Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home (Susanka)

Susanka, Sarah

Published by Taunton Press, 2002
ISBN 10: 1561586056 / ISBN 13: 9781561586059
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The Not So Big House created a movement that is changing the way people think about the American home. That groundbreaking book proposed a new blueprint for the American home: a house that values quality over quantity, with an emphasis on comfort and beauty, a high level of detail, and a floor plan designed for today's informal lifestyle.

Creating the Not So Big House is the blueprint in action. Focusing on key design strategies such as visual weight, layering, and framed openings, Sarah Susanka takes an up-close look at 25 houses designed according to Not So Big principles. The houses are from all over North America in a rich variety of styles -- from a tiny New York apartment to a southwestern adobe, a traditional Minnesota farmhouse, and a cottage community in the Pacific Northwest. Whether new or remodeled, these one-of-a-kind homes provide all the inspiration you need to create your own Not So Big House.

Review: 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

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Title: Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and ...
Publisher: Taunton Press
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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