The Sears Crafton was possibly Sears best-selling kit home. It was offered for more than two decades in the Sears Modern Homes catalogs, and remained popular even during the Great Depression.
It was a very modest 600-800 square foot frame home, offered in four different floor plans (A, C, D or X). The price of The Crafton in the 1933 catalog was $911, $1013 and $1165, for the four room, five room or six room model. (Note: This price did not include plumbing, electrical or heating equipment, and also did not include lot costs, excavation, masonry work, construction expense, etc. A $1013 Crafton could easily have cost $5000+ [inclusive of lot] when completed.)
Even so, considering that the economy was in the early years of a major contraction, the fact that Sears was still selling houses – even Craftons – by the hundreds was nothing short of astounding.
The very thing that made these Craftons so popular during the Depression is the very thing that makes them so difficult to identify today – their simplicity. And the fact that they were offered in four different floor plans doesn’t help either.
My house-hunting friends (Dale and Rebecca) and I have developed a complicated lexicon for describing the eclectic vernacular architecture that we often find whilst doing community surveys, and the modest little Crafton dances on the razor’s edge of falling into that category. It’s what we call a “CLH.”
Short for, “Common Little House.”
These simple front-gabled, single-story houses look like every other house in your typical early 20th Century working class neighborhood. There’s nothing fancy or unique about it, and after a few additions and porch enclosures, it’s next to impossible to figure out if it’s a Crafton. And yet we know that thousands of these homes were sold.
Is there a Crafton in YOUR neighborhood? 🙂
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I have a Crafton home in Gardner, MA. We have the original plans to the home as well and have done all the normal checks on the home to verify it’s a Sears Home. We have a number of other Sears home on our block so I’m confident that our little cluster is authentic.
The homes were all purchased for employee’s of Florence Stove. When the company finally went under, the neighborhood and land was sold to the town and parceled up.
Do you have any other photos of Crafton homes around the country?
Also.. I’m not sure if the photo of the yellow house is in fact a Crafton. Two details I note that are significantly different..from what I understand – Sears homes were built to exact specifications so deviations of a few inches make all the difference.
1. The porch appears to go all the way to the edge of the house. This does not appear in the plans and is not the case on my home.
2. The columns of the porch are all wrong. They appear to be cylindrical and not angled as was the rendering and plans. The angular columns are very distinctive and to some extent define the Craftsmen style.
Since both of my observations are porch related I would imagine the house could be Crafton but the front porch rebuilt to different/similar specs.
Anyways – I love the home. Interestingly.. we have a 3318C plan but with the raised roof and stairs up (located above the basement stairs).
The door to the attic is original with original hardware so I think this change was customized by the original owners with Sears. We do not have the original bill but the plans we have, the door/stairs are included.
Our home was designed in 1939 (stamped on the plans) and built in 1940 – the last Sears home on our block according to town records.
Feel free to reach me if you want to see photos. As I mentioned there are about 8 other sears homes on our block – all in excellent condition and easily identified.
Jason – If you are on Facebook, there are a lot of people who would love to see photos of your home and the other Sears homes near you.
Patty and I have a craftsman home that’s about 800 square feet.
Is it possible to get the blueprints to this home and other information about this home?
We have a 3318 A, would love to share pictures