After I’d settled in to my older home about 9 years ago, I became interested in the history of its style, with its built in china cabinet, room divider between the living room and dining room, and its ever so tiny galley kitchen.
The realtor had described it as a Cape Cod, but after a little research, it seemed to me to be a “bungalow’.
From Antique Home Style
- Usually 1 – 1 1/2 stories
- Low-pitched roof, often with broad eaves
- Entry typically opens directly into living room
- Often has a large front porch that creates an outdoor room
- Easy access to outdoor spaces like verandas, porches, and patios
- Open floor plan maximized for efficiency and flow from room to room with minimal space wasted on hallways
- Often small with reliance on built-ins for organization
- Siding varies. Stucco is the siding of choice for many California-style Craftsman bungalows. Western-style are typically more rustic with shingle or lapped siding, and Chicago-style bungalows are frequently brick. “
I learned that it was also quite possible that my house was a kit, or catalog home.
The more that I read about these homes, and saw models of them from the old catalogs, the more I realized that many of the homes in my area, whether small bungalows such as mine, or large stately four and five bedroom homes, were probably also kit homes.
Kit house From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Kit houses, also known as pre-cut houses, ready-cut houses, mail order homes, or catalog homes, were a type of prefabricated housing that was popular in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. Kit house manufacturers sold houses in many different plans and styles, from simple bungalows to imposing Colonials, and supplied at a fixed price all materials needed for construction of a particular house, but typically excluding brick, concrete, or masonry (such as would be needed for laying a foundation, which the customer would have to arrange to have done locally).
Unlike modular homes, which are built in sections at a factory, in a kit house every separate piece of lumber was shipped already numbered and cut to fit its particular place in the house, thus eliminating the need for measuring and cutting, and likewise the waste of time (especially in the days before power tools) and of materials. Thus, kit home manufacturers claimed to save the customer as much as 30 to 40 percent over traditional building methods”
Quite a number of companies offered kit houses, including Aladdin, Montgomery Wards, and Sears Modern Homes. Sears Homes seem to be the most famous or at least, the most researched.
Rosemary Thornton is a Sears Home expert…her book can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Houses-That-Sears-Built/dp/0971558817#_ ( Amazon has the “Click to look inside” the book feature that I like so much )
The closest kit or catalog home visual that I found to mine is this Dayton model.
Now here is a picture of my house, though I am certain that it is not an actual Sears Dayton model. This model is featured in the 1930’s and my home, according to records, was built in 1917.
Perhaps my home was built from materials supplied by another lesser known kit home company, or perhaps it was built from a set of plans prior to kits shipping around the country. I am not sure.
All the windows and doors are newer but here are some pictures of the woodwork and hardware upstairs. The doorknobs with keyholes are surely original. Each upstairs bedroom ( there are 2 ) has a standard closet but the larger bedroom has a small closet door on each side of the room. That door leads into long narrow closets that run the length of the room. I have a picture of the woodwork inside the closet below.
WIDE Stairways and this sort of post…very common to older homes in our area as well as catalog / kit homes
Downstairs, the woodwork around the dining room windows is also original as far as I can tell. The dining room built in cabinet and the divider between the living room and dining room were painted white. I believe that they were most likely dark stained wood originally, as I’ve seen many similar setups that way. Here is a picture of the room divider between living room and dining room.
I have seen pictures of dividers like these that are original woodwork and often they also have bookcases built in to them. When I find the time and go online to local realty sites, I enjoy looking at the interiors of older homes for sale in this area.
Some of them are quite large with very ornate woodwork. The style is called “Craftsman” and I have found a set of images on this page for you to look at.
There are many beautiful interiors there. Well worth the visit !
This post was linked to a link party in June thanks to a wonderful host here
This post is linking up to a party in June thanks to a wonderful host here