Little did I know when I began writing down what I had come to learn as a residential architect that I would be starting a Not So Big movement. But that's what it has turned into over the past decade, with an ever increasing audience of enthusiastic participants. As our economic fortunes turned in 2008, exactly one decade after The Not So Big House
was first published, it became clear that the principles of Not So Big living provided a road map to a better and more sustainable way of building homes for the way we actually live.
When I first began talking about smaller, better-designed homes, I often attracted quizzical looks from people wanting to know why anyone would want to downsize -- or right-size, as I prefer to call it. But Not So Big fans knew. They weren't interested in houses that were all square footage and volume but no soul. They wanted homes that were comfortable to live in, highly functional, and designed for their particular way of living. They understood that impressing the neighbors with size and volume has nothing to do with their dreams of home. They wanted to live in a place that really reflected who they were as people, that gave them a secure and beautiful sanctuary from which to launch themselves into the busy world each day, and that gave them a comfortable place to return for some much-needed respite when all their external obligations were completed. They knew instinctively that the quality of home is far more important than the quantity.
For many years, starting shortly after that first book came out, I began writing a regular column for Taunton Press's popular magazine Fine Homebuilding
. These articles were lapped up by readers eager to learn more about how to tailor a home to fit its owners to a tee. After five years I decided, with the help of the folks at Taunton, to publish a volume of these articles, called Not So Big Solutions for Your Home. Unlike my other books, because of the original articles' format, the chapters in this book allowed me to go into the common problems faced by homeowners in a more detailed and information-packed way. The resulting book was very positively received, and it was clear that, once enough articles had been assembled for another volume, it would be a natural extension of the first. That's what you have in your hands now -- More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home
-- the compilation of all the other articles about house design that I've written for Taunton Press magazines since early 2002.
But it's not just the rest of the Fine Homebuilding
series you'll find here. This book also includes the 15 articles I wrote for another Taunton magazine, Inspired House. That publication, which was written primarily for homeowners rather than for builders and designers as Fine Homebuilding is, had a deeply loyal fan base, many of whom, when the magazine folded in 2006, wrote to tell the editors (and me) how sad they were that it was gone.
I'm told that "Not So Big Solutions" column was the favorite article issue after issue, proving what I've always known -- that homeowners want to know more about their homes than just how to make them look good on the surface. They want to understand what gives a house good bones and how to improve those bones to maximize their home's potential for both comfort and practicality.
And that's what this book offers -- a wealth of information and advice on how to make your home all it can be by learning to see beyond the surface problems and challenges to the potential that lies in wait of exploration. There's a huge wealth of commonsense and creative problem solving collected here that I hope will give you the tools you need to bring out the best in your home.
You can visit me at www.notsobighouse.com
, where there are many more resources to help you, including hundreds of links to information about everything from sustainability to new urbanism, as well as a Home Professionals Directory for locating architects, designers, builders, and remodelers who understand what Not So Big is all about. Whatever your home's challenges and no matter the size and scope, I wish you every success, and I hope you'll let me know how it goes.