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A Brief History of Kit Homes

Kit homes are as Australian as barbecues and billabongs, which is why we love them so much. Contrary to what you may think, however, the very first kit home was not designed by an architect or an engineer…

The Man from England…

The first kit home was built on Australian soil, and was called the “Manning Portable Colonial Cottage for Emigrants”. In 1830 London carpenter, H. Manning, designed a cottage for his son who was immigrating to Australia. The individual parts of the house were cut and stored on the ship, and reassembled in Australia.

Although this home is technically known as a ‘prefab’ home, it immediately proved popular upon arrival in Australia. From that point on kit homes, or rather ‘ready to assemble’ homes have played an important part in providing affordable comfort within Australia.

Kit Homes in America

Browse the internet for the history of kit homes, and you’re likely to encounter a number of American companies. The Aladdin Company of Bay City, started by Otto and William Sovereign, is noted in a number of sources as the first company to sell kit homes, and very successful at that. The brothers got the idea from a company that sold pre-fabricated boats by mail, and reasoned that the same can be done with houses.

Their first kit home was sold to a man from Detroit, Michigan, who recently acquired land in Idaho and needed suitable homes built for his family. Using the money they made on that initial sale, the brothers grew their business throughout America, selling more than 50,000 kit homes in their 77 years of business.

Along with other notable American companies, Aladdin gave shape to the kit home industry. They realised that many owners preferred playing a key role in the construction of their own homes, along with increased savings. Flexibility in design also played a key role; architects would often alter existing designs to suit customer requirements. Naturally this meant that many homeowners could get the kit home they wanted, at a price they could afford.

Kit Homes Today

Today kit homes are commonplace. Tens of thousands of designs exist. Some designs are specifically tailored to an area to withstand certain natural occurrences like fires, hurricanes and termites. Other designs are tailored to a specific living requirement, or to suit the architectural requirements of its immediate surroundings.

It is important to realise that, even though kit homes are more affordable, they are in no way less attractive or comfortable than their more expensive counterparts. Kit homes can be customised to suit any taste requirement, and built to provide the safety and environmental efficiency expected from any modern home.

Check out our kit home designs for a number of pre-designed houses, or start designing your own kit home today!

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