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Living SMALL: The Life of Small Houses Paperback – December 13, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 151 pages
  • Publisher: Insitebuilders (December 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976274116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976274117
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,281,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Graphic narratives and interactive computer models illustrate the evolution of small houses in a highly accessible approach to enjoyable reading. --Ravi Srinivasan, Board Member, Delaware Valley Green Building Council, December 21, 2005

Great book! Readers can learn a lot about small house design and construction from just the illustrations in this book. --Charles Kibert, Director, Powell Center for Construction and Environment, January 6, 2006

Love the book! A wonderful way to use SketchUp to present a lot of information in a very visual format. --Brad Schell, SketchUp Inventor, Founder, @Last Software, December 17, 2005

About the Author

Dennis Fukai is a licensed architect and construction manager with more than thirty years experience as a professional construction administrator, researcher, and university professor. <b/> <b/> He is a Fulbright Scholar and PhD in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Dennis is dedicated to the design and construction of small houses and has been recognized internationally for his work with construction modeling, building information modeling, and graphic communications.

More About the Author

Dennis is a licensed architect and construction manager with more than thirty years experience as a professional construction administrator, researcher, and construction management professor. He is a Fulbright Scholar and earned his PhD in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dennis Fukai, Architect, PhD
http://insitebuilders.com/CV
---------------

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I bought the book against my better judgment.
craigbic
Just like the tutorials in Construction Modeling, the models themselves teach you something about how SketchUp works and how to properly use the program.
George Johnston
I also appreciated the humor, sometimes sarcastic and dry, that was sprinkled throughout the book.
Gregory P. Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Gregory P. Johnson on March 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a founding member of the Small House Society, much of my volunteer time serving the group involves reviewing books, websites, and other resources that are significant contributions to the small house movement.

I recently had an opportunity to review "Living Small - The Life of Small Houses" by Dennis Fukai of Insite Builders.

During the review, as I took the time to enjoy the book at a slower pace, I was really impressed with the attention to detail and the thoughtfulness that went into it. I've spent time working with AutoCAD and similar 3D modeling programs. I know that it takes a lot of work and attention to detail to put together the kinds of models used in the book. So, I could appreciate the time that went into that.

I also appreciated the humor, sometimes sarcastic and dry, that was sprinkled throughout the book. At one point, Dr. Fukai describes the Mini McMansion as being less expensive yet "the same waste and efficiency are included" as with the larger McMansions (page 13).

This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about small housing. Anyone considering building or purchasing a home of any size should seriously consider buying this book. In addition to offering a thorough look at small housing today, this text guides the reader throughout the history and development of housing in North America. An overview of larger homes is also provided to offer the reader a contrasting backdrop. The cost of building and maintaining larger inefficient homes is evaluated. By pointing out specific design techniques, the reader is made aware of what to look for in their next home and what to avoid.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By T. Crowe on June 6, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me start off by explaining that my rating of this book is based on its value for me vs. the cost of the book. It might be a good book for the right audience, but I think that audience is quite limited. If you are very interested in architectural modelling (especially using SketchUp) or are training to be an architect, this book may well be an excellent resource. Also, I did not read the entire book; I decided to return it as soon as I realized its value to me was limited. (This is, by the way, the first book I have ever returned to Amazon - out of over 100).

I was hoping the book would have more details on how to get the most "value" out of a small house. The book, however, is more of a primer on historically small houses and how they were efficient because they were purpose built/remodelled. This is certainly a valuable observation, but the book lacks any real analysis what makes these houses models for efficient modern houses, nor does it provide many principles that the reader might apply. For example, one chapter explains that farm/ranch houses originated as single room buildings that were added onto over time to accommodate additional residents, new technologies, and so forth. This is interesting, but it's not much help to someone trying to design a complete, modern house that already has a bathroom and a kitchen planned into it.

Some of the other reviewers have glowed about this book's illustrations; indeed the vector illustrations (from SketchUp) are nice, but the bitmap illustrations are very pixelated and in several cases are nearly unintelligible. Potential buyers must keep in mind that this book is a graphic novel. It is 95% illustration and 5% text (estimate).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By George Johnston on March 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have had Living SMALL: The Life of SMall Houses for a few weeks and have been pondering what to write about it. Dennis and Babs did a great job of getting this one out and the models are great. There really are 20 SketchUP V5 models on the CD and you can alter them. They even have furnishings and extra bits, like vehicles, for completeness. Just like the tutorials in Construction Modeling, the models themselves teach you something about how SketchUp works and how to properly use the program.

Living Small: The Life of Small Houses is a narration of how houses have developed over time with models to show how and why they have changed in changing environments. They also show that when a house is built for a specific purpose it can be highly optimized, to provide an efficient and comfortable dwelling with a minimum of materials and land. The Granny is my favorite, showing that by using sight lines effectively, a small house can feel much bigger than it really is.

With the redevelopment of Eastern Louisiana and Western Mississippi taking place the urban planners should be reading this book and looking at the Building Information Models (BIMs) to provide a better space and material utilization balance, read inexpensive, as well as being durable and functional. At first glance the book and models seem to be somewhat simplistic, but as you think about the information Dennis presents and the models he has provided it is like a short history of how and why to build a house. I find the book and CD to be very well done and full of examples that I can think about. Seemingly very simple but very deep.
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