Bungalows by Mail, Index to Selected Floor Plans

A Selection of Sears Bungalows and More

Use this directory to find original plans and elevation drawings for Craftsman-style bungalow homes from a variety of mail order catalogs, including Sears, Roebuck and Company, Craftsman Magazine, and Aladdin. The Sears Archives present many more designs sold in the first half of the twentieth century.

 

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Sears Bungalows and More from 1908 to 1909

Modern Home No. 147, Sears, c. 1909
Modern Home No. 147, Sears, c. 1909. Public domain image from Arttoday.com

When living rooms were called "parlors," Sears and other companies were selling homes by mail, through catalogs. The certainty of Post Office buildings across the US and the enormous effect of the railroads made ordering and delivery of entire homes possible. Homeowners or developers could choose designs from a catalog, and house kits would arrive by train, each piece precut, labeled, and ready to assemble. The Aladdin Company is considered the first to offer homes by mail in 1906. With their success, the established catalog company of Sears, Roebuck and Co. introduced their own designs in 1908. Here are sample pages from their early catalogs.

Sources: Chronology of the Sears Catalog at www.searsarchives.com/catalogs/chronology.htm; Aladdin Company of Bay City, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University [accessed November 28, 2015]

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Sears Bungalows, a Sampling from 1911 to 1913

Modern Home No. 165, Sears c. 1911
Modern Home No. 165, Sears c. 1911. Public domain image from Arttoday.com

Natural light and ventilation become important selling points as Sears, Roebuck & Co. competed for catalog sales. Being located in Chicago, Sears could take advantage of the local architectural environment, especially in mass marketing what Frank Lloyd Wright was advocating—natural light and ventilation from an abundance of large windows.

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Sears Bungalows from 1915 to 1917

Modern Home No. c250, The Ashmore, Sears c. 1917
Modern Home No. c250, The Ashmore, Sears c. 1917. Public domain image cropped from Arttoday.com

Sears first issued a mail order catalog way back in 1888. There were no house kits, but there were lots of watches. The US was moving with the Industrial Revolution, and Richard Sears knew that "time" was of the essence. The first Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog wasn't until 1893, but soon enough they were selling the mechanical products they thought people needed—like bicycles, sewing machines, and "hand cranked washing machines."

Sears broadened their business by adding home kits in 1908, rivaling the Aladdin Company's share of the home kit market. Here is a sampling of Sears catalog pages produced at a time when Sears was beginning to overtake Aladdin's market share.

Sources: Chronology of the Sears Catalog at www.searsarchives.com/catalogs/chronology.htm; Aladdin Company of Bay City, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University [accessed November 28, 2015]

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Sears Bungalow Plans and More, 1918 to 1920

Modern Home No. 2023, The Savoy, Sears, c. 1918
Modern Home No. 2023, The Savoy, Sears, c. 1918. Public domain image cropped from Arttoday.com

Early catalog homes generally omitted bathrooms, had limited kitchen facilities, and bedroom closets were still a luxury. Plumbing and electricity were being introduced to rural America in the first half of the 20th century. These plans reflect this change in expectations.

The Aladdin Company began selling prefabricated mail order houses a few years before Sears, Roebuck. After a decade of competition, Sears began to dominate the field. Here are some pages from both catalogs:

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Sears Bungalows for Sale, 1921 Catalog House Plans

Rendering of Modern Home No. 3050, The Walton, Sears, c. 1921
Rendering of Modern Home No. 3050, The Walton, Sears, c. 1921. Public domain image from Arttoday.com

By 1921 catalog floor plans were looking a bit different—bathrooms became a more standard feature and bedroom closets were proudly displayed. The hall closet was invented, as people accumulated "stuff."  New materials, too, became available—casement windows allowed a full window to open and French doors added luxury to privacy between living rooms and dining rooms. Look for all these features as you browse select pages from this Sears catalog.

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4 Craftsman House Plans - Build Like It's July 1916

Four popular Craftsman houses from The Craftsman Magazine, July 1916
Four popular Craftsman houses from The Craftsman Magazine, July 1916. Images cropped from public domain image courtesy University of Wisconsin Digital Collection

How do Craftsman bungalows fit in with Sears Craftsman bungalows?  Learn more about The Craftsman magazine at the end of this page, and then take a look at these four beautiful designs from July 1916.

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4 Craftsman House Plans - Build Like It's August 1916

Four popular Craftsman houses from The Craftsman Magazine, August 1916
Four popular Craftsman houses from The Craftsman Magazine, August 1916. Images cropped from public domain image courtesy University of Wisconsin Digital Collection

Every month The Craftsman magazine presented front elevation drawings and floor plans for homes designed in the tradition of the American Arts and Crafts movement. Here are "Four Popular Craftsman Houses" from the August 1916 issue.

 

Four popular Craftsman houses from The Craftsman Magazine, September 1916
Four popular Craftsman houses from The Craftsman Magazine, September 1916. Images cropped from public domain image courtesy University of Wisconsin Digital Collection

This group of Craftsman bungalows from 1916 includes a traditional Arts and Crafts design, with sloping roof and shed-roof dormer. What may not be so traditional is that the house may be constructed of cement, like the fireproof homes advocated by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Here are "Four Popular Craftsman Houses" from the September 1916 issue of Gustav Stickley's magazine.

 

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The Craftsman

Furniture maker Gustav Stickley embraced the English Arts and Crafts movement that advocated hand-made products of beautiful design. To promote these values, Stickley published a monthly magazine, The Craftsman, from 1901 until 1916. He built a utopian community, Craftsman Farms between 1908 and 1917. At the same time, Sears Roebuck Co. freely used the name "Craftsman" to sell their own mail order homes and tools. In a 1927 marketing coup, Sears bought the trademark for the name "Craftsman." The only true Craftsman bungalow plans, however, are the ones printed in The Craftsman magazine. The rest is marketing.

Source: Craftsman History at Sears Brands, LLC [accessed November 28, 2015]