Do-it-yourself home from a big box store


By Chuck Woodbury
I found this ad in a flyer for Menards, a chain of 300 home improvement stores in the Midwest. We don’t have them back in Seattle, where I come from.

I was surprised to learn that you can still buy a do-it-yourself house from a retail store. It normally sells for $77,168 but is on sale for only $68,679.

It’s 2,135 square feet and has four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a large family room with fireplace and a laundry room.

Do other home improvement stores sell complete homes? I don’t know. Do you? I think what you get from Menards are the plans and all (or at least most) of the materials to put the house together. If you’re handy, this could be an inexpensive way to build your own home.

Sears Home No. 113

SELLING HOMES THIS WAY is not new. Sears sold kit homes through its catalog from 1908 to 1940. More than 70,000 were sold and you still see them today if you know what you’re looking for. The one in the photo is called Modern Home No. 113. It had eight rooms and sold for $1,062 between 1908 and 1914. Sears noted in its sales literature that “by allowing a fair price for labor, brick, cement and plaster, which we do not furnish, this house can be built for about $2,475, including all material and labor.”

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Frank D

On your way back West from the show, take a side trip to Rogers City, MI and stay at the PH Hoeft State Park Right outside of the city and right on the shore of Lake Huron. The park has a 1929 Sears and Roebuck home there that can be rented out.

Here is a small article and video of the Park/House:

You can take the circle routes of the Great Lakes. Huron and Lake Michigan have hundreds of campgrounds to stay at. You can even go across the bridge to the Upper Peninsula and continue West through WI or Canada.

From PA, you can do the Lake Erie circle route, stop at Sterling State Park in Monroe, MI. Lots of Gen. George Custer History. Continue North up to Lake St Clare to the Algonac Area where you can camp right next to the St Clare River and watch 1000′ lake freighters sail past your camp site less than a 1000 feet away 24 hours a day. At night its interesting to watch these freighters float down/up river lit up like a Christmas tree

Gary Reed

Menards is a great store. Has Home Depot and Lowes beat hands down.
Wish they had them in South West Florida.

Jack Hadfield

I think I live in a Sears kit home. Does anybody have a suggestion for where I could see a kit home catalog from around 1920.

Sherry Dawson

In 1975, I built a 3-story vacation home with my husband, sister, and brother-in-law from a kit like this. The materials were supplied by our local precursor of the big-box store and were first-rate. That house is still in near-perfect condition today with routine maintenance. Also, nearby in the town of Ballground, GA, is a small village of Sears houses from the 1930s that were built as housing for mill workers. They, too, are in great condition and interesting to visit.

John Koenig

PS: I DID go back to Menards and asked to be reimbursed for the “rebate” and the service fee. I was told they would NOT do so. I replied that I’m obviously shopping at the wrong store. In the future, I’ll stick to places like Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, and Target.

John Koenig

Read the FINE print. Menards “11% Rebate” is NOT paid out as cash or even a check (which could be cashed). The “Rebate” will be a discount on FUTURE PURCHASES at Menards. I failed to read that fine print. When I deposited my “Rebate Check”, it bounced and, I was hit with a $20 fee from my credit union. For RVers who are NOT regularly near a Menards, that “rebate” may not be usable!

George B

There’s a Menards in Minot, ND that always has interesting stock.


Menard’s is a wonderful chain. I wish we had them here in the Pacific NW. I have never been assisted so competently and courteously than I have in Menard’s when we were working on my brother’s house in the Mid-West.