Participants should complete a thorough review of the event overview, purpose, guidelines and rubric to gain a complete understanding of the requirements for participating in this new event. The information that follows will give students a clear and concise understanding of the event requirements and materials necessary.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a number of companies, including Sears, Roebuck & Company and Montgomery Ward, offered kit houses, also known as pre-cut houses, ready-cut houses, or catalog homes, which were prefabricated houses available through mail order sales. Many of these companies also offered rudimentary “industrial” and summer cottages that lacked bathrooms. Additional structures for sale included garages, duplexes, apartment buildings, barns, and other farm buildings. The companies even offered outhouses! Over 100,000 kit houses were built in the United States between 1908 and 1940.

The Architectural Renovation Event will involve the use of one of the Sears, Roebuck & Company kit houses from the 1908-1914 offerings. Students wishing to compete in this event should complete the following steps:

  1. Review information about kit houses in the Unites States, using Wikipedia.
  2. Visit the Sears Archives Homepage ( to review information about Sears’s mail order houses (see section on Historic Homes).
  3. Access 1908-1914 house offerings and create a file and a hard copy of Plan #159 for use in the Architectural Renovation event this year.

Now you are ready to begin. Consider the fact that of the more than 100,000 kit homes built across the United States a number of years ago, many of these homes still exist, some exactly as they were originally built, except for a few modern modifications and necessities. The Sears Model #159 selected for use this year was chosen for its simplicity and practical design.

Assume that you have been offered the opportunity to purchase this piece of history and Americana for the sum of $25, with the understanding that you will strive to maintain the integrity of the original design as part of your renovation/additions to the structure. You may make changes to the interior layout of the floor plan. The house is located in an outlying residential area and is situated on a lot that measures 96′ x 96′.

You plan to become the new owner of this house and wish to transform it into a home that meets the needs of your family. You are married and have a son, a daughter, and a child on the way. You live a relaxed life style and have no desire for a formal living or dining room.

Your renovation and additions to the existing structure must include the following:

  • 2-car attached garage
  • “great room” living area
  • family kitchen with dining area
  • laundry/utility room
  • powder room (half bath)
  • master bedroom with master bath
  • nursery
  • den/study
  • upstairs bath
  • pool house with bath, kitchenette, and guest sleeping area
  • in-ground swimming pool

Notebook Requirements


A documentation notebook is required and must be submitted with the display. A standard three (3)-ring binder, with a clear front sleeve for a cover page, is required. The cover page must include the Project title, the school city and state, and the year. The inside of the binder must include the following single-sided, 8½” x 11″ pages, in this order:

  1. Title page with the Project title, school city and state, and the year; one (1) page
  2. Table of contents; pages as needed
  3. A description of how you interpreted the design challenge and an explanation of the style and merits of your design concepts; one (1) page
  1. Demolition plan for the existing structure; maximum of two (2) pages
  2. List and describe how each of the following construction systems (any and all that apply) have been incorporated and applied to the team’s solution: building codes, building permits, construction methods and materials, electrical wiring, plumbing, HVAC, and site requirements; maximum of six (6) pages.
  1. A LEED assessment for the project, according to the USGBC standards for green building; one (1) or more pages
  1. A schedule of finish materials for all exterior and interior surfaces of the architectural design (this is not a list of the model construction materials); one (1) page
  1. A reproduction copy of original hand drawings and printer/ plotter-generated copies of CAD drawings for the following required drawings [each drawing to be submitted on maximum drawing sheet cut size B—(11″ x 17″) with needed appropriate scale size noted on the drawing]; pages as
  • original floor plan/s
  • sectional detail drawing
  • foundation plan
  • roof plan
  • landscape plan
  1. Plan of Work log (teams only) that indicates preparation for the event, as noted by date, task, time involved, team member responsible, and comments (See Plan of Work Log); one (1) page
  1. A 3-D modeling/rendering drawing of the individual/team’s final design with appropriate details included; drawing sheet size B, 11″ x 17″; one (1) page
  1. List of resources/references; pages as needed