The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live (Susanka) Info

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This best-seller was met with an extraordinary response when it
was published in 1998. In it, visionary architect Sarah Susanka embraced
the notion of smaller, simpler shelters that better meet the needs of
the way we live today. The book created a groundswell of interest among
homeowners, architects, and builders. More than 200 photographs bring
the spirit of the "Not So Big" house alive.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live (Susanka):

4

Jun 01, 2009

I really enjoyed the basic premise of this book: that we should focus more on the quality of our homes than on the quantity (i.e. square footage), and that we ought to build (or remodel) homes that reflect our actual lifestyles. I also particularly enjoyed her assertion that we should think about the ways that we use space--where do we spend most of our time? What activities do we do in those spaces?--and compose our homes inline with that thinking. In other words, we may find it worthwhile to I really enjoyed the basic premise of this book: that we should focus more on the quality of our homes than on the quantity (i.e. square footage), and that we ought to build (or remodel) homes that reflect our actual lifestyles. I also particularly enjoyed her assertion that we should think about the ways that we use space--where do we spend most of our time? What activities do we do in those spaces?--and compose our homes inline with that thinking. In other words, we may find it worthwhile to spend more time, money, and effort on certain parts of the home than on others; and we may be able to find ways to incorporate multiple activities into a single space by the way we design the space itself.

Some of the critiques I've seen leveled against this book are that 3000 sq feet is not a "not-so-big" house--but in fairness to Susanka, she's arguing that, if you can afford to build 6000 sq feet, you might consider building half that size and putting the remaining budget money in the kind of details (built ins, etc.) that make a house a livable home. I don't think she's arguing that everyone should build this size--in fact, she repeatedly emphasizes that the size and nature of the home should be in line with what the homeowners are financially capable of (and in fact, the homes in the book range from 800 sq feet on up). I did find that many of the interiors are much richer than I will probably ever be able to afford (and not all of them quite to my taste), but I think her basic principle--that we should make our homes into the kind of spaces we want to be in--rings true and is a refreshing contrast from the trend of ever bigger and more spacious (and often character-less) new homes.

Since my husband and I are currently in the process of buying a new home, I found this book particularly pertinent--more importantly, for me, this helped me be more confident about our final choice. We chose, not the biggest or newest house we could afford with our budget, but an older home that was far above the other houses in terms of sheer personality and charm. This book helped explain why we were more drawn to this older home and, for me, validated our choice.

Overall, I found this book to be highly readable--I read the entire thing in less than two days. ...more
1

Feb 24, 2010

This is a terrible book. The houses in this book are more than twice the size of my house! I already mentioned like 150 times that we bought a house and it's fairly small and we're trying to adjust our lifestyles to use our space better. And actually, our house is 1100 square feet, which is not *really* small. Basically, this book is for people who are rich beyond my lived experience and have some novel desire for a smaller house, and a desire to spend as much on it as middle America spends on This is a terrible book. The houses in this book are more than twice the size of my house! I already mentioned like 150 times that we bought a house and it's fairly small and we're trying to adjust our lifestyles to use our space better. And actually, our house is 1100 square feet, which is not *really* small. Basically, this book is for people who are rich beyond my lived experience and have some novel desire for a smaller house, and a desire to spend as much on it as middle America spends on their giant 'burbian houses.

Anyway, I keep reading these "little house" books, many of which are really fantastic and full of ideas from people who created personalized homes with creative materials for a frugal, thoughtful, clever design. This book is none of those things. This book does rail against McMansions and the whole philosophy of "bigger is better" and the American Dream of a big house in the 'burbs with the boring fenced yard and blah blah blah but really, don't most people already know how wasteful and miserable a giant generic house in the 'burbs is? Yes, I think they do.

None of the architecture or design is especially clever. There is no "WOW!" moment when you see how a corner or hallway or overhead space gets converted to some crazy useful space. The houses are almost entirely devoid of creativity or personality. In this book, a small house is about high design and expensive materials. Frugal, eco-consciousness has nothing to do with it. This book is mind-numbingly idiotic and made me want to grate my face on a 3,000 square foot brick wall. ...more
2

Jan 24, 2008

This book should really be titled "The EXPENSIVE Not So Big House".

This is not an idea book for those contemplating an inexpensive small starter home. Rather, the author advocates downsizing the square-footage of a house in order to spend more money on the details that make a home feel comfortable.

Another peeve: In recommending the perfect "not so big house", the author makes sweeping assumptions about the lifestyles of others (i.e. people rarely use a dining room, people usually enter their This book should really be titled "The EXPENSIVE Not So Big House".

