1. Many pictures of very beautiful, inspiring houses. Fantastic views looking out the windows. A buildable lot of this size and with views of this quality, within commuting distance of a major U.S. city, will cost at least $1 million.
At this moment in time the U.S. is exiting a housing bubble and entering a deep recession. Americans have an unfortunate lust to purchase far more house than they can afford. Must architect Susanka feed this lust?
2. This is a book about a design philosophy: Design every room to be a comfortable, informal, frequently used, multi-purpose space. Design every house with an optimum traffic pattern, with no wasted space. Design a house proportioned on a human scale. In this aspect, the book is inspiring.
3. Many pictures showing very beautiful, very expensive custom woodwork, expensive custom windows, etc. Here again, pursuit of this ideal would bankrupt every American middle-class worker. Some reviewers have offered the excuse: "An architect-designed house must necessarily be very expensive." But this excuse won't fly: architect Susanka explicitly offers the houses in her book as an alternative to the $500,000 super-sized tract house.
4. Beautiful spaces with none of the clutter of daily life. No children live here, no dogs, no messy adults, no artists immersed in their projects and raw materials. Apparently the owners are busy professionals who only use the house for entertaining.
The only sign of life here is the professional photographer, employed by an architecture journal.
Architect Susanka really should view a few programs on HGTV, to see how humans actually live.