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Not So Big Solutions for Your Home Paperback – October 1, 2002


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Not So Big Solutions for Your Home + More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home + Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home (Susanka)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561586137
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561586134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 8.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Do more with less space" is the key concept of this down-to-earth design guide for both new home builders and remodelers. Not So Big Solutions for Your Home provides simplified design principles in jargon-free language for the nonprofessional contemplating a residential building project. Architect and author Sarah Susanka, well-known for 1998's The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live, offers advice on how to redefine space to create happier living areas that function more efficiently. For example, analyzing the family's television habits and planning set placement in advance may avert future squabbles and smooth out daily living. Thinking of each exterior door as the location of a sequence of common events (such as hauling in the groceries or taking off muddy boots) will help the planner create a neater entryway adapted to the family's specific needs. Throughout, plentiful drawings and photos illustrate simple solutions to such common problems as unused living rooms, dark bedrooms, and crowded kitchens. Readers seeking to remodel on a budget will be heartened by Susanka's contention that it is often best to stay within existing walls and avoid building out. All in all, the book provides a lot of theoretical food for thought for lay people preparing to begin the daunting task of either building a new home or remodeling an old one. --Judy Fireman

From Library Journal

Dubbed "America's Favorite Home Architect" by Fine Homebuilding magazine, where her "Drawing Board" column appears, Susanka here presents a small compilation of 31 essays from the column that offer a number of solutions to household design problems both big and small. Throughout, she stresses the importance of practical designs that increase a home's aesthetic appeal and allow homeowners to use their houses in the most efficient way. Susanka offers an eclectic mix: tips on site selection, mud room design, planning to fit specific furniture, creating a family room that works, personalizing with tile, and planning window seats, pantries, TV placement, and floor plan changes. Most of the projects are major undertakings, but several could be done inexpensively. Certainly, most homeowners could find something in this title to increase their enjoyment of their home. Susanka's previous two books have sold over half a million copies, so there's sure to be reader interest in this title. Recommended for most public libraries.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Sarah Susanka's "Not So Big" message has become a launch pad for a new dimension of understanding--not just about how we inhabit our homes, but also about how we inhabit our planet and even our day-to-day lives. As a cultural visionary with an incredible ability to understand the underlying structure of the American lifestyle, Susanka is providing the language and tools that are redefining how we live.

Thought leader, inspirational keynote speaker and acclaimed architect, Susanka is the author of nine books that collectively weave together home and life design, revealing that a "Not So Big" attitude serves not only architectural aims, but life goals as well. Her books have sold well over 1.5 million copies. Susanka's most recent book, More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home, was released in February 2010.

Through her Not So Big House presentations and book series, Susanka has helped readers understand that the sense of "home" they're seeking has almost nothing to do with quantity and everything to do with quality. She points out that we feel "at home" in our houses when where we live reflects who we are in our hearts.

In her book and presentations about The Not So Big Life, she uses this same set of notions to explain that we can feel "at home" in our lives only when what we do reflects who we truly are. Susanka unveils a process for changing the way we live by fully inhabiting each moment of our lives and by showing up completely in whatever it is we are doing.

Susanka's inspiring "Not So Big" keynotes and presentations have been sought out by renowned conferences such as West Coast Green, the Housing Leadership Summit and PCBC. Major corporations including Johnson & Johnson, Lowe's, Target, Best Buy and Herman Miller as well as key government and civic organizations such as the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Association of Homebuilders, The American Institute of Architects and The National Trust for Historic Preservation regularly invite Susanka to address their conferences. Universities, art museums, leadership conferences, health care groups and wellness centers seek her "Not So Big Life" lectures and workshops.

Susanka is regularly called upon for her insights as a social commentator and trend-spotter by USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times; magazines such as Newsweek, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader's Digest and AARP; and television programming such as "Oprah," "Good Morning America," "Charlie Rose," CNN, HGTV and "This Old House."

Fast Company named Susanka to their debut list of "Fast 50" innovators whose achievements have helped to change society, Newsweek magazine selected her as a "top newsmaker" for 2000, and U.S. News and World Report dubbed her an "innovator in American culture" in 1998. Susanka was presented with the 2007 Anne Morrow Lindbergh Award by the Lindbergh Foundation for outstanding individual achievement in making positive contributions to our world.