This is not an idea book for those contemplating an inexpensive small starter home. Rather, the author advocates downsizing the square-footage of a house in order to spend more money on the details that make a home feel comfortable.

Another peeve: In recommending the perfect "not so big house", the author makes sweeping assumptions about the lifestyles of others (i.e. people rarely use a dining room, people usually enter their home through the garage, etc). We use our dining room for every meal, and we always enter through the front door.

I'm also trying hard not to get annoyed by the politically-correct tone of the messages in this book (i.e. big houses waste the earth's resources, vaulted ceilings are not energy-efficient, etc).

It seems like this book is targeted at rich Lexus-driving liberals who feel guilty over their financial success and want to assuage their conscience by living in a more "modest" house that still costs a fortune. According to the author's standards, 2400 square-feet is considered a "not so big house" (as compared to 6000 square-foot McMansions).

I think my conscience can handle the blow if anyone wants to throw a McMansion my way.

...more
2

May 25, 2013

When I read a book on not-so-big houses, this is not what I'm expecting:





The wealth of the homeowners here is beyond anything I will ever experience in my life. I don't know who the "we" are in the phrase "a blueprint for the way we really live," but it's not me, baby.

I love that the problem with using "non-renewable . . .giant hardwoods from old-growth forests" for elaborate trim is that it's expensive. *nods*. Yeah. That.
5

Oct 10, 2008

Occasionally described as the JK Rowling of architecture, Sarah Susanka's books all follow a similar theme-- smaller, exceptionally designed homes with personal details are much more pleasant to live in than impersional McMansions.

In the next six or seven months, we'll be going through the process of buying a new home. When we bought our last two houses, our MO was simple-- buy the biggest house we could afford (and it probably still wouldn't be big enough). This time, it's a different Occasionally described as the JK Rowling of architecture, Sarah Susanka's books all follow a similar theme-- smaller, exceptionally designed homes with personal details are much more pleasant to live in than impersional McMansions.

In the next six or seven months, we'll be going through the process of buying a new home. When we bought our last two houses, our MO was simple-- buy the biggest house we could afford (and it probably still wouldn't be big enough). This time, it's a different situation. We're looking in areas where most of the houses are older and need some remodeling, and we need to resist the urge to buy a house with lots of square footage just because we can. Reading Sarah Susanka's books has helped me open my eyes to the details I need to look for in a home (the flow of the floor-plan or the bones of the house, for example) and has taught me that rooms (just like moms) can be great multitaskers. I had already decided that a formal dining room probably wouldn't get much use by our family, but hadn't realized that a wall of desk space and cabinetry in the playroom could do away with the need for a separate work room for the kids. The books all tend to blend together after a while. I have three more in my reading pile, but I think I'll wait a while before tackling them.
...more
5

Aug 02, 2008

I absolutely loved this book. I checked it out from the library and have added it to my amazon wishlist. The Not So Big House concept is not so much about the square footage, but in maximizing the usable space in your home. If you're a family that will always eat your meals in the kitchen, no matter how much you have to extend the table in your nook but are scrambling for office/studio space-why would you waste over 100 precious square feet on a formal dining room?

Not So Big House is really all I absolutely loved this book. I checked it out from the library and have added it to my amazon wishlist. The Not So Big House concept is not so much about the square footage, but in maximizing the usable space in your home. If you're a family that will always eat your meals in the kitchen, no matter how much you have to extend the table in your nook but are scrambling for office/studio space-why would you waste over 100 precious square feet on a formal dining room?

Not So Big House is really all about making a house a home and loving every inch of inch, not matter how big, or Not So Big, it may be.

There are a ton of ideas from this book that I'll be implementing in our new home, and I hope you find inspiration for yours in it as well. ...more
3

Dec 12, 2013

I think this book has some good ideas but it is also flawed in ways. The architecture feels very '90s, and the author is in love with lots of wood and built-ins. The book was very different than I thought it would be--more expensive ideas than I anticipated and bigger "not so big" houses than my average suburban home is. I've read better books on small houses. The idea here that really doesn't seem that fresh to me is that you love the space you have and use it in the way that best suits your I think this book has some good ideas but it is also flawed in ways. The architecture feels very '90s, and the author is in love with lots of wood and built-ins. The book was very different than I thought it would be--more expensive ideas than I anticipated and bigger "not so big" houses than my average suburban home is. I've read better books on small houses. The idea here that really doesn't seem that fresh to me is that you love the space you have and use it in the way that best suits your needs. My takeaway: I liked the IDEA more than I liked the book. ...more
5

