The kit home has a long history as a convenient, cost-effective way to build a home on a private lot. Over 100 years ago, the Sears Roebuck Company sold its first kit homes through North American catalog sales.
Sears discontinued its catalog business in the 1940s, and Lindal Cedar Homes essentially picked up where they left off. In 1945, Lindal began shipping kit homes to eager home-buyers worldwide. During the years following the end of WWII, Lindal secured a coveted position in the kit home business, catering to the huge demand from young families for efficient, affordable, and quality housing. Today, Lindal continues to lead the kit home market in terms of quality, scale, and options.
Andreason said the cost of building his high-quality Lindal kit home cost less than the price of building a custom home.
A kit home consists of pre-cut materials for a home, either chosen directly from a catalog or customized for the home-owners’ build site and lifestyle. The kit home package is delivered to the build site and assembled there. It includes the exterior materials for the home, but not the interior finishings, plumbing, or electricity.
The continued popularity of kit homes such as those offered by Lindal is due to several factors:
Lindal materials are pre-cut and delivered to your building site in containers. During delivery, your Lindal dealer will take a careful inventory to ensure they meet the high quality standards expected of Lindal materials, and the correct quantity of material has arrived. In the unlikely event something is missing or damaged (we try our best to avoid this!), the matter is promptly corrected by the Corporate Office, and if replacement materials cannot be supplied in a timely manner a refund for local purchase is issued. Your home is then constructed on-site, usually utilizing a general contractor and experienced builder familiar with the Lindal home construction process, orchestrated by your local Lindal dealer.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article on the history of kit homes, Nancy Keates writes: “Once purchased, all of the parts—lumber, windows, cabinets, nails, paint and more—were shipped across the country for assembly on the customer’s lot.”
Keates acknowledges Lindal’s position as one of the largest and most successful kit home companies in business today:
“Lindal Cedar Homes, based in Washington state, has sold about 50,000 kit homes since 1945. The models start at about $100,000 and range in size from 700 square feet to 25,000 square feet. What has changed, says vice president of marketing Signe Benson, is that the younger clients now want modern instead of traditional designs. And most of her company’s customers hire contractors to build the homes. Bob Andreasen worked with Jan and Greg Buhler of Atlantic Custom Homes to build a 7,000-square-foot Lindal kit home as a vacation house for his daughters and grandchildren in Sheffield, Mass. He says the quality of the materials was better than he could source himself and the cost, at $220 a square foot for the finished product, was lower than a new custom home. The house took about seven months to build.”
Lindal’s post-and-beam construction allows for open, airy interiors with walls of glass.
Author Sheri Koones, who specializes in books on prefabricated homes, often includes Lindal homes in her books. She recently wrote an article on kit homes that was published online in Forbes. Lindal was at the top of her list of various kit home companies.
“The modern prefabricated kit homes came along in the mid-1900s post WWII. Lindal Cedar Homes, one of the companies at the forefront of this type of construction, began operations in 1945 delivering do-it-yourself (DIY) prefab exterior home material packages. Today they ship much more sophisticated homes locally and internationally, most often constructed by professional contractors,” she wrote. “The kit homes of today, in general, are beautiful, more diverse and way more sophisticated than they were in the earlier days.”
Koones spoke with former Lindal CEO Michael Harris, who currently owns two independent Lindal dealerships, on in Washington State and the other in New York.
“Michael Harris of Lindal Cedar Homes, one of the companies at the forefront of kit house construction says the company can ship a 3,000-square-foot house on one truck,” Koones wrote. “Their houses are shipped from Washington State by train to the East coast and cargo ships to Japan and other parts of the world. Harris claims that with kit homes consumers have more flexibility and predictability than with other types of construction.
With hundreds of floor plans and home styles available, Lindal Cedar Homes works with clients throughout the world to design the home of their dreams, at a price they can afford, and built to last a lifetime.
The living room of the Lindal Countryside kit home offers a panoramic view of the water.
-By Josefin Kannin
Marketing Director, Lindal Cedar Homes
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