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Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live Hardcover – March 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Susanka
  • Hardcover: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (March 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156158827X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561588275
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 10 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

For more than a decade, [Susanka] has urged people to build better, not bigger. Now, as the U.S. economy struggles to climb out of a tailspin and environmental concerns rise, her message has gone mainstream. New homes, after doubling in size since 1960, are shrinking. Last year, for the first time in at least 10 years, the average square footage of single-family homes under construction fell dramatically, from 2,629 in the second quarter to 2,343 in the fourth quarter, Census data show. The new motto: living well with less. --USA Today March 17, 2009

Latest book from 'Not So Big' priestess lays out steps to take the expense, disruption out of remodeling. Soft-spoken Sarah Susanka wouldn't seem to be the "I told you so" type, but ... well, she told you so. For more than a decade, the architect has campaigned for houses to be built smaller but better. Her basic message: Figure out how big a house you need, and then subtract about a third of the square footage. Good design will make up the difference. Her eighth book, "Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live" (Taunton Press, 330 pages, $32), co-written with architect Marc Vassallo. It aims, she says, to help homeowners make smaller remodeling gestures, or, in her parlance, "Not So Big moves." Susanka's buffet of remodeling solutions leans toward less expense and less disruption of daily life. She places them in three Not So Big categories: working within the existing footprint; creating room "bumpouts" that extend the space by a couple of feet; and smallish, cost-effective room additions. --Chicago Tribune

About 10 years ago, architect Sarah Susanka released a book that became a marker for the housing industry's turn toward "building better, not bigger." Her new book, out this month, has the potential to do the same for the remodeling world. In "Not So Big Remodeling" ($32, Taunton Press, Susanka and Marc Vassallo apply the same concepts to existing homes, and offer room-by-room considerations to help homeowners determine what they really need, and how to more efficiently use the spaces they have. --Cincinnati Enquirer

Review

Talk about timing. Although it was conceived in 2004, "Not So Big Remodeling" arrives right on cue. Where once we bought houses as savings plans, collecting a tidy profit upon their sale and rolling it over to the next house, we now wonder how to make do. Here is salve for our recession depression. Like the other books in the "Not So Big" series, the quest is to live responsibly, sustainably and meaningfully; make every dollar count. The point to taking this new look at your old house is the possibility of making a big impact with relatively inexpensive changes. Not just a book of ideas, this "Not So" helps readers think like an architect along a room-by-room journey of examination and evaluation. Who couldn't use a little more comfortable, functional and sustainable nest right about now? Besides, you might be reading this in the house of your dreams. You just don't know it yet.

Sarah Susanka changed the way we think about home building with her landmark book, The Not So Big House. But not everyone, of course, has the luxury of starting from scratch. So now Susanka and co-author Marc Vassallo are addressing existing homes with Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live. The book furthers Susanka's mission of encouraging people to add character to their homes while getting maximum livability from the square footage.

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Customer Reviews

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Live like royalty in your own small house!
An Ohio Consumer
I have a number of Sarah Susanka's books, but I believe this one to be one of the very best.
NatureDoc
Great overall update ideas as well as practical approaches to usability and beauty.
Flourish Designs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By L. Stukel on March 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It's almost a good thing Remodeling the Not So Big House wasn't out during my remodeling project. I think I would have slept with it under my pillow! I got so much out of a different book in the series that I had to run out and get Remodeling even though my remodeling is done!

It is as well-written, organized and photographed as the other books in the series. I am an EcoBroker Certified real estate agent so I was eager to review the green chapter. I agree with Susanka that, really, the whole book is a green book. The concepts go hand in hand...less space is more green, getting more out of every inch is green, making something beautiful so it lasts is green.

The concepts from the other books carry over. The Not So Big House made such a difference in the plans for our remodel. We were feeling really stuck because the idea of the 5th bedroom that our builder and architect suggested felt so wrong to us. We learned is that if you ask someone like that how to solve a problem they will solve it with a bigger blueprint or a bigger hammer. Not So Big Hosue gives a voice and confidence to the resisting going bigger to solve problems.

There were two outcomes in our design that I directly credit to inspiration from the books. First, we have this fantastic closet that solved our problem of creating a master bedroom in about 1/3 of the space. The bonus was that it also gave us the opportunity to do a facelift on the front exterior. Second, we were trying to maximize the kitchen space. One of the options to get an island in there was to close off the entry between the kitchen and the dining room. After reading the book I realized we would essentially be cutting off 400 square feet of space as we'd never have reason to use the dining room or the living room.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By modernemama on April 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
With Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live Sarah Susanka and co-author Marc Vassallo employ the mantra "build better, not bigger" to present a go-to resource book on sustainable design for homeowners and architects alike.
Using her own classic Cape style house as an example Susanka offers three options for efficient remodeling: work within the existing footprint; consider a small bump-out and lastly build an appropriate addition. Often minor changes are all that are needed to fix an awkward layout or improve flow within the house and the authors always emphasize integrating the old with the new so the house is cohesive and aesthetically pleasing.
The reader is challenged to really consider the way they live within their homes and although most of the book is dedicated to making small spaces more useful Susanka also tackles large houses that are out of proportion to the human scale and offers smart solutions to make them more comfortable.
Not So Big Remodeling is glossy enough to keep on the coffee table yet packed full of plans and blueprints and I would be happy to own it for the photography alone. Many of the houses featured have beautiful natural wood trim and doors with a Craftsman feel that is immediately appealing. But there's so much more to this book than obvious visual appeal, it contains tips and ideas on every page that can be incorporated into any remodeling project - large or small - including the updating of my house.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Flourish Designs on September 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Finally, a Not So Big optimized for those not stick-building their own home. Not only is revamping an existing home a greener option than building new (no matter how sustainable), it's often more financially feasible. Great overall update ideas as well as practical approaches to usability and beauty.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Prairie Gal on October 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Other reviewers have already covered many of the things I admire about this book. I'd simply like to add a few other points.

The layouts are beautifully done. Having worked in publishing, I realize this never happens accidentally but is the result of careful planning and editing. The result here, which combines text, beautiful photos, blueprint-style sketches, helpful captions, pull-out quotes, sidebars, and bulleted lists, is so masterful it could serve as a textbook for graphic designers.

Sarah Susanka introduces many design concepts, such as "moving toward light" and "patterns," within the context of particular situations to show exactly how to make them work in existing spaces.

It's also obvious that her co-writer, Marc Vassallo, helped to keep the text lean yet expressive. Susanka herself confessed (in the preface to "More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home") that she has a tendency toward wordiness. That's not a problem here. Each section features a beguiling lead and then gets right to the point.

This book is a classic that I've turned to again and again whenever I need inspiration. And although we haven't moved any walls or done anything that's usually considered "remodeling," this book helped my husband and I redo several rooms -- with immensely satisfying results.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Lami on March 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I ordered my copy of Not So Big Remodeling long before the release date. As soon as it arrived I flipped through every page. Then I began a thorough reading. Each floor plan prompted a good hour of study and comparison. As I revisit a particular passage for further understanding, there are more tidbits to be gleaned. Sarah Susanka and Mark Vassallo have done an amazing job of pulling together the aesthetic, the practical, and the economical aspects of transforming an existing house into one Not So Big. Sarah has invited us into her own personal spaces. By imagining her processes of living, working, creating, being in the settings pictured and described in the new book, she inspires images of our own Not So Big lives. I think of Sarah Susanka's collection of books as one story printed in several volumes. Maybe the collective title would be Solutions for Creating a Not So Big Life by Design Inside and Outside a Not So Big House.
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