In 1935, my grandfather purchased and began assembling his Craftsman home purchased from the Sears Catalogue. Being true to the Arts & Crafts era he painted it burgundy with teal trim. Sears sold kit more than 70,000 houses through mail order in North America between 1908 and 1940. They offered more than 370 different home designs in a wide range of architectural styles and sizes. Although most of the homes were sold primarily to the East Coast and Midwest states, Sears homes can also be found in Florida and in California where my grandfather built his home.
These home kits were shipped via railroad box cards and did not include modern conveniences such as plumbing and electricity. My grandfather bartered to include these modern conveniences for his wife and growing family of seven children. And he assembled the home himself. Our family home of a modest 1,200 square feet with 2 bedrooms and a bath still stands today. My grandfather also built an in-law suite attached the garage and outdoor patio. He built the home with his hands and took his last breath in the home where he and my grandmother raised their five boys and two girls. Here’s a picture of my mother when she was three year old taking a walk with her two aunts in front of our family Craftsman home.