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Ten years ago, Sarah Susanka started a revolution in home design with a deceptively simple message: quality should always come before quantity. Now, the book that celebrated that bold declaration is back in this special 10th anniversary edition featuring a new introduction and 16 additional pages that explore three new homes.

Nearly a quarter-million people bought this ground-breaking book when it was published in Fall 1998. Since then, the book's simple message -- that quality should come before quantity -- has started a movement in home design. Homeowners now know to expect more. And the people responsible for building our homes have also gotten the message. Architects and builders around the country report clients showing up with dog-eared copies of The Not So Big House, pages marked to a favorite section.

Why are we drawn more to smaller, more personal spaces than to larger, more expansive ones? Why do we spend more time in the kitchen than we do in the formal dining room? The Not So Big House proposes clear, workable guidelines for creating homes that serve both our spiritual needs and our material requirements, whether for a couple with no children, a family, empty nesters, or one person alone.

In 1999, Sarah Susanka was then architect and principal with Mulfinger, Susanka, Mahady & Partners, the firm selected to design the 1999 Life Dream House that brought Frank Lloyd Wright's same common-sense, human-scale design principles to our generation. Consider which rooms in your house you use and enjoy most, and you have a sense of the essential principles of The Not So Big House. Whether you seek comfort and calm or activity and energy at home, The Not So Big House offers a place for every mood.

'Susanka shows how to downsize the dream house without diminishing the dream.'
-- Washington Post

Download your copy now.

Additional Information
Cover 190
Publication Year 2008
Photos 224
Drawings 60
Other Formats 70949
Isbn 978-1-62710-161-5
Author Sarah Susanka, Kira Obolensky
Pages 240
Format eBook (PDF)
Toc Introduction to the Second Edition


Bigger Isn't Better

Rethinking the House

Making Not So Big Work

Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous

Dreams, Details, and Dollars

The House of the Future

The Not So Big House: 10 Years On

Intro It's been 10 years since I wrote The Not So Big House, ten years that have had a profound impact on the lives of the thousands of people who've implemented Not So Big design principles in their own homes. Those 10 years have also seen changes in my own life that I could never have predicted. My vocation has changed from that of a residential architect who occasionally writes and speaks in public to that of a writer and public speaker who occasionally designs houses. And I've become the leader of a Not So Big movement that is changing the way people around the world think about what really matters in their homes, their communities, and their lives.

There are now six books in the Not So Big House series, as well as another called The Not So Big Life, which explains how to apply these same principles to the architecture of our lives. Everywhere I go I hear from enthusiastic fans who tell me of the joy that their new or remodeled home now brings them, thanks to the ideas they gleaned from these books. Architects, designers, builders, and remodelers also thank me for having written a series of books that allows their clients to readily understand the importance of good design and construction. The public is slowly but surely coming to understand that quality matters far more than quantity, and that the feeling of home can be found not through mere size but through thoughtful design, personalization, and attention to detail.

There are also signs that the housing industry is starting to get the Not So Big message. Data collected each year by the National Association of Homebuilders indicate that the average size of a new home in the United States has finally started to level off (at just under 2,500 sq. ft.). Homeowners are making tradeoffs, with higher quality trumping additional space. More than 40% of new homes are now built without a living room, and for the coming decade design and sustainability are cited as two of the most important features for a new home.

I like to think that the Not So Big House series has helped to turn this tide. By simply encouraging homeowners to have the courage of their own convictions and build only the spaces they know they will use, the focus has changed from the quantity of space to the quality of design.

My journey as emissary of the Not So Big message began just a few weeks after the book was published in 1998 when it shot up to number one on The phone began to ring off the hook as reporter after reporter wanted to know why homeowners might actually choose to downsize. DOWNSIZE? Isn't that un-American? But they were fascinated, too. It was an entirely new notion, at least at the end of the 1990s. A month or two later, Charlie Rose called, then Diane Rehm, then Oprah. They all wanted to know what this 'quality over quantity' message was all about and who all these people were who were responding so positively to this clarion call.

I wondered, too, for a few months, and then the answer came in the form of an article on 'Cultural Creatives' by sociologist Dr. Paul Ray. Ray identified a heretofore hidden segment of the population, more than 50 million strong, who were disenchanted with the values reflected in the mass media. Cultural Creatives were looking instead for ways to live responsibly, sustainably, and meaningfully. He identified that, among other things, members of this group were looking for homes that were smaller, beautifully designed, energy efficient, and unpretentious.

The Not So Big House (eBook)

  • by Sarah Susanka, Kira Obolensky
  • eBook (PDF)
  • Product Code: TP-HDS67077669
Availability: In Stock
Today's Price: $21.56
List Price: $29.95
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