Contemporary Kit Homes
Kit homes, also called catalog or mail-order homes, come shipped to your door in flat-packs with precut (and often partially assembled) materials you can assemble yourself on your property. They first cropped up in North America in the first half of the 20th century, and they’re as popular as ever among folks seeking low-cost living on a small footprint. The structures start at a truly tiny 60 square feet but can be as large as 1,000 square feet, with the majority falling somewhere near the middle.
Kits make these dwellings especially DIY-friendly to build, usually including all instructions and materials to boot. Some include roofing and foundation materials and necessary hardware, and others offer upgrades for including plumbing or electrical so you can build them into truly habitable tiny homes.
Big or small, contemporary or traditional, kit homes are intriguing alternatives for those who have big dreams for a tiny house, garden office, guest quarters, or vacation retreat. Click through some of our favorite mail-order homes below to find one you love.
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Stillwater Dwellings: sd-153
Contemporary design, premium materials, and sustainable building practices characterize modular kit homes from Stillwater Dwellings. Designed by LEED-certified architects, they are fabricated with techniques that minimize construction waste, plus their insulation, tight seal, and high-efficiency space- and water-heating systems keep energy consumption and expenses low. The total cost of these prefab homes includes architects' fees, structural engineering fees, foundation design, permit coordination, Stillwater components, builder costs, and interior finishes, and they cost 20 to 40 percent less than custom, architect-designed, site-built homes. Pictured is Stillwater’s 3-bedroom, 2,270-square-foot model sd-153.
Finished projects average $475 to $700 per square foot. Get pricing info from Stillwater Dwellings.
This hybrid wood cabin and garden room is the perfect writer’s retreat or she shed, and it can be a perfect cozy weekend getaway or home office with the addition of electrical and plumbing. It houses two rooms within 174 square feet, including a foyer beyond the double doors and a study area with sleek floor-to-ceiling windows that let the sun stream in. If all the sitework is completed, the company says it can take 4 days for two experienced DIYers to build the kit.
Available at AllwoodOutlet.com for $7,890.
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Deltec Homes: 360° Collection
The circular floor plans of Deltec's 360° Collection of prefabricated kit homes result in distinctive, adaptable, and durable living structures. The round design features no interior load-bearing walls, so the floor plan is completely custom. The kits are each shipped in pieces, and their panelized construction system particularly suits handy homeowner-builders. Standard kits include only the shell of the structure, as windows, siding, porches, and more are extra.
Finished projects average $250 to $500 per square foot. Get pricing info from Deltec Homes.
This versatile wood bungalow with a built-in covered patio can become an ideal guest home, lake house, or primary home for minimalists with the addition of electric and plumbing. Accessed by a ladder, the loft offers 218 square feet for sleeping and otherwise relaxing, and the generous 540 square feet on the ground floor can be creatively configured any way you choose. Fit in a living room, two bedrooms, and a small kitchen and bathroom, or create three large rooms for hobbies and work. Budget a week for two experienced people to assemble it.
Available on AllwoodOutlet.com for $38,950.
The 672-square-foot Karen is a 1-bedroom, 1-bath ranch-style kit home that offers a corner deck. Included in the kit are all the materials needed to build on top of an existing foundation except windows and doors. According to the company, 85 percent of the homes purchased from Shelter-Kit are built by people who have no prior experience. Standard kits are available, but you can also customize a design with appealing options like porches and cathedral ceilings. Most of Shelter-Kit’s homes cost between $50 and $110 per square foot, depending on the model.
Available on Shelter-Kit.com for $62,200.
Allwood: Arlanda XL
The clean lines created by the vertical wood paneling, full-length windows, and flat roof of this tiny kit studio lend it a contemporary look that’s right at home in urban settings. The light-filled 227-square-foot dwelling is a natural choice for a home office or workshop, but add in an optional wall, electric, and plumbing, and 44 square feet could serve as a kitchenette or bathroom. The kit can be built by two handy adults in about 5 days.
Available on AllwoodOutlet.com for $9,190.
Bungalow in a Box: Guest House
Each Bungalow in a Box from Montsweag Brook Corporation is essentially a super-efficient kit for a weathertight structural shell that's custom designed with the homeowner in mind. Plus, the prefabricated components make it possible to build within about a week, and it’s even easier to build with the help of a crane. Sizes and styles range from the 12-by-16-foot guest house (pictured) to the 32-by-36-foot barn event space.
Kit homes with finished exteriors start at about $109 to $142 per square foot; the 12-foot-by-16-foot small house starts at around $28,000. Get pricing info from Bungalow in a Box.
Allwood: Estelle 5
Divided by an interior wall into two living areas, this space-efficient catalog home is ideal for a pair of hobbyists. One person can use the 106-square-foot main room for a woodworking shop or music studio and another can take the smaller 51-square-foot room for sewing or crafting. Two separate entryways and 6-foot-9-inch walls guarantee accessibility, privacy, and comfort for both people. The home sits on wooden joists, and two handy adults can build it within about 3 days.