Susanka is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council. She was born in Kent, England, and travels from Raleigh, North Carolina. Join her online community at www.NotSoBig.com.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
This book will be invaluable for anyone looking to build/remodel their home.
Burgundy Damsel
Within a very short time, Sarah Susanka has had a profound impact on the way families approach the design of their home.
Roger C. Parker
Definitely a good book, but if you subscribe to Fine Homebuilding, you'll find that you've already read this.
David Somers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 125 people found the following review helpful By P. Heaphy on December 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Sarah Susanka's other books for their beautiful pictures, hopeful text, and "its so easy, it just takes thinking out of the box" attitude. I was hopeful that this book was aimed more for people like me - a simple homeowner looking for some tips (as opposed to an architect or person designing their own home). While there are some "not so big" solutions for everyday living, such as thinking about your recycling area and making use of space under the stairs, there really isn't anything new or awe-inspiring in this book. Much of the book still has to do with initial design of the space, and other big money expenditures. I still rated this book 4 stars as it is a beautiful, eye-catching read, but the information can also be found on HGTV.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Christopher M Vaughan on September 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Once again, Sarah Susanka has taken some pretty basic conceptual problems in home design and explained various solutions to them that are eye-opening to say the least. While this book is a compendium of her "Drawing Board" articles out of Fine Homebuilding Magaine, it gives the reader a real sense of what they can do either through new construction or remodeling to improve their lifestyles as well as their homes.
Bravo, keep on writing Sarah.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Roger C. Parker on November 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Within a very short time, Sarah Susanka has had a profound impact on the way families approach the design of their home.
Eschewing the "bigger is better" model that drives the profits of developers and mass production builders, Sarah Susanka has introduced a new vocablary of user-centered design that focuses on the details that make for a pleaant living experience.
Her "smaller is better" philosophy is based on often overlooked details like window size, providing built-in spaces for daily activities, creating "comfort zones" by varying ceiling heights and room lighting, and a myriad of other simple-in-themselves, but major-in-their-impact details.
Not So Big Solutions for Your Home should be considered required reading for you if you're remodeling or building a house you want to be comfortable in.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Sunny Skies on December 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
While reading this book I kept expecting and hoping for practical information on solutions for spaces in my current home. I checked this book out of the library based solely on the title. It was a very interesting book. Many of the solutions would mean reconstruction or a considerable outlay of money. If you are in the process of building or remodeling, this is a very informative book that provides practical and efficient ideas for using and designing your space and I give it a 5-star rating.

If you are looking for lots of design ideas for problem areas, you may find a few relevant tips, but not enough to warrant purchasing of this book, so I would give it a 3-star rating.

I am giving this book a 4 star because it really does not cover "Not so Big Solutions for your Home". It should have been called Solutions and Practical Ideas for Constructing your Home. That title would have earned a 5 star.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By houseinprogress on January 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Our guiding philosophy and inspiration. An engaging and intelligent defense of building (and renovating) smarter, not bigger. Sarah Susanke has made a career of promoting traditional design principles in a way that speaks to modern situations (many of us can't afford new, huge houses) and responds to the "McMansions" craze that continues to sweep the US. She has a wonderful sense of how to maximize space for personal use. She advocates for built-in furniture, design built around daily activities, and open light-filled design. She had us at "Most architects are afraid to say...'You don't need an addition, you need a cleaning service." She doesn't want to clean out your bank account. She wants you to make the most of what you have...and if you follow her ideas, you will.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you liked Sarah Susanka's other books, you will love this one. It has specific ideas on designing rooms for the way people live, such as placement of TVs in a home and setting up a place to sort mail. For everyone who has always wanted a window seat, the book addresses design considerations. I will definitely read through this book a couple more times before my house is built.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By H. Kittleman on January 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is best read *before* one even selects the lot for their home, but it does contain a few good ideas for those who want to remodel.

In the beginning, she talks about site selection and designing the house to take advantage of and to fit in with the site. She also talks about window placement and roof lines to make sure the outside of the house looks "right."

The bulk of the book talks about things such as designing a mudroom, a mail-sorting place, where to place a tv - in other words, how to design real-life living spaces for real-life tasks and habits.

The book also includes thoughts about details, both aesthetic and practical - varying ceiling heights, skylight considerations, where to place outlets and light switches, and window placement.

The last part of the book talks about simple floor plan changes to existing homes, how to make an addition blend seamlessly into the exisiting struction, a smart solution on how to add a window seat, etc.

Where the Not So Big House dealt with the concept of smart design, this book give more specific applications of smart design. If you're in the planning stages of home-building, I highly recommend this book.
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