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The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live Paperback – September 15, 2009
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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.
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The one downside is the text tends to be redundant. The points Susanka makes are inspiring, well thought out, and grounded in her real-life experiences. But there is only so many ways you can say "quality over quantity". However, it is still well worth the read to get at all the great ideas.
We got this book when we were in the planning stages for a new house at the beach, a house where we may someday live 50% of the time. We used many of Susanka's ideas for the new house, mainly the storage ideas and the multiple uses of certain areas. It was most helpful to have this resource. Our builder enjoyed it as well.
While there is one beautiful home under 1000 square feet, and a photo of a truly tiny, beautiful, and functional kitchen, many examples are for additions to homes that appear to be originally quite large. Although no square footage is given for most, they appear to be in the 2,500 - 4,000 sq ft range.
A decade later, our ideas of what we want in our dream house have changed to reflect our increasing awareness of global resources, but the concept of putting your money into quality instead of quantity is still valid. Even if your idea of not-so-big is 1,000 sq ft --or less! -- there are still inspirational ideas in this book.
Just realize that in this ten year-old book, 'Not So Big" does not mean "small." Energy and materials efficiency are outside the scope of this book, which is about high quality design and finish "for the way we really live."