Aug 04, 2017

A fascinating read of what to consider in designing a home you can live in along with the costs to expect.
3

Jan 27, 2010

Although I found this book useful, I couldn't buy in completely to some of her ideas, especially on double duty spaces. Having been forced for thirty years to do this because the rooms in my house are not appropriately sized for my needs, I will be the first to say that making one space serve two functions is not optimal. Other ideas I liked, especially the open kitchen and living room idea. Having said that, I agree wholeheartedly that simplification is the key, McMansions (what I call monster Although I found this book useful, I couldn't buy in completely to some of her ideas, especially on double duty spaces. Having been forced for thirty years to do this because the rooms in my house are not appropriately sized for my needs, I will be the first to say that making one space serve two functions is not optimal. Other ideas I liked, especially the open kitchen and living room idea. Having said that, I agree wholeheartedly that simplification is the key, McMansions (what I call monster houses) are not necessary, and one should only build what one needs and definitely not to keep up with the Jones or to impress. I wish she had done more with maintenance and cleaning. Houses with two stories to a room - how do they clear out the cobwebs that always form in the corners in those now out-of-reach places? How do they paint? If the owner does not want to hire people to keep their place clean and in good order and doesn't want to invest in scaffolding, is a two-story room even an option? What works best for those of us who want to do our own work on the house? Has any progress been made in building in ways to get to those pipes when they leak or put in new wires for new fixtures without having to tear out walls? Ms. Susanka mentions practicality often, but skipped the practicality of maintaining what you've built almost totally. There were a few mentions at the end of the book. On the other hand, the book brought up something inadvertently through its pictures. I found I liked almost all the interior pictures (some were too cluttered because the rooms were too small) and disliked almost all the exterior pictures. My conclusion is that having an exterior you love may not mean you have an interior you love and vice-versa. I hope it is possible to have both since we hope to build a house in the next few years. It's the first time we have chosen to build rather than buy and frankly, the idea scares me to death. Too many details to think about. ...more
4

May 15, 2010

I took this book to bed with me last night, my trusty yellow post-it notes at the ready. As the night wore on, my trusty post-its became less reliable, they were tiring and dwindling in number. This book is full of post-its now, they stick out from every open side. And they bear little phrases like "Cut glass bowls featured here could be windows, a la Dan Phillips," or "would my library, kitchen, or fireplace be the heart of my house?" I don't know that I can answer that last one right now, I took this book to bed with me last night, my trusty yellow post-it notes at the ready. As the night wore on, my trusty post-its became less reliable, they were tiring and dwindling in number. This book is full of post-its now, they stick out from every open side. And they bear little phrases like "Cut glass bowls featured here could be windows, a la Dan Phillips," or "would my library, kitchen, or fireplace be the heart of my house?" I don't know that I can answer that last one right now, unless I had a gazillion bucks and an architect who could give me some sort of Rorshach floor plan test. But at least, thanks to this book, I'm starting to ask the right kind of questions. My eyes were tired of endless, flat graph paper diagrams. ...more
2

Feb 03, 2009

for me, this was just okay.
for a few reasons:

1. there's no house building in my immediate future, so it just wasn't relevant for me right now.

this, of course, is not a problem with the book, just one reason it probably didn't really appeal to me once I started reading.

2. 3,000 sq. ft. is not my idea of a "not so big house". 3,000 sq. ft., even for my little family of 5, would be excessive.

3. the style of most of the home's featured throughout the book, while beautiful, are not appealing to me for me, this was just okay.
for a few reasons:

1. there's no house building in my immediate future, so it just wasn't relevant for me right now.

this, of course, is not a problem with the book, just one reason it probably didn't really appeal to me once I started reading.

2. 3,000 sq. ft. is not my idea of a "not so big house". 3,000 sq. ft., even for my little family of 5, would be excessive.

3. the style of most of the home's featured throughout the book, while beautiful, are not appealing to me at all. while i would definitely put value in a home, i am not the type of person to fantasize about stained glass window art, or freakishly expensive wood staircases.


Nice, beautiful, informative book, just not for me. :)
...more
5

Jul 05, 2010

This book was ahead of its time. When written, the McMansion era was at its peak. The book advocates for smaller and more sustainable homes that, at the same time, feel bigger and more comfortable by making full use of the space.

At first glance, many of the space depicted seem very large, they are, for the most part, very modestly sized. The feeling of spaciousness comes from the design.

