Some historical plans of Sears homes from the earliest years, 1908 to 1914, are the Hamilton, a 10-room residence; the Chelsea, a concrete nine-room home; and the Niota, a seven-room cottage-style house. Some Sears houses from the final time period, 1933 to 1940, are the Cape Cod, the Chateau and the Normandy. Plans for each of the Sears homes, along with a description and elevation drawing, are available on the Historic Homes menu at the website SearsArchives.com.
The Book of Modern Homes and Building Plans, the first Sears home catalog, featured 22 styles with prices from $650 to $2,500. Many of the early house plans only had a catalog number, such as "Model No. 52," rather than a name. Sears would ship the entire house by rail, and include everything buyers needed to build it, including pre-cut lumber, carved staircases, nails and varnish, along with detailed instructions.
Between 1908 and 1940, architects in the Modern Homes program designed 447 different houses, and each of the plans could be modified, including reversing floor layouts. Honor Bilt was the highest-quality line of houses, featuring clear-grade flooring and cypress or cedar shingles. The Standard Built and Simplex Sectional lines were simpler designs, without pre-cut and fitted pieces.
Experts estimate that Sears sold over 100,000 houses between 1908 and 1940, and thousands of these homes survive today.