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Sears Kit House Spotlight Tuesday – The Magnolia
October 12, 2021
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.
The Magnolia, offered in Sears catalogs from 1918 to 1923, was the fanciest most expensive of the Sears Kit House designs. The cost fluctuated over the six years it was offered, seeing a considerable increase in price from $5,140 in 1918 to $6,488 after WWI ended when housing costs in general across the country rose dramatically. In 1923, the catalog price of the pre-cut Magnolia went back down to $5,940, but perhaps due to its higher cost, only nine of these kit home designs have been currently documented. The 1923, The Magnolia in Canton, Ohio, priced out at almost $18,000 after purchasing the lot, electrical, plumbing, plastering and other extras.
At 2,900 square feet, The Magnolia was a Neoclassical style design that offered a den with fireplace, a living room with fireplace, and two and a half baths, an unusual feature in a house design of that vintage.
The 1921 catalog showed interior views with a grand staircase, French doors leading into the living room, a colonnade and a breakfast nook in the kitchen.
As stated above, only nine Sears Magnolia homes have been currently documented. Below are a few of them.
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.