The Not So Big House Collection Info

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Available for the first time, Sarah Susanka's best-selling books
in one handsome slipcase set.
-- Great gift package
-- Offers all
of Sarah Susanka's trendsetting architectural ideas in one set

Average Ratings and Reviews


146 Ratings






Ratings and Reviews From Market

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Reviews for The Not So Big House Collection:


June 5, 2003

Good but uneven: first book 4.5 stars; second one 3 stars
[This review of the 2-book collection is a shorter summary of my two longer reviews of each book. For more detail, look at each book review separately. The collection is a good buy, at only about 1/3 more than the "Not So Big House" book alone.]
"The Not So Big House" is an excellent book on efficient use of
space and attention to detail to achieve comfort from a house design. The graphics, layout, and text are all uniformly excellent. The book only disappoints at the end, where Susanka throws together too-brief treatments on solar design, environmental concerns, and ways you might save money on your "Not So Big House". You'll notice a pronounced emphasis on Craftsman-type design in the houses depicted -- lots of natural, exposed wood. There are lots of very useful ideas (including double-duty spaces, built-in storage near the point of use, an "away room", and acoustical privacy) that most architectural books present poorly or not at all.
"Creating the Not So Big House" is a good book, but in comparison to the first book it's rather a let-down. In the first book most photos were much larger and clearer; in this book some are too small to be very useful. Also, Susanka is not a professional writer, and could have used help here like she got from Kira Obolensky in "The Not So Big House". More architectural styles are represented in this book than in the original, but there aren't many new architectural ideas if you've read the first book (although spatial layering, and themes and variations are both new and useful concepts from this book).
Summary: This is a pretty good collection at a decent price. The first book is clearly superior to the second; however, the collection price makes it a reasonable bargain. Get this if you're planning a new house design AND you can afford more attention to detail than standard builder options allow. You'll end up with a personalized, comfortable, Not So Big house with a Not So Small pricetag.

June 24, 2003

Small houses for rich people
I thought this book was supposed to help you construct a very useful and pretty small house on a budget. I was wrong. Instead, it is about not too big houses where you spend tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, on all kinds of architectural extravagances. Perhaps this book could have a subtitle: How to spend a million dollars on a 1,500 square foot house. If you are looking to build a house efficiently and cheaply, this is the wrong book.

July 8, 2005

These books will NOT save you money.
It's not about that. If you're looking for information on building a smaller, lower cost home, these books won't help much. In general, the author's message is to spend MORE per square foot, and learning to get more use out of a smaller space. On the other hand, if you like your neighborhood, but feel you need a bigger house, these books may give you some ideas on remodeling (instead of moving) - which could save you a lot of money by not buying a bigger home that you hate just as much as your old one.

I think these are fantastic books. Excellent photos and floor plans illustrate each point in a crystal clear fashion. The author starts with a few basic concepts and shows their execution in various ways in different houses. A great tool for anyone planning to buy, build or remodel.

In the editions I received, both books have 10" x 10" pages. Excluding the Introductions, Afterward, etc... First book: 187 pages; probably more photos than text; medium-large, easy-to-read print. This covers the basic concepts with dozens of examples. Second book: 250 pages; probably more photos than text; medium print (a bit smaller than the first book, but still easy to read). This book focuses on 25 different homes, highlighting the key features of each.

August 2, 2003

Grewat idea, even better pictures
This book has given us many ideas for our own home, and although I don't agree with the author's espousal of the wonders of a 'great room' (which I find an expensive trend that really only counts when you live in a one room cottage) I like her ideas about sightlines, storage spaces and the fact that people don't really need as much space as they think they do. The pictures give concrete examples of Susanka's principles, and the book is organized with nice flow.

August 3, 2005

Unique Slant
It's evident Ms Susanka has fashioned a niche for sleek, tasteful and refined living. She seperates style from fashion with a keen eye set for timeless architecture. She stresses quality over quantity in square footage. I was pleased with the quality of these books.

February 8, 2009

Not So Big House Review
The principles described in the Not So Big House Collection are very useful to anybody considering having a new home built or remodeled. The method of analyzing the rooms for utility and size are simple, easy to apply and provide at the end a well thought out list of what the design needs and what is not needed. Its too expensive to build a house with space in it that is not needed, yet many people do that. I eliminated about 25% of the square footage I thought I needed by using this book collection.

