Between 1908 and 1940, more than 100,000 kit homes were sold in North America. These houses represented the new economic opportunities available to Americans during the inter-war period. Kit homes made the latest technology--central heating, indoor plumbing, electricity--available to home buyers at an affordable price. The purchaser would receive all of the supplies by rail (a typical house could fit into two boxcars) for assembly either by the homeowner or a local builder.
Sears is the best known company today to have offered kit homes. It issued its first specialty catalog, Book of Modern Homes and Building Plans, in 1908, featuring 44 house styles priced from $360–$2,890.
This house, asking $825K, was built on Shelter Island in 1925. It's known as the Westly. It would have cost $2483 then, which is a mere $33,787.53 in today's money. Granted, that doesn't include the land cost or the labor, but it still seems like a bargain. This Westly looks original around the porch and has the little closet windows on the upper story (handy for airing clothes), but the charming little railed area in front of the dormer has been lost. The Sears Homes blog says that "The flat spot in front of that dormer on the Westly is prone to leaks. Extending the front roof and enclosing the space is one way to solve that problem."
The listing on Shelter Island states, "This house still has many of the original details throughout the house, but has been remodeled for todays standards. Updates include a larger bathroom on the second floor, an additional bathroom on the first floor, new gas heating system and an extended rear living area full of windows that bring in lots of natural light." It's still petite, of course, at 1574 square feet, but with 1.4 acres of land, there's tons of room for a pool. A cute buy.
- 10 West Neck Road [Corcoran]