been the object of much admiration, not only from our friends, but strangers, who in passing by will stop to look at the artistic front. Many have remarked about the ‘homey’ porch.”  They were talking about The Kilbourne.

If a buyer had at least a 45-foot wide lot, they were good to go. In 1926, the pre-cut and fitted Kilbourne kit could be delivered to your door for $2,700. The list of materials included lumber, lath roofing, siding, hardwood flooring, high grade millwork, interior doors, trim, windows, kitchen cabinets, hardware, paint, stain, and so much more.


The Kilbourne bungalow featured a sloping roof, a dormer, overhanging eaves, a side chimney and a large front porch with massive pillars.



Living Room

Entering through the front door, a new owner landed in the 21′ x13′ living room centered with a fireplace with flanking windows. All the rooms on the first floor had 9′ ceilings.

Dining Room and Kitchen

French doors led into 13′ x 13′ dining room, and from there one could enter the kitchen through a “Leave It to Beaver” type swinging door. A second door in the kitchen entered into the yard, a third into the basement and yet another door opened to the stairwayl eading to the second floor.


Two bedrooms were on the first floor separated by a three-piece bathroom with a built-in medicine cabinet. The front bedroom held a built-in wardrobe and the second bedroom a closet, unusual features in a house of that period. Optionally, a buyer could pay extra for another three bedrooms and two walk-in closets on the second level.




A Few Existing Kilbourne Homes

Delaware, Ohio


Cincinnati, Ohio


Park Ridge, Illinois


Hyattsville, Maryland


Cincinnati, Ohio

Sears, Roebuck Catalog of Houses, 1926: Small Houses of the Twenties – An Unabridged Reprint 

For almost 20 years, Sears, Roebuck and Company purveyed the materials for complete prefabricated houses, providing thousands of Americans with attractive and comfortable low-cost dwellings. Many of these homes are still a common feature in cities and towns across America.
The present volume, a meticulous reproduction of a rare Sears, Roebuck catalog of 1926, provides a thorough, accurate record of the company’s “Honor Bilt Modern Homes.” Over 300 photographs and illustrations, with full descriptions, offer views of 86 different houses and cottages of widely varying sizes and designs.


  • Shari Davenport

    I find it odd that the 2nd floor front facing bedroom only has one door that connects to the left bedroom, not to the hallway. It would have taken little to no effort at all to create a right angle in that corner that would connect the door to the hall instead. I wonder how many creative homeowners building their first home themselves, or an eagle eyed contractor or carpenter building it for them who would have suggested that specific change? Or, if such a change would have been made later in a minor remodeling job, to create more privacy for its occupants?

    You mentioned the possibility of the new home builder paying extra for three bedrooms and two closets on the second floor. After thorough examination, I am only finding one large closet on the second floor, connected to the right side bedroom. What did I miss? Did you mean maybe the trunk storage area? In this case, that was just an open corner to keep the family’s travel trunks when not being used. Suitcases had yet to be invented, eventually replacing the large heavy trunks normally used at the time. The hanging space for clothing and the storage drawers for smaller items were quite useful for the times, plus the extra smaller shoe trunks to carry the family’s footwear, or just mi’lady’s slippers and pumps to go with multiple outfits were also great protection for those items. Storage space for them at home though could be a problem for families with smaller homes, and any empty corner on the second floor or in the attic would be pressed into service for such a purpose.

  • J Holt Kearney

    My father grew up in a Kilbourne. His family moved into it around 1932.. had been built by a previous owner, back ‘n ’25. Check out this house.. it has changed a bit since his mother moved out of it back in the ’80s. As I recall.. a few changes to the floor plan..the staircase opened into the dining room..but had a door to close it off. There were glass french doors between the living room and dining room. and the kitchen door opened to a slight porch and the entry shown on the floor plan was a separate room where the ice box was kept. Now they had a hedge around the property and in the lot next door a large rose garden. A beautiful Japanese maple was on the right side of the house near the street. Great memories of visiting Grandma

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