While this book is directly mainly toward planning new construction or major renovation, there are plenty of This book was ahead of its time. When written, the McMansion era was at its peak. The book advocates for smaller and more sustainable homes that, at the same time, feel bigger and more comfortable by making full use of the space.

At first glance, many of the space depicted seem very large, they are, for the most part, very modestly sized. The feeling of spaciousness comes from the design.

While this book is directly mainly toward planning new construction or major renovation, there are plenty of concepts that can be applied via furniture placement and decor. ...more
5

Sep 19, 2012

We're getting ready to turn our summer camp into a year-round house and our designer-architect Deb Randall recommended this book. It represents a rejection of the bigger-is-better attitude in recent residential construction, where McMansions predominate. The book has helped us think about how we will use the space and reminded us that quality is more important than quantity of space. It's given us great ideas that Deb can incorporate into the design and renewed our excitement about the whole We're getting ready to turn our summer camp into a year-round house and our designer-architect Deb Randall recommended this book. It represents a rejection of the bigger-is-better attitude in recent residential construction, where McMansions predominate. The book has helped us think about how we will use the space and reminded us that quality is more important than quantity of space. It's given us great ideas that Deb can incorporate into the design and renewed our excitement about the whole project. ...more
4

Jul 25, 2009

Don't know when I became interested in the architecture and decoration of homes, but I remember week after week reading the floorplan page in our Sunday paper as a kid. When I got older I discovered architecture and decorating books and I was hooked.

Sarah Susanka is one of my favorite writers of this genre. She specializes in small space homes. I hasten to affirm I have never been able to afford even these small spaces, most of my money went on books and travel, but I have always dreamed and Don't know when I became interested in the architecture and decoration of homes, but I remember week after week reading the floorplan page in our Sunday paper as a kid. When I got older I discovered architecture and decorating books and I was hooked.

Sarah Susanka is one of my favorite writers of this genre. She specializes in small space homes. I hasten to affirm I have never been able to afford even these small spaces, most of my money went on books and travel, but I have always dreamed and built houses in my head. ...more
4

Aug 29, 2016

A really good book about quality over quantity and being thoughtful in how you design the spaces in your home. Deserves to be even more widely known.
4

Sep 21, 2011

great idea, beautiful book--go for less, and quality--not quantity....
3

Dec 01, 2017

There are some nice spaces in this photo-intensive book, but the author needs a realty check. Perhaps her view is slanted because it is mostly the affluent who think to (and can afford to) hire an architect (which she is). Maybe she honestly believes that 3,000 sq. ft. is "not so big."

According to US census data, the average size of a new single family home built in 2015 reached an all-time high of 2,687 sq. ft. That's around 60% larger than the average size of the 1973 home (even though family There are some nice spaces in this photo-intensive book, but the author needs a realty check. Perhaps her view is slanted because it is mostly the affluent who think to (and can afford to) hire an architect (which she is). Maybe she honestly believes that 3,000 sq. ft. is "not so big."

According to US census data, the average size of a new single family home built in 2015 reached an all-time high of 2,687 sq. ft. That's around 60% larger than the average size of the 1973 home (even though family sizes are smaller now.) When this book was written (2001), the average size was about 2,200 sq. ft. So, no, 3,000 square feet is not "not so big." It is big, even 16+ years after the book was written.

This isn't really a how-to or reference book so much as it is eye candy and food for thought. As to the ideas about (what she calls) smaller spaces, they aren't going to be new to anyone even remotely familiar with open floor plans, multipurpose rooms, and adaptable space. ...more
3

Apr 29, 2019

This book was written in response to the McMansion craze that continued to overtake the housing market since the 1980's. In a McMansion sized world we focus more on quantity than quality. The author, an architect, shares numerous examples of clients who built a huge house with tons of space but with no personality. They spend on excessive square footage and huge ceilings. These are houses that are designed to be marketed and sold, not to actually be lived in. The Not So Big House is a book that This book was written in response to the McMansion craze that continued to overtake the housing market since the 1980's. In a McMansion sized world we focus more on quantity than quality. The author, an architect, shares numerous examples of clients who built a huge house with tons of space but with no personality. They spend on excessive square footage and huge ceilings. These are houses that are designed to be marketed and sold, not to actually be lived in. The Not So Big House is a book that counters this perspective by promoting houses be built for the individual needs of the resident with higher quality materials and more thoughtful design.

It's an outdated book at this point in many ways, but still very much relevant at its core. I enjoyed flipping through it and seeing layout ideas for slightly smaller houses. Particularly of interest was her description of creating spaces within spaces to make a house a home.

