Sears Kit House

Sears Kit House Spotlight Tuesday – The Magnolia

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.


The Reception Hall


Living Room


Kitchen with Breakfast Nook

As stated above, only nine Sears Magnolia homes have been currently documented. Below are a few of them.

Syracuse, New York


325 W. North Shore Dr., South Bend, Indiana


1940s photo of Rose & Company Funeral Home, 310 W. Main St., Benson, North Carolina


Now called Rose & Graham Funeral Home, The Magnolia still functions as a funeral home at 310 W. Main St., Benson, North Carolina

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.



    Omigosh, how beautiful. It reminds me of the novels, Mr. Bridge and Mrs. Bridge, which I think were combined into one movie called Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. This is the kind of house they would live in.

  • Duncan

    I feel like the Sears Company could have been saved from bankruptcy if they’d gone back to selling these

  • April Purpora

    This house is so awesome an lovely an beautiful!! Would love to live in a Grand Home like this… imagine Sears, never new!!!

  • Tom

    I agree with Duncan, Sears may have been spared a bankruptcy ordeal had they continued to offer the home kits. Around the corner from where I live in El Paso, IL is another of the Sears Kit homes (the Victorian……and this one also had a coach house with an apartment on the second floor.) The home has been well cared for and has only had 3 or 4 owners since 1919 when it was brought down from Chicago on train cars. (Incidently, the home was built right next to the railroad, which in the mid-1980’s the railroad closed this particular line and the land was sold off.)
    Anyway, these beautiful, grand homes were stunning when they were built, and I certainly hope any of them that are left can be restored to their former glory and give another generation or two a magnificent place to call home!

  • Belinda

    There is one in Cisco Texas !! It has been very well cared for and the people in it now have done a lot to maintain it..

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