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Brand: Taunton Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
We are just completing the construction of our new home. While this book was certainly not the only source of ideas, it was certainly critical in giving us the courage to abandon the "starter castle" mentality of soaring ceilings and the attendent wasted space. The reaction we are getting certainly bears out the strength of these design concepts. Given the content of the other reviews, I have to be clear about the intentions of this book. It is not a book about building inexpensive houses. It is written by an architect, and architects are generally not consulted when price is the ultimate consideration. It is not a book of house plans, nor a how-to book on house design. It is a book about a design philosophy which considers the house as a place to live rather than as a monument to impress ones neighbors. The philosophy is not terribly original; why does it have to be? It is a return to basic principles of good design. We began this project with a very...
Although the concept of 'The Not So Big House' is not a revelation to many people, sometimes we need reminding that 'more' is not always 'more, and this book is a wonderful source for inspiration, both philosophicaly and practically. The book begins by showing some examples of when people put their money into building a small home with character, and others that put their money into square footage. The second of the two is only too familiar in my area (Colorado). Here there has been a trend for the last ten or so years of developments being built with large (4000+sq.ft) homes that have absolutely NO design qualities what-so-ever. Even the paint jobs are identical on literally thousands of homes. These developments are not communities. Personally I see them more as the large scale slums of the future. Really ugly. The majority of the book however shows examples, home by home, of how people have built with minimal square footage, using well thought out floor plans, and delicious design...
"The Not So Big House" is the best treatment I know of on efficient use of available space in a house design. Sarah Susanka favors built-in storage near the points of use, which is efficient in both use of square footage and on time spent getting things out of storage to where they're needed. Of course built-ins raise the cost of a house, which leads to Susanka's central thesis: a small, well-designed house with attention to detail will be costly -- but, in her opinion, worth it. She suggests toting up the square footage vs. time spent in various home spaces, and finds that typically formal living and dining rooms are budget busters that are used only rarely. Skipping these formal rooms will free up money for higher quality in the remaining spaces. Susanka falls down on the job with her limited treatment of ways a prospective home owner can save money on their dream house. Specifically, she mentions only - smaller size - less attention to detail (lower quality) - a...
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