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Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home Paperback – Feb 1 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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  • Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press; New edition edition (Feb. 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561586056
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561586059
  • Product Dimensions: 25.3 x 1.8 x 25.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #163,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Sarah Susanka has a not-so-insignificant idea in Creating the Not So Big House. She contrasts the glamorous, glossy-photo house plans of vaulted ceilings and palatial living rooms with the livable, day-to-day pleasure of cozy window seats and comfortable breakfast nooks, and her conclusion is resonating with families across the country: bigger but shoddier isn't better than smaller and well made. Descriptors like "spacious" and "expansive" fill the real-estate promos, but Susanka seeks the elusive yet affordable qualities that turn a house into a home. And she provides more than mere ideals around which to rally. She selected 25 house designs, from a southwestern adobe to a Minnesota farmhouse to a New York apartment to a Rhode Island summer cottage, and she profiles each home in great and well-illustrated detail.

Her ideas for interior as well as exterior views, airy stairways, diagonal views, and framed openings translate well in an array of different houses appropriate to childless couples and large families, as well as hot climes in Texas and cooler regions in Vermont. There are traditional designs to fit in with Massachusetts styling and contemporary designs to adapt to California cliffs, and they range from country spaces to suburban homes to city apartments.

Susanka selected house plans that are available for sale, because her purpose is to make affordable quality housing accessible to the general public, but they're also presented as catalysts for your own designs, because the house that worked for one person might inspire the plan that would work best for you. Whether you're in the market for a new house, want pragmatic renovation ideas, or are interested in the concept of space-saving abodes from a city-planning, philosophical perspective, Susanka's book is an eye-opener and a mind-expander, providing conceptual and practical tools to assist you in planning your own livable home. --Stephanie Gold --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Susanka's very successful The Not-So-Big House (LJ 9/15/98) nimbly capitalized on the 1990s small-is-beautiful wave that touted voluntary simplicity, downsizing, and contentment with one's lot in life (especially if that lot includes an average, middle-class house in the suburbs). This follow-up features 25 new and redesigned homes thought to embody "not-so-big" principles such as shelter around activity, double-duty rooms, interior and diagonal views, variety of ceiling heights, importance of personal space, and so on. The book's design allows readers to flip through looking for ideas about trendy house typesDPueblo-style, the old farmhouse, Shaker cottage, shingle-style, Fifties retro. Simple house plans and carefully constructed photos of well-appointed space abound. The writing is unchallenging, nontechnical, sunny, even cozy. Couples and architects are referred to by given names (Barry and Susan, Sally and Gary), and each episode follows a rather numbing, prosaic patternDunhappiness with present quarters, lifestyle examination, and problem-solving (unfortunately without expenses listed), concluding with "not-so-big" bliss. While the first book is not required prior reading, this is best recommended for libraries where the first book proved popular.DRussell T. Clement, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, IL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
.....but hard to achieve unless one has lots of money to spend.
Ms. Susanka has written another lovely-to-look-at book, with many good ideas which other reviewers have more than adequately described. I too wish that more home designers put some thought into the aesthetics of what they are creating.
The problem with this book, and with her previous one, is that the "look" and "feel" she espouses are so far beyond the realm of financial possibility for most people. I wish that her next book would be more realistic and address the issues of how to achieve such aesthetics without spending a fortune. That kind of book would be a BIG help to most home buyers.
I liked that this book traversed the United States and that many architects were represented in it.
I have been lucky enough to have built four custom-designed homes over the past 25 years. This kind of home is incredibly pricey to build. I incorporated some of Ms. Susanka's ideas from her first book in the last house which I built and they were great ideas - but very expensive to achieve.
One previous reviewer mention McMansions and their cookie-cutter designs....Perhaps this book will give some buyers- who have the wherewithall to build such houses -the confidence to spend some of their money on a better design.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a lovely book, with luscious color photography; the houses depicted are beautiful in every detail. There is some overlap with other Taunton books, e.g. Fine Homebuilding's More Small Houses, but at least they haven't recycled the text to accompany the houses. As a dream book, it succeeds wonderfully. But there are some disappointments for the practical-minded. "Not So Big" turns out not to mean much for those of us on a less than astronomical budget; it seems intended primarily as an alternative to the suburban McMansion phenomenon, for those with more than a quarter million to spend. Some of the houses in this book are 3000 sq. ft., for goodness' sake! While there are some little gems by the architects Ross Chapin and Robert Knight, for example, many of the houses presented are not really *small* houses, just *smaller* than the architects' clients could have afforded. Fans of affordable housing may want to look elsewhere for a practical vision; the rich and tasteful will be pleased.
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Format: Hardcover
My hat is off to you Ms. Susanka! You have taken the ages old saying of Bigger is Better and stuffed it into a hat box. . . And it actually looks good! = )
With this, her second book on the subject of compacted quarters, Sarah Susanka provides a greater foundation for her earlier claims that a house can be more functional and even more attractive with less space. In addition, she spends muuuuuuch less time stuffing her personal ideas of how your house should be laid out down your throat. . . This book has dozens of DIFFERENT ideas to work with including lots of schematics.
In her previous book she was, well, confused as to how many of us still have family dinner in an actual dining room and a few other misconceptions. These mistakes has been corrected and the end product is a book that combines form with fashion to produce some really interesting living space inside an area that most would consider cramped. Now if she could just explain how to get my wife (beautiful and intelligent as she is) to keep her stinkin' shoes off the floor in our own small space I'd give her the other star.
I like the floor plans included as well as the explanations used for using different materials and lighting. I'm not a refugee from the fashion decorating police, but I did learn a few things in this section!
Much better than it's original version! Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read this book, as well as Ms. Susanka's previous book, The Not So Big House, and I have found this latest edition particularly clarifying for me in the concepts of the NSBH. It has concrete example after example of the design principles that Ms. Susanka discusses in her first book, then reviews these principles at the beginning of Creating the NSBH so that if the reader hasn't read the first book, they can still follow along very intelligently and get some great ideas for their own NSBH. As a residential builder/developer, Ms. Susanka has put forth a new paradigm in residential architecture, on the cutting edge much in the same way as does Martha Stewart promote in her various media outlets, and her passion for hearth and home is as strong or stronger than Martha's is. Whether or not you like Martha, she is the expert in homemaking in America today, just as Ms. Susanka is the expert in residential architecture that feeds the soul and creates a balance of quality vs. quantity, and cost vs. being cheap. I highly recommend this book as well as her previous book. I also agree with the previous reviewer's comment that A Pattern Language was written for design professionals and is generally too technical for the average lay person. Our company is employing the design principles Ms. Susanka promotes in her books, and to date, we have had good success with them.
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Format: Hardcover
Creating the Not So Big House appears at a time when it often appears that publishers have forgotten the art and science of quality editing, design and production.
This is that rare type of book that reads and informs as much as it is a pleasure to leaf through, enjoying the pictures. Although it shares the beautiful photography and high quality printing characteristic of "coffee table" books, Creating the Not So Big House is organized around a few key concepts which resonate through it. These concepts can forever change the way readers approach building their next home or their next renovation. Sarah Susanka shows how "less can be more" if attention is paid to the subtle details of architecture and craftsmanship.
Sarah Susanka describes dozens of detailed techniques that quality-oriented homeowners can use to avoid impersonal "trophy homes." She describes how large rooms can be made intimate through simple techniques like varying floor levels or ceiling heights. Sarah Susanka is a humanist who translates her passion for creating friendly homes into everyday language and examples. You don't have to be an architect to appreciate her message.
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