This would even be useful for persons looking at purchasing existing homes. It teaches how to look at a house and figure out if the space is useful and comfortable.

May 14, 2007

McMansions No More
Susanka's series demonstrates that bigger is NOT better. Her focus on livable details to enhance the home environment are valuable to anyone who's considering remodeling.

Grandiose over-development of some homes in our older neighborhood encouraged me to consider another solution.

I recommend this collection.

May 13, 2014

Good Ideas, Architect Recommended
This collection was recommended to us by an architect who was designing our house. There are a lot of good ideas in it. Most of them seemed costly to implement. If you don't have a tight budget, or if you are handy and can do it yourself, this collection might be good for you. We never did build that house in the end, but I enjoyed reading these books and looking at the pictures.

March 6, 2016

Practical and inspiring book series
Have read Sarah Susanka's books before, checked out from the library. We are now looking to build a home, and thought these tried-and-true yyet innovative books would be a perfect addition to our reference library as we go forward with the building process.

February 22, 2013

Not so big is huge
Much of the future of American culture will boil down to the square footage of our homes. Sarah Susanka tells and shows us how to pull this off, and to do so with a deeper sense of place. In her "Not So Big House", Susanka will give us not only more functional and beautiful abodes, but will give us an icon through which we can discover a greater humanity. If you want to save the world, a good place to start is home, and Susanka deftly and beautifully moves us all forward.

March 31, 2019

Not New Condition
Books are in okay condition, but they’re definitely not new. The box has sticky residue and multiple dents, and the pages in one of the books are bent. This is definitely a used set.

November 11, 2013

Great Ideas. Why don't we build houses like ?
The photos are inspirational. The book is a great size with quality paper. I am continuing to think of ways to implement many of the plans in my own "Not So Big House". There are such a variety of storage ideas that add to the ambiance of a room with out the cluttered look.

January 5, 2014

Great book
Sarah Susanka did it again. This book is lovely and has tons of useful ideas. I'd recommend this book to anyone even if they aren't looking to downsize or build a smallish house.

February 1, 2009

Not So Big House Collection
This book has many nice pictures but we did not get many usable ideas for our house project. Many suggetions are just too expensive and too custom to be practical unless you have an unlimited budget.

June 26, 2015

Four Stars
Very nice, interesting books and like new even though I bought used.

March 24, 2010

smaller house for retirement
currently remodeling a smaller home to be used for retirement. the not so big house collection helps you to think about how you can live with a smaller home and how you can change the space to be multi-functional. i plan to incorporate some of the ideas presented in these books to this remodeled home. these books were recommended to me by my architect as a start to the way we would need to think about and use our home in retirement.

April 26, 2008

Not so big, quality v quantity
Although a few people panned this book we found them somewhat useful.
Good picts to give us ideas for our future retirement house.
Although she talks about a green/passive solar house, the pictures detail don't quite bring in what you'd expect to make it a great renewable energy home.
we liked the books as guide on how to think of ways to work on a decent price and size to live in.
2000=2500 sqft is the max we want. didn't think about staggering the ceiling height great idea.
since we wanted an open floor plan we plan to use tips from here to design up our texas house.

February 29, 2016

Five Stars
Bought this one for my contractor, too. I just find her books really inspiring.

December 20, 2015

Excellent books. Content
Excellent books. Content, quality, and photos are all very good. Susanka has a refreshing take on modern design and architecture.

August 13, 2015

Five Stars
Nice book. Thank you.

August 11, 2015

Great examples
Love the examples in this book. Great pictures and descriptions.

December 17, 2014

super experience
timely, easy, and good quality-overall great experience!

November 2, 2014

we like it!
Past it around to my Realtor colleagues. we like it!

Jun 06, 2009

The books by Susanka serve as inspiration for new ways of looking at ordinary houses -- or a starting off point for building a new house that is beautiful and meets needs without wasting space.

May 13, 2011

Loved it not so much for the actual writing, but rather the theory it aspouses. We can comfortably live in less space than we thought. I wish there were more up to date photos too.

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