Small Houses

Small Houses

SKU# 071427


From the editors of Fine Homebuilding


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Other Formats
  • Product # 071427
  • Type Paperback
  • ISBN 978-1-60085-765-2
  • Published Date 2012
  • Dimensions 8 1/2 x 10 7/8
  • Pages 240
  • Photos 350
  • Drawings 75

So long McMansions and rambling square footage…small homes are in! Easier to maintain and more affordable in hard economic times, small houses are gaining popularity in the housing market after nearly 60 years of trending up in size. Small Houses capitalizes on this shift with an all-new collection of small houses from Fine Homebuilding magazine. The featured writers, well-respected authors in their fields, look at houses—ranging from less than 1,250 sq. ft. to upward of 2,250 sq. ft.—that are both new and remodeled, urban and rural, traditional and modern. Homeowners will be pleasantly surprised that these small homes are big on charm, style, and quality and offer all types of exciting possibilities and energy efficiencies to mesh with and improve their lifestyle.


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Table of Contents


Small from the Start

Big Ideas for Small Houses

Cozy but Comfortable (under 1,200 sq. ft.)
The Big Little Backyard House
A House That's Half Porch
Guest Friendly and Cost Conscious
Living with Only What You Need
The Small House Done Well

Getting More with Less (1,300 sq. ft. to 1,550 sq. ft.)
Form Follows Function
Live Tall on a Small Footprint
Payback Time
The Ever-Evolving House
Downsizing for Comfort

The Happy Median (1,555 sq. ft. to 1,850 sq. ft.)
Building Better Affordable Homes
Year-Round Cottage in the Woods
A Low-Budget, High Impact House
From Luxury to LEED
At Home on a Hilltop

Living Large on a Budget (1,900 sq. ft. to 2,100 sq. ft.)
Pointed at the Sun
Living Lightly on the Mountain
A Duplex Grows in Brooklyn
Privacy and Light on a Small Lot
Why Modular?
Designing for Privacy and Views

Sensibly Grand (2,100 sq. ft. to 2,250 sq. ft.)
Designed for the Coast
Seduced by the Shingle Style
Beauty on the Beach
A Rustic Design for a Rugged Climate



Adding on But Staying Small

Little Add-Ons, Big Results (under 800 sq. ft.)
Small Addition, Big Improvement
Home Remedies
Living Lightly on the Whole Lot
Urban Farmstead
Seamless in Missoula

Room to Grow (over 800 sq. ft.)
From Small to Big Enough
Ranch Makeover, Bungalow Style
A Cool Texas Remodel
Bungalow Comb-Over
A House in Hiding

230  Contributors

232 Credits

234 Index


Building smaller is no longer the charming, quirky idea it was when architect Sarah Susanka wrote The Not So Big House (The Taunton Press) in 1998. Today, however, the idea of compact-but-quality house design has arrived. It’s not just for retirement or vacation homes, or for coop and condo dwellers: It’s the way we’ll build in the future.

For decades, house design was largely market driven. You needed that underutilized dining room, fourth bedroom, and enormous center hall for resale even if it didn’t suit your lifestyle. All of those extra square feet (that you couldn’t really afford) were a good investment because the equity of houses kept rising, and the more space the bigger return upon resale–or so our realtors told us. That’s all in the past. Today, house designers can turn to the real issues of how we live, what we actually need, and what we don’t.

The green building revolution has also contributed to the momentum for compact-building. Turns out that we had somehow forgotten that a smaller footprint is a lighter footprint. Smaller houses use less of just about everything, including energy for heat and cooling, and dollars for building. The average size of newly constructed houses has already begun to trend downward in recent years from about 2700 sq. ft. in 2009 to 2300 sf. in the latest survey by the National Association of Homebuilders. How much smaller houses will become is difficult to say but with decreasing household size and tight budgets, it’s a good bet newly built houses will continue to shrink in the coming years.

With this in mind, Small Houses serves up dozens of examples of carefully thought out small homes. Part I, “Small from the Start,” kicks off with 10 basic principles of small space design, ideas that can be incorporated into any remodeling or building project. The remainder of the section examines nearly 30 architect-designed homes–none over 2300 sq. ft. You’ll find floor plans for young families as well as retirees and everyone in between. There are vacation homes for beach lovers, modern-day farmhouses, and infill duplexes for young urbanites hailing from virtually every corner of the US. Each example is filled with ideas for living big in smaller spaces, including congestion-alleviating porches, decks and courtyards, space-saving storage solutions, double-duty rooms, and multi-purpose outbuildings.

Part II “Adding On But Staying Small” shows how small-scale remodeling can transform older homes without destroying their charm or breaking the bank. There’s one story of how an architect turned a living room from thoroughfare to sanctuary by changing the front door location and adding a mere 50 sf. There are several others about how adding dormers or entire second floors turned pumpkins into palaces—albeit modest ones. Still others show how old buildings, can have new lives as contemporary and efficient homes.

In addition,  Small Houses introduces readers to many homebuilding technologies and products that anyone contemplating a new house or addition should know about. They include super insulation details, structural insulated panels, insulating concrete forms, modular construction, solar thermal and electric systems, passive cooling, radiant heat, fiber-cement board and steel panel siding, rainwater and grey water collection systems, daylighting, and much more.

Begin planning your new small dream home right here!


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