Ten years ago, Sarah Susanka started a revolution in home design with a deceptively simple message: quality should always come before quantity. Now, the book that celebrated that bold declaration is back in this special 10th anniversary edition featuring a new introduction and 16 additional pages that explore three new homes. Nearly a quarter-million people bought this ground-breaking book when it was published in Fall 1998. Since then, the book's simple message -- that quality should come before quantity -- has started a movement in home design. Homeowners now know to expect more. And the people responsible for building our homes have also gotten the message. Architects and builders around the country report clients showing up with dog-eared copies of The Not So Big House, pages marked to a favorite section. Why are we drawn more to smaller, more personal spaces than to larger, more expansive ones? Why do we spend more time in the kitchen than we do in the formal dining room? The Not So Big House proposes clear, workable guidelines for creating homes that serve both our spiritual needs and our material requirements, whether for a couple with no children, a family, empty nesters, or one person alone. In 1999, Sarah Susanka was then architect and principal with Mulfinger, Susanka, Mahady & Partners, the firm selected to design the 1999 Life Dream House brought Frank Lloyd Wright's same common-sense, human-scale design principles to our generation. Consider which rooms in your house you use and enjoy most, and you have a sense of the essential principles of The Not So Big House. Whether you seek comfort and calm or activity and energy at home, The Not So Big House offers a place for every mood.
This book has many helpful ideas for those of us living in smaller houses and smaller rooms.
Planning ideas, such as a "wish list" aside a "reality list".
When square footage is limited, details are important. The setup and flow of each room must maximize their utility. Susanka’s tour of dozens of houses and floorplans shows the reader how to conceptualize their space and build accordingly. What is most stunning about this is the hundreds of photos throughout. Floorplans are nice, but actually seeing a space is necessary when talking about it. There are few famous houses here, including Wright’s Goetsch-Winkler House and a few by Le Corbusier.
All in all, this is a handy guide for building a new house or remodeling an existing space that discourages lavishness. Instead, Susanka asks the reader to really think about how they live and what rooms mean the most to them. After that, it’s the details that make a house a home. I got a great deal of ideas from this book, and I suspect other readers may as well. An engaging and vibrant book.