Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home Paperback – Feb 1 2002
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
I can't get enough! This book gives me even more idea for my new house. The pictures as usual are fabulous. Thanks Sarah!Published on Feb. 4 2014 by Ms Suzanne
This is a great book for anyone who questions the need to build ever bigger and bigger homes. Written by an architect but easy to digest. Read morePublished on April 4 2010 by A Kimbo
This is packed with so many great ideas and principles. It'll change everything you thing you want in a house. A must read.Published on Nov. 12 2003
I liked the way this book looks. It has beautiful photos in it, with a wide variation of house styles, sizes and cool solutions tailored to each homeowner/family. Read morePublished on June 17 2003 by R. A. Ward
This is a good book. Unfortunately, it's a follow-on to an EXCELLENT book ("The Not So Big House"), and fares poorly by comparison. Read morePublished on June 1 2003 by Henry Perkins
I keep buying copies of this book because its a book friends and new acquaintances pick up and fall in love with and I end up saying "Oh take it...let it be my gift"... Read morePublished on May 7 2003 by Elizabeth
I have been looking through "idea" books for solutions to some of my redecorating problems and came across Ms Susanka's book Creating the Not so Big House in my search on... Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2003 by Atheen
I bought this book having enjoyed the original Not So Big House, but I found this book to be disappointing - it is very repetitive and doesn't contain any new ideas. Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2002
This book is amazing! I bought both books (the not so big house and this one) and they were incredibly valuable in designing my own home. Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2002
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