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on November 7, 2005
There was a time when I wanted and even could say needed a McMansion type house. At the time I had a wife and a house, a boy and a girl, a dog and a cat, a car and a pickup. But the boy and girl grew up, the dog and cat passed on, wife went away and the house wasn't where I wanted to live (or clean, or cool, or heat). So I moved to a less than 1,000 foot house whose age was listed by the tax assessor in 1942 as 'old.' And now I'm in the remodelling mode.

This book is a fairly typical architecture picture book. What makes it unique is that it is filled with houses about the size of mine. It shows the interior treatment that some 23 small house owners have used to get the most effective use out of the small space available.

What I wanted, and what I got out of the book was a lot of ideas about how to do things. I haven't decided just yet what I'm going to do, but re-doing the floor is next. Then the kitchen. I think I want to do something like page 56 of this book.
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on February 22, 2006
This book follows up on the other books by the author, The Not so Big House, and Creating the Not so Big House. When published, those books created a sort of mini-revolution in the "bigger is better approach" to homes.

This book follows up to the original idea of a not so big house by offering attractive and functional details one can add to it.

There is nothing overtly wrong with this book, it is beautifully photographed, but I did not gain a whole lot from reading it. As the title indicates, it's about detail, the stuff that is extra to an already well built house, (ie built in bookshelves, window seats, etc.). Because the possibilities with detail are nearly endless, the author chooses some of her favorites and devotes the book to exploring them. If those details are exactly what you are looking for in your plans, this book is probably worthwhile, albeit pricey, but if the details are not suited to your lifestyle or aesthetic consider skipping it.
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on March 1, 2006
This book (as all of Susanka's books) is ideal for both the home owner as well as the house hunter.

Regardless of whether you have a large or small home or an expensive high-end or sheet rock box, this book will help you turn your house from a place where you reside into a home where you LIVE.

My only complaint about this book is the lack of floor plans. However, you can download most of the floor plans of the projects in this book by going to Susanka's web site (if you can't find it, just google "notsobighouse").
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on February 23, 2006
Sarah Susanka's books finally explained why I've never been comfortable in many large homes and why I've always hated huge master suites with tall ceilings. I've been asked many times who my designer is and have friends and colleagues asking me to help with their home design. I just sold a home and buyers were asking my advice with their design problems. The home sold within a week for a record amount for the neighborhood. I owe it all to Sarah's books for rewiring my way of thinking about architecture and design.
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on March 21, 2006
In this astonishing book, which is filled with wonderful ideas, as well as being a beautiful coffee table book, we are granted an inside look at a truly new concept in home design in our age of teardowns and mega-mansions, a concept that smaller can be more satisfying than larger, if properly done. Here we are presented with something seldom viewed these days, how to make a house a home. There is something for every taste herein, and it is even multi-cultural, with oriental viewpoints as well on both furniture and flow of the home. Spend some time with this excellent book to see how every size home can be made more personal and beautiful, no matter what the budget.
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on December 14, 2005
I discovered this book from an Orlando Sentinel review. It just makes so much sense, not to have all the duplicated spaces that today's big American homes have. Now really, how many places do you need to have for eating (a breakfast room, a dining room, an eating counter, and a table on the patio)? Think about it.

I like the sampling of cosy homes in the book, especially the houseboat. Let's start asking home builders for quality, not just quantity.
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on March 20, 2006
Sarah books are a staple in my books of design collection. I refer to them frequently. She has a wonderful sense of design as it relates to organization, usefullness,and asthetically pleasing. I wish more designers and architects would use her sensibility and we would not be over run with all the hideous, vapid,mac mansions everywhere. I would reccommend all of her books without hesitation.
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on November 7, 2005
Best-selling author of "The Not So Big House" Sarah Susanka teams up with architectural design writer Marc Vassallo to present Inside The Not So Big House, an interior decorating guide that explores both the tangible and intangible that add life, character, and aesthetic appeal to the inside of a home. From evoking the "Classic Cottage Simplicity" atmosphere to "Texas Tuscan", and more, chapters cover a wide assortment of moods as well as more general tips such as how to define space with light and how to evoke a serene atmosphere on a budget. Easy-to-follow instructions, tips, tricks and techniques for organizing space, and gorgeous full-color photographs on every page make this a vivid and expressive sourcebook of inexpensive ideas for both amateurs and professionals to make a home look great.
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on July 2, 2009
I'm not sure what this book is supposed to be about. Sounds odd, maybe, but seems to be more about pretty pictures and unrealistic interior decorating ideas than how to best use the space in a small home, which is what we thought was the subject. If it's about remodeling small spaces to make them more functional, we didn't see anything new or particularly helpful. If it's about interior decorating, wow, most everything looks incredibly uncomfortable. Molded metal chairs! Just how long would you want to sit in one? Just looking at a couple of the sofas gave me a back ache. If space is limited, cluttering up the tops of furniture pieces with modern art "nick nacks" is not practical. (Ever go to a nice bed and breakfast where every single surface has decorative items and there is absolutely no where to set anything? Same idea.) We actually thought this book was more about making use of every available inch in cramped quarters and, of course, it is not, so perhaps this review is a bit unfair or too harsh, but we simply didn't find it practical or helpful to us.
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on May 8, 2011
I thought I could use some advice in terms of maximising space and this Book Title seemed promising.
The examples in this book were poor. A light fitting supposedly makes a room look bigger. However the camera has zoomed out in the picture with the light fitting, so it seems deceptive when camera effects have been used. There was an example of double vaulted arches and a picture without the arches. I thought this was the after picture. I could clearly see the room looked bigger without the enclosing vaulted arches, but No, they were suggesting the defining curves were better! How about this example: Don't use doors on your cupboards - More space- I think not. They love shelves in this book. Open shelves with lots of books and stuff. Instant messy look in my opinion. Did they hang the flat screen on the wall? Oh no, lets totally waste space and mount in on an enormous entertainment unit with cupboards and book shelves. And hey the speakers can be hidden behind the TV. Do we even need additional speakers when space is an issue?

They suggest panelling a wall in an apartment to add interest, never mind that once again the room looks smaller. There was a chapter on "Creating Coziness", in other words making it look smaller - come on, not in a book called "inside the not so big house." I was looking forward to the storage chapter, but alas nothing useful. The colours were very bland and neutral, which would be helpful to create space, I suppose.

I can tell effort has gone into the presentation of this book, but it doesn't live up to my expectation of the "Not so Big House "title, hence a disappointment. If you like lots of detail, trimmings, curves, textures, decorations and features, you may like this book. It was more of a how to enhance, a bit of this and that, if space is your main concern, skip this book.
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