Kit Houses

ASHSB Block 2

To fulfill its education mission, the Bureau offered advice and decorating tips for both exterior and interior design, mainly through its monthly service bulletin, The Small Home. The advice on interior design drew on the principles of the domestic reform movement—principles that promoted scientific research on so-called “home economics” to simplify the homemaker’s work. A regular home economics promoter was General Electric, which advertised the design of its appliances and other inventions with efficiency of the home in mind.


The Small Home, July 1929. Courtesy of Internet Archive.


Following the Great Depression, the AIA revoked its endorsement of the ASHSB on the grounds that it was in direct competition with individual architects. The Bureau never recovered from this action and disbanded in 1942. Although the Bureau had ten regional offices across the country during its heyday (1924-25) and plans from members were published in 76 different magazines and journals, plan sales never reached the point of profitability. The largest concentration of ASHSB homes is in the Midwest, including the Twin Cities and Chicago.