Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Kit houses

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,583
    Blog entries
    3

    Kit houses

    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    Can you still purchase those Sears homes, or the plans for them, from anywhere?

    I know you can purchase Katrina Cottage designs and materials bundles from Lowes, but then you're much more limited as to architectural design (at least at this point in time).
    The Sears houses, and many others from 1920s kit builders such as Bennett and Aladdin, typically have the usual shortcomings of homes from the era; small closets and bedrooms, only one small bathroom, out-of-the-way kitchen, poor separation of private and public spaces in the house, and so on. They were designed for good interior cross-ventilation, though.

    If you're interested in building a new 1920s-style house, you're probably better off getting a contemporary Craftsman/Arts and Crafts home plan book. Their shortcomings: they might be designed assuming there will be central air, so natural cross-ventilation will be limited.

    FWIW, Bennett was based in nearby North Tonawanda, New York, and their homes tend to reflect the vernacular semi-bungalow style prominent in nearby Buffalo more so than the more traditional Craftsman/Arts & Crafts style.









    EDIT: moved this post into its own thread, to start a discussion about kit houses in general.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Appleton, Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,170
    And those 80-100 YO kit-built houses are far better built than many of today's houses. If their neighborhoods are strong, they'll likely still be in very good to excellent structural condition, despite their modern-day design shortcomings.

    Mike

  3. #3
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2004
    Location
    on my 15 minute break
    Posts
    18,162
    Interesting topic. I was considering starting a thread about micro houses, but I think we can wedge it in here, because in many ways micros are the ultimate kit assembly.

    http://www.buildinghomegarden.com/micro-homes.html

    It demands significant lifestyle changes for most folks but it's possible for a single person to live in a 200 sq ft home complete with cooking area, storage, sleeping area and bathroom.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lowering the PCI in the Hills
    Posts
    5,776
    I really like the looks of the Rochester and the Ideal. When my wife and I first began our house search last winter, we looked at a few houses that look almost identical to those and had roughly the same layouts and were built in the 1920s. Based on the rest of the neighborhood, I don't think that they were "kit" houses but whoever was developing the neighborhood/subdivisions at the time, likely borrowed very liberally from those original designs.

    While the design on the Frederick is supposed to be for a flat up and a flat down, an updated and enlarged version of that design (making it a single-family home) has been very popular in the overpriced walkable community next door. This particular community has very strict design standards for new residential construction and while extending the length of the house significantly, the look of the Frederick fits right to those standards.

    My brother built a new house a few years ago and looked at hiring a general contractor to handle everything and build from their designs, buying a set of building plans and building everything from scratch, buying a prefabricated modular home that is trucked to the site in basically three or four very large pieces, or buying a set of building plans and ordering particular pieces to be delivered on a truck but still having to assemble 90%+ of the house. He ended up going with the final choice and I remember visiting the site when the truck was unloading certain portions. It was pretty interesting to watch the trucks and cranes unloading portions of exterior walls or roof trusses and stacking them up until he was ready to move them into place - I think this is the closest to the original 1920s Sears style of kit homes that there is currently. It seems like the kit home business is still alive and kicking but the industry and technology today allow the buyer to have a lot more variety to choose from and to have a lot more say in personalizing the final product.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,099
    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Interesting topic. I was considering starting a thread about micro houses, but I think we can wedge it in here, because in many ways micros are the ultimate kit assembly.

    http://www.buildinghomegarden.com/micro-homes.html

    It demands significant lifestyle changes for most folks but it's possible for a single person to live in a 200 sq ft home complete with cooking area, storage, sleeping area and bathroom.
    My first apartment was under 300 SF. Never again. With all the furniture there was barely room to walk around, Then again I'm a bit of a pack rat.

    Photo:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/30885260@N06/3539210696/

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Slightly Off-Center
    Posts
    8,259
    Like I always tell people, all I need is a 500 ft2 house with a 2500 sf2 shop/studio.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  7. #7
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,872
    Here is the Tiny House Blog which I like to visit from time to time...

    http://tinyhouseblog.com/
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  8. #8
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NYC area
    Posts
    783
    There are literally tons of those houses here. I think we have over 100 within the municipality I work for. I did a big write-up on the history of these as well as the Montgomery Ward kit houses for a historic properties survey that we did last year. Most of the kit houses have been substantially altered and bear only a resemblance to the homes featured in the catalog.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Cyburbias Brewpub, best seat in the haus!
    Posts
    2,672
    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Interesting topic. I was considering starting a thread about micro houses, but I think we can wedge it in here, because in many ways micros are the ultimate kit assembly.

    http://www.buildinghomegarden.com/micro-homes.html

    It demands significant lifestyle changes for most folks but it's possible for a single person to live in a 200 sq ft home complete with cooking area, storage, sleeping area and bathroom.

    Thats tough! Even some of the "Shipping Container" sized units I have seen Have 320 sqf.

    Units in an archeology might fit in this discussion.

    Less than 700 sqf if you are thinking about having kids is a bit small.

    I am with ofos on this, 500 sqf house and a 2500 square foot shop with a 12 foot basement and a full "Attic" on the second story (got to have space to hold the winch and lift).
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  10. #10
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Wishing I were in Asia somewhere!
    Posts
    9,844
    Blog entries
    5
    I love small houses and places to live. RT and I live in a 650 ft2 one bedroom apartment right now and don't feel squished at all. At the uni we lived in a 560 ft2 two bedroom apartment . Even the two homes that I have owned have been about 1200 ft2 and 1500 ft2 in size. I don't like big houses since it's just more to clean and collects crap I don't need. Well designed small spaces make me happy
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  11. #11
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
    Registered
    May 2004
    Location
    Snarkville
    Posts
    6,593
    "Hello Michael. Welcome home."
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,698
    Here's a site for panelized kit homes. Kit Homes

  13. #13
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lowering the PCI in the Hills
    Posts
    5,776
    There was an article in yesterday's Detroit News on this very subject: Catalog homes sprouted in metro Detroit, across state

    I only wish that they would have included more pictures (online or in the print version).
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Feral Houses
    Cities and Places
    Replies: 7
    Last post: 09 Aug 2009, 7:36 AM
  2. Replies: 7
    Last post: 01 Sep 2008, 10:50 AM
  3. Kangaroos vs houses
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 10 Mar 2006, 12:07 AM
  4. houses around houses
    Make No Small Plans
    Replies: 3
    Last post: 14 Jan 2004, 12:37 PM
  5. houses built around houses
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 06 Jan 2004, 12:07 PM