- Series: Susanka
- Hardcover: 227 pages
- Publisher: Taunton Press; Expanded, 10th Anniversary ed. edition (September 23, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1600850472
- ISBN-13: 978-1600850479
- Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.9 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 256 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live (Susanka) Hardcover – September 23, 2008
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About the Author
Sarah Susanka is one of the leading residential architects in the United States. Her first book, "The Not So Big House," topped best-seller charts in Home & Garden categories in its first year of publication. Susanka has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Charlie Rose Show, and NPR's Diane Rehm Show. She is a former principal and founding partner of Mulfinger, Susanka, Mahady & Partners, Inc., the firm chosen by LIFE magazine to design its 1999 Dream House.
Top customer reviews
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This book has been criticised for concentrating too much on high-end homes. I don't think this is fair, because she does an exceptionally clear job in her section explaining why some homes are expensive to build while others aren't. She walks us through three homes, low, mid-range and expensive, explaining how the detail quality changes. Now, admittedly, she obviously loves the really expensive, high-end, $ 175-500 a square foot masterpieces she profiles. But she has empathy for those of us at the low end, and I think most readers will walk away from that section enlightened, if a little wistful.
I'm afraid I'm one of those hapless low budget folks, but I still loved her book. It has great ideas for any budget. But, in the final analysis, remember this: 'tis better to build at $ 50 a square foot, then not to build at all - as long as you're not kidding yourself about feasibility.
I think these are fantastic books. Excellent photos and floor plans illustrate each point in a crystal clear fashion. The author starts with a few basic concepts and shows their execution in various ways in different houses. A great tool for anyone planning to buy, build or remodel.
In the editions I received, both books have 10" x 10" pages. Excluding the Introductions, Afterward, etc... First book: 187 pages; probably more photos than text; medium-large, easy-to-read print. This covers the basic concepts with dozens of examples. Second book: 250 pages; probably more photos than text; medium print (a bit smaller than the first book, but still easy to read). This book focuses on 25 different homes, highlighting the key features of each.
But anyway, the book itself was very good. My husband and I are remodeling a house built in 1949 which used every nook and cranny for some function. It doesn't fit the modern concept of lots of empty space, so we are working on creating a little more empty space while using some of Susanka's ideas for making certain areas more compact. We are expanding our kitchen into a porch, but the ceiling in the porch is lower and this book gave us the idea to just keep it as it is because lowered ceilings add character and are something Frank Lloyd Wright used. I also like her recommendations for wood trim and moulding to warm up rooms and use many windows to bring the outside in. As my title implies, some of the details are pretty outdated such as any picture involving a computer and the kitchen chairs, but that can be overlooked since the overall ideas are still very usable.
The only problem is that I found the actual design and decor of the homes in the book somehow dated and uninspiring. This is definitely a personal reaction, and I'm sure others would disagree. Despite my issues with the actual look of the homes, I'd recommend this as an essential resource along with John Wheatman's books (whose design does resonate for me).