...more
4

Nov 05, 2017

The basic notion of dropping rooms you don't use (e.g. formal living and dining) in favour of rooms you do use (e.g. a larger combined kitchen dining) is appealing. And the idea of eliminating wasted space and building human scale rooms that incorporate storage and lighting where you need it is sound. Positioning windows to take advantage of views, and using high-quality materials to create beautiful and functional space are all ideas I can get behind.

But this isn't really a how-to book, it's The basic notion of dropping rooms you don't use (e.g. formal living and dining) in favour of rooms you do use (e.g. a larger combined kitchen dining) is appealing. And the idea of eliminating wasted space and building human scale rooms that incorporate storage and lighting where you need it is sound. Positioning windows to take advantage of views, and using high-quality materials to create beautiful and functional space are all ideas I can get behind.

But this isn't really a how-to book, it's more of an aspirational book with lots of lovely photos of beautiful houses. To build this kind of house, you still need an architect, and if you don't have buckets of money it may be difficult to keep your budget under control if they can't get behind you on that.

I think I'll be going on a pinning campaign. ...more
3

May 28, 2018

A little dated, even with the 10th anniversary expansion, but not terribly so. Lots of good ideas for creating a home that is more livable with less wasted space. Not so helpful for people who live in a house that they like, that may not include many of these features (but there are Not So Big remodeling books for that if you have the cash to renovate). I’m hoping to find practical solutions that are a little less built-in, as much as I love the built-in ideas.

I liked the exercise to describe A little dated, even with the 10th anniversary expansion, but not terribly so. Lots of good ideas for creating a home that is more livable with less wasted space. Not so helpful for people who live in a house that they like, that may not include many of these features (but there are Not So Big remodeling books for that if you have the cash to renovate). I’m hoping to find practical solutions that are a little less built-in, as much as I love the built-in ideas.

I liked the exercise to describe all the functions of the house and detail where they take place to identify how spaces are used in reality (like the laundry that is never folded in the laundry room but always taken somewhere else).

The author loves Frank Lloyd Wright a lot - but never once mentioned how many of his beautiful homes never worked for living because they leaked. That somewhat reduced her credibility in my eyes. ...more
5

Dec 12, 2016

Some people’s list of life-changing books focuses on works of great spiritual, emotional, political or literary power. Not sure what it says about my priorities but this book and at least some of its sequels happen to be near the top of mine.

I ordered the book in 2002 after hearing Susanka interviewed on NPR. When it arrived, I glanced at it briefly and stashed it away in a bookcase. Soon afterwards, my husband and I left for a sabbatical in CA during which we spent much of our free time talking Some people’s list of life-changing books focuses on works of great spiritual, emotional, political or literary power. Not sure what it says about my priorities but this book and at least some of its sequels happen to be near the top of mine.

I ordered the book in 2002 after hearing Susanka interviewed on NPR. When it arrived, I glanced at it briefly and stashed it away in a bookcase. Soon afterwards, my husband and I left for a sabbatical in CA during which we spent much of our free time talking about retirement plans and touring houses on the hillsides of Oakland and Berkeley (small of necessity due to historical, economic, and geological constraints, but exquisitely detailed). We also managed to live and work together comfortably in a 750-sq-ft apartment, something I would never have thought possible.

When we returned home in 2003, I remembered the Susanka book and pulled it off the shelf. This time I read it thoroughly.

The book had re-entered my life at just the right moment. We were then living in a 3-story home built in 1919, with around 5 bedrooms (depending on how you counted), a full basement, and enough space to absorb just about anything we could think of bringing into it. Parts of it had been beautifully remodeled by a previous owner, a process we had continued to our own satisfaction.

But now, after reading Susanka and in the light of all those Bay Area house tours, I looked critically at our space and how we lived in it. I saw what I had never seen before – how much duplication of function we were supporting (= repairing, cleaning, etc.). We had a dedicated dining room, an eat-in kitchen, and a table on the patio. We had a family room, a living room, and a sunroom, all serving similar purposes. We had a kitchen and, in the basement, a huge pantry. Some of these spaces we used on a daily basis, others only rarely. Based on our understanding of not-so-big, we created a pass-through that encouraged better and more differentiated use of the dining room and planted sun and shade gardens in the yard that encouraged better and more differentiated use of the patio. We converted the landing of an outdoor staircase to the screened-in porch we’d always dreamed of but never thought we had room for, till we realized it could be really small and yet both beautiful and functional.

