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Not So Big House Paperback – Bargain Price, Apr 1 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press; New edition edition (April 1 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561583766
  • ASIN: B003F76K0E
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 25.1 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,214,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
So many houses, so big with so little soul. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Henry Perkins on May 25 2003
Format: Hardcover
"The Not So Big House" is the best treatment I know of on efficient use of available space in a house design. Sarah Susanka favors built-in storage near the points of use, which is efficient in both use of square footage and on time spent getting things out of storage to where they're needed. Of course built-ins raise the cost of a house, which leads to Susanka's central thesis: a small, well-designed house with attention to detail will be costly -- but, in her opinion, worth it. She suggests toting up the square footage vs. time spent in various home spaces, and finds that typically formal living and dining rooms are budget busters that are used only rarely. Skipping these formal rooms will free up money for higher quality in the remaining spaces.
Susanka falls down on the job with her limited treatment of ways a prospective home owner can save money on their dream house. Specifically, she mentions only
- smaller size
- less attention to detail (lower quality)
- a cheaper lot
but not, for example
- changing the number of stories (2-story homes save on foundation costs over ranch homes)
- owner labor
- owner functioning as general contractor
The book, filled with excellent color photographs (many by the author) is extraordinarily well laid out. The text continually refers to "the photo above" rather than something like "Fig. 8-3b". Accompanying floor plans show the point and angle of the associated photos, making it easy to build up a mental picture of the overall space from a few choice shots. The lighting, contrast, color balance, and composition of the photos is outstanding.
I must mention that the book is basically a paen to houses heavy on natural interior wood detail.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book and has very good design ideas. I love how it describes exactly what I think about design, houses are too big and the use of space in today's design can be improved. Excellent book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Each of the Sarah Susanka books adds to my file of great design and renovation ideas. Thinking small, beautiful and organised is the way to go !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Aug. 19 1999
Format: Hardcover
Not a practical book for someone on a budget. This book is still for someone with lots of time and money to spend on a home design. However, the book is a great reference for someone w/ the time and money to spend on a home design. Just be prepared to spend more than thought w/ this as a reference. My advice for budget minded home builders, look elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Aug. 9 1999
Format: Hardcover
I made a list of my favorite ideas from this book, and I took that list to our builder. What I learned is that the author has told us how to build a wonderful small house -- but the kinds of details and materials she advocates will produce a small house that costs as much as a large one! I still agree in principle with the idea of building great smaller homes, but this book is only for those who have lots of money to spend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you want to expand your ideas about what a nice home should be then this book may be for you. And if you are looking for a book full of pictures to help you communicate with your architect during your next meeting, then again this is a good choice. But if you are like me, trying to design you own small house to be space-efficient and comfortable, then you may find that Susanka does not supply you with much worthwhile information. Her concept, I believe, is excellent. And the book makes no claim to be a do-it-yourself guide. But I was still hoping for some more substance behind the glossy photos. There is little information about the process of laying out a house from scratch to fit a site and its occupants. There is no real method for how to go about optimizing your use of space in the overall floorplan, or how to address common problem situations. It is full of many excellent space-saving examples- but by the time I was finished reading this book I never wanted to see another white room with light wood trim again. The 199 pages of this large-font book are full of "architecturally designed" houses that appear to my eye a bit dated. I also think she is too devoted to the upper levels of the budget spectrum. Most people who are building a "Not So Big" house don't have a half million dollars to spend, which her case studies apparently did.
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Format: Paperback
For "not so big" the images contained in this book depict houses that by my standard are enormous. My entire house could fit into the livingroom shown on the cover of Susanka's book.
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Format: Paperback
Susan Susanka presents her ideas on how to build a better home. Half way through the book she presents her trinity of compromises that the architect, builder & home-owner have to make...price, quanity & quality of the proposed home. I think this is the gem in the book. As many have noted, this is definitely not a book for a "small" or "cheap" home; and this should be obvious as nobody who is limited to building a "small" or "cheap" home would hire an architect to design it! Though she never states it, I estimate that the houses she designs cost over $500,000 to build so consider that when you read this book.
I value this book for the ideas it presents; however, it is definitely a coffee-table book rather than a reference for an architect or home-builder. Not until the last two super-homes does Susan even mention a number. Nowhere in the book does it actually talk about the square feet, total price, price for materials, cost/square foot, material trade-off possibilities, building codes, or anything that is actually needed to design or build a house (or even remodel). The lack of details and thoroughness was disappointing and the reason I only gave her three stars. I suppose this book can be considered a "theory" book rather than a "practical" book, but it seems to me that a well-written book could contain both.
On the plus side, the pictures were very nice; there were floor-plans for each of the houses and Susan has a very nice and clear writing style.
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