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The New Small House Hardcover – October 20, 2015
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"If you are thinking of building, you must read The New Small House, by architect Katie Hutchison (Taunton, 2015). She defines the small house as 1,700 sq. ft. or less, which is roughly the size of the New England house that she and her husband Chris call home. I think her ten small-house design strategies are especially useful -- they offer a disciplined approach to analyzing what makes a small house feel larger than it is, and by extension what makes good design. Katie's book offers a wealth of examples for each strategy and shows houses by the water, in the country, in the village, in the town, and there is a final section on retreats. Think of the book as an extension of Sarah Susanka's famous Not So Big House series of publications. Use the principles to help you find the perfect house plan for your needs and lot!"(Dan Gregory Houseplans.com)
About the Author
Architect Katie Hutchison has more than 20 years' experience in residential design and frequently provides design commentary to shelter magazines such as Fine Homebuilding and design blogs, including the online magazine House Enthusiast which she produces. She is also an award-winning fine-art photographer and author of the book The New Small House (Taunton, 2015). She earned a B.F.A. and B. Arch. from the Rhode Island School of Design and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Michigan. At Katie Hutchison Studio (KHS) she practices a multi-disciplinary approach to design. Her interest in providing accessible and information design insight has extended across multiple platforms, including YouTube (where she posts design-related videos), the KHS Facebook business Page, and @HomeWithKatie on Twitter. For more information visit www.katiehutchison.com.
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I currently live in a 1250 square foot Craftsman. The house has two nice size bedrooms, one even has an additional walk-in closet. And of course I have a foyer, living room, formal dining room, a nursery or office, bathroom, mud room along with a kitchen with a breakfast nook and pantry. This house may not be a McMansion but it does not qualify as a small house. I live in a lot of space, wonderful space and for a long time felt overwhelmed by how little of the house I actually inhabited.
In my mind and in the better books in this category, a small house does not exceed 1000 square feet. Then the challenge of space well used becomes real. Then the ideas and decorating often show ingenuity and resourcefulness. Then I find real and useful if not inspiring material. Especially when it comes to how much space I actually need.
Having said that, this is an entertaining and beautiful book. Of course my favorite houses are the smaller ones, especially the several entitled 20k Houses. The incorporation of unexpected materials such as plywood with a metallic finish also is interesting and dramatic. Some of the window designs are also exceptional ways to make more use of light and views. But lofts aren't particularly well designed or original.
So I'll keep the book but encourage you to look at other books in this category. I've reviewed all the ones I've purchased and will add here why my love of this category. It's quite simple. My house is larger than I need for the one of me and I wanted to use the space better before I went in search of a roommate. Add to this my attached 850 square foot cottage which I don't want to rent. Instead I learned from one book to consider it my "mountain cabin getaway" without the long drive to get out of the Bay Area. My success in accomplishment of all this is directly related to what I've learned from the better books on small and tiny houses. Perhaps you will find equal reward from the better books in this category while this book can provide a few ideas for extra polish.