Available on AllwoodOutlet.com for $6,295.
Summerwood’s customizable kit homes are available precut for DIYers looking to save time during the quick and easy installation. Cabins come standard with lovely features like red cedar siding, and plenty of door and window options are available a la carte. Featuring an open loft and high ceilings, the 100-square-foot Nomad cabin can be customized with a slatted wood awning, front porch, and other options.
Cabin kits for the 10-foot-by-10-foot Nomad run $22,495 for the precut kit and $25,995 for the preassembled kit. Get pricing info from Summerwood.
Live in a hot climate? Retreat on balmy days under the extended roof of this shady wooden cabin, which can be a perfect garden gathering spot for entertaining guests. With its polycarbonate-glazed roof and openings for windows and doors, this is one of the lighter kit homes from the company. The 150-square-foot interior can be used as a hobby room, home office, yoga studio, or writing retreat. Buy the kit and enlist a very handy partner to build it in about 3 days.
Available on Amazon for $8,920.
EZ Log Structures: Florida
EZ Log Structures offers some of the best value in build-it-yourself kits for cabins and one- or two-story homes. The interlocking pieces are great for even less experienced DIYers. Once assembled, the smooth milled logs are ready for a coat of clear wood preservative followed by a penetrating sealer stain or paint in a color of your choice. The 211-square-foot Florida home kit includes two windows, a double-wide door, and trims for both.
Kit homes start around $40 per square foot; this 11.75-foot-by-18-foot Florida style is available for $8,534. Get pricing info from EZ Log Structures.
Jamaica Cottage Shop: Vermont Cottage
If you want to take your tiny home on the road, consider this timber-frame cottage that sits atop hemlock wood skids, allowing you to build it on a trailer with wheels for mobility. Spanning 320 square feet, including a covered porch, a sizable ground floor, and a sleeping loft beneath a weather-resistant corrugated roof, it offers cozy comfort for portable living. Two handy adults can construct it within a week using the color-coded materials that correspond to the instructions.
Available on JamaicaCottageShop for $19,458.
This ready-to-build modern residence from Q-haus boasts wall-to-wall windows that let in ample light and a series of rectangular arches that lend drama and privacy. At 785 square feet, the posh pad is outfitted with an open kitchen and dining room, up to three bedrooms and two baths, and a sauna that leads to a terrace. Whether you use the Cliff as a primary home or a weekend escape, the kit home can be built within a few days.
For a fun Old West feeling, this trailblazing tiny mail-order home takes its cue from the Conestoga wagon of the pioneers. Accessible by stairs, the 117-square-foot solid wood home with decorative wheels contains a cooking nook, living space for lounging or dining, and exterior flourishes such as window boxes, doors that double as windows, and an elegant arched roof. The company says that two handy adults can build it within about 3 days.
Allwood’s Mayflower kit home is available on AllwoodOutlet for for $7,295.
Avrame Homes: The Solo
The company’s smallest 140-square-foot tiny home can be perfect for a studio, office, or workout room. The Solo kit includes precut components, custom hardware, architectural details, and structural engineering for your state with stamped detail for the structure and foundation based on the layout. The company shares a helpful step-by-step plan for the entire process of creating a tiny home.
Available on AvrameUSA.com for $28,200.
Mighty Small Homes: The Cottage
The 480-square-foot A-frame house kit offers plenty of space to fit a bedroom, bathroom, living room, loft, and a bit of storage. Each kit includes a custom interior floor plan but does not include materials for the foundation or skylight. Windows, doors, plumbing chases, and wiring chases are also extra. While it’s possible for experienced DIYers to construct The Cottage, the company estimates the cost to build it while working with a builder at about $80,000 or more.
Available on MightySmallHomes.com for $28,815.
Cedarshed: Farmhouse Shed
Available in four sizes, the smallest Farmhouse Shed kit option is 16 feet by 12 feet with a 4-foot-deep gable porch. The kit includes a Western Red Cedar exterior, 5-foot-wide double door, windows, cedar shingled roof, decorative shutters and planter boxes, and all required assembly hardware. Some carpentry experience is needed to construct this kit.
Available on Cedarshed.com for $10,629.
Eco Home: Le Refuge S500
Designed to harness passive solar gain for heating, this 513-square-foot tiny home is LEED Platinum certified, net zero, and off-grid. As an accessory dwelling unit for guests or relatives or a little holiday retreat, this kit includes a prefinished roof, exterior walls and preinstalled high performance triple-glazed windows and doors. Options for a garage and other customization is available. The structure can be anchored to piles or concrete slab-on-grade.
Available on EcoHome.net.
Star Energy: Tiny Home
At just 667 square feet, the 1-bedroom, 1-bath tiny home may be the perfect little vacation retreat or in-law suite. Each kit includes floor plans, wall panels, roof panels, metal roofing, windows, doors, and hardware. Electrical and plumbing are not included unless requested.
Available on StarEnergyEP.com from $42,999.
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