Up till that point we were focused on improving our so-big space so that it worked better for us. Then, in 2006, we committed to a plan to begin our 2-year phased retirement in 2007 and to remain in Michigan rather than make a major geographic change. My husband, who is very organized and conscientious, was looking carefully at his house maintenance responsibilities and wondering how much longer he wanted to teeter on ladders to clean the gutters and break up ice dams. Attached as I was to our beautiful home, I felt I had to listen to his concerns since he was the one who was up on the ladder. Also at this time, we built (using not-so-big principles, of course) a tiny vacation cottage on a small lot we’d purchased a few years earlier in Northern Michigan, which increased our real estate holdings and resulted in further duplication. So following the baby-boomer imperative, we decided to move to a much smaller condo, and to sharpen the contrast with our vacation cottage, we chose one in a more urban part of town.

Translating Susanka’s thinking to a large house and then applying it to a brand-new home turned out to be just practice. Moving into the condo was the true test of my belief in the principles of not-so-big. We were the first owner, but 90% of the decisions had been made before we entered the picture and we had no say in the layout. It was love at first sight with the property and we knew we could make it work, but we weren’t completely sure how. The biggest challenge was the totally open floor plan, with kitchen, living room, and dining room all in one rectangular space that didn’t lend itself to built-in dividers such as ceiling beams or bookshelves; nor did we want to take on yet another major construction project. Luckily, I now knew how to use paint and furniture arrangements to suggest different areas of function. I even succeeded in creating a window seat, one of Susanka’s favorite “nook” devices.

When I say the book changed my life, however, I want to make it clear I’m not just referring to decorating tricks or clever ways of making multiple uses of the same space. Absorbing not-so-big actually facilitated our transition to retirement because it freed up our thinking about how we wanted to live – together – in our physical space. We designed our current spaces to please ourselves. For example, we figured out that having open storage saves lots of room (no space-eating closet doors! no dressers!), which enabled us to reduce the square footage of our vacation cottage considerably without compromising function. We designed our kitchens to work well for one cook (since that’s how many of us cook) and to subserve that person’s cooking style. I actively avoid buying more stuff than I can store and try (with fair success) to remember that if something comes in, something else will probably have to go out. Maybe these are things that other people are born knowing or figure out for themselves, but for us (who had always lived in old houses and been wimpy even about knocking walls), it has truly been a liberal education.

One other thing: We don’t worry about resale value – not just for the obvious morbid reason that it will be someone else’s problem (or so we hope), but also because we think our places are beautiful and the right buyer will love them. ...more
3

Sep 03, 2019

A little bit dated but good food for thought, especially in terms of thinking about storage and the functionality of certain rooms. It's cute that 2000 square feet is defined as "not so big" when to me, since I grew up with four people in a 1400 square foot home before moving into a dorm room and a series of apartments, it seems plenty big. Also, did this book document the dawn of the open-concept kitchen movement? If so then I know who to blame because I really hate that, even though apparently A little bit dated but good food for thought, especially in terms of thinking about storage and the functionality of certain rooms. It's cute that 2000 square feet is defined as "not so big" when to me, since I grew up with four people in a 1400 square foot home before moving into a dorm room and a series of apartments, it seems plenty big. Also, did this book document the dawn of the open-concept kitchen movement? If so then I know who to blame because I really hate that, even though apparently I'm the only one. ...more
4

Feb 01, 2018

Interesting juxtaposition to the still-persistent craze of building more than is residentially necessity, and also speaking for the necessity of architectural design (rather than just building “box houses”). I especially enjoyed the extra chapter in the 10th anniversary edition, and the last part of the book that looks towards the future of home building.

I do wish, however, that there was more about trying to build “not so big” in existing homes, and not just as additions to an older home.
5

Sep 03, 2019

Rereading this reminded me of how much I loved it when I first encountered it in 2003, and why I still love it 15+ years later. The 2008 housing bust hopefully put paid to some of the excesses Susanka was fighting against in her original manifesto, but this document remains vital as a blueprint of how to build or change your house to suit you and not the paid by the square foot builders of the social mores of 100 years ago. The photography is beautiful and the advice is top notch.
2

Jul 23, 2018

Enjoyable, got tedious because sooooo self-righteous.

Would have been nice to hear about these concepts for those of us who can't afford an architect. The tips for people on a budget were LAUGHABLE.

But pretty pictures, some learning about design. Needed more pictures and explanations of their "why" and less tedious copy about the virtues of being Not So Big.

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