Not So Big House Paperback – Bargain Price, Apr 1 2001
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When describing a favorite room in the house, do you find yourself using terms such as "expansive," "formal," and "spacious"--a marble foyer or a formal dining room perhaps? Or do the words "cozy," "intimate," and "warm" come to mind--a cheery little breakfast nook or a window seat complete with plenty of pillows and a breathtaking view? More than likely, you--like thousands of other homeowners--are drawn to the more personal spaces in your home, where comfort, beauty, and efficiency meet. In The Not So Big House, respected architect Sarah Susanka and coauthor Kira Obolensky address our affinity for the "smaller, more personal spaces" and propose "clear, workable guidelines for creating homes that serve both our spiritual needs and our material requirements." The heart of the not-so-big house--which is not "just a small house ... [but] a smaller house," that uses "less space to give greater quality of life," and is designed to not only "accommodate the lifestyles of its occupants" but also to express "our values and our personalities," is discussed in chapter 1, entitled "Bigger Isn't Better." Susanka's urging for homeowners to get creative with their space as well as loads of ideas to encourage that creativity are covered in "Rethinking the House" and "Making Not So Big Work." Discussions of specific needs, such as a home for one and designing for kids, can be found in "Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous," while "Dreams, Details, and Dollars" gets down to the nuts and bolts of the operation, looking at quality versus quantity, budgeting, and what "low end," "middle ground," and "high end" really mean in home design and construction. Lastly, the authors look at the home of the future, which involves simplifying, recycling, reducing waste, and using energy-efficient construction. With more than 200 color photographs, as well as floor plans and Susanka and Obolensky's intelligent and lively dialogue, The Not So Big House is perfect for homeowners ready to rethink their space. --Stefanie Hargreaves --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Architect Susanka believes that the large homes being built today place too much emphasis on square footage rather than on current lifestyles. Here she shows how homes can be designed to feature "adaptable spaces open to one another, designed for everyday use." She describes how to examine occupants' lifestyles, how to incorporate the kitchen as the focal point of the home, how to give the illusion of space, and how, with storage, lighting, and furniture arrangement, a smaller home can be comfortably livable. Photographs of contemporary homes as well as those by Frank Lloyd Wright and other modern architects illustrate Susanka's ideas and show the timelessness of the style she advocates. This thought-provoking book will be a good addition to architectural and interior design collections.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
I especially liked the chapter "Dreams, Details, and Dollars". Although it was disheartening to read that even a small home with attention to detail can be costly. And this is what I am/was leaning toward. Also, to keep the cost down in most home building one needs to start with the box shape, which to me is boring.
The one negative point I would make is that, as someone else mentioned, this book does lean toward those who have more to spend than most. Although she does give a good stratedgy on how to begin to look at affording a home (the quantity, quality, cost triangle) that can work for anyone.
All in all I liked this book and plan on reading the second one, Creating the Not So Big House. This may answer more of my how-can-I-do-it questions.
The photos are great too!
Most recent customer reviews
Love this book. So many ideas for building our new house. Beautfully illustratedPublished 20 days ago by Gail Talbot
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... Read morePublished on Sept. 1 2013 by Angela Acker
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 !Published on Jan. 28 2013 by Kathryn Dunphy
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... Read morePublished on July 16 2009 by JP
Let's see....2000 square feet is considered "not so big." And working one's way up -- oops, I mean down! Read morePublished on March 8 2004 by Reginleif II
My husband and I are preparing our 5-year old, sterile house for sale with the intention of buying an older bungalow. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004
I just finished this book and I found it informative. Susanka plainly writes about the way most houses are typically built and the waste in their construction as well as the lack... Read morePublished on May 30 2003 by Kimmer
This book is chock full of good ideas about how to maximize space in a house. It also makes you really think about how you spend time--i.e. live--in a house. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2002 by S. Coveney
This book seemed to me to mainly be an essay on how to hire an architect to create a trendy, uncomfortable home. Read morePublished on Dec 4 2002 by E. Johnson
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