Around the turn of the century, companies such as Sears & Roebuck and Montgomery Ward sold homes out of catalogs. The houses were shipped to the home site, complete with instructions and numbered materials (including nails!), just as we might receive an assembly-required piece of furniture today.
Jump down for the a sure-fire way to know if your house joins these historic ranks.
Once considered "pedestrian," kit homes are now coming back into style among home preservationists and architects. Bursting with intricate woodwork, charming built-ins, and easy floor plans, one would never guess that these "anti-McMansions" were picked straight out of a catalog.
Illinois, and the Midwest in general, is home to a ton of these small and charming cottages. Yet, trying to figure out if you have an authentic mail-order home can be tricky. Due to their popularity, unaffiliated builders would often copy the kit design. So even though your house may look similar, it might not be the real deal. The best and easiest way to spot a genuine catalog home is to find a part number imprinted on a structural beam. So go - run down and check out the ceiling joists in your basement!
Photos: Cottage Living (Thanks, Rex!)