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The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live (1998)

por Sarah Susanka

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1,163817,204 (4.03)13
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 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.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 8 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Many houses are too big these days. Susanka helps us see that. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 13, 2023 |
This book belongs on the "to read" list of anyone buying or building a home. I had avoided reading the book because of Susanka's popularity, but the book contains quality content. When the book was first published in 1998 Susanka was on the forefront of the movement away from McMansions and large houses (a movement that, in my opinion, is only just now really hitting the mainstream). Although Susanka and her "Not So Big" mantra have become something of a brand now, when this book was published, she did not know whether or not anyone would care about her message.

After discussing trends in home sizes, Susanka gets down to the business of describing how to make a smaller house livable. Many books make it sound like living in a smaller space is an ordeal that must be dealt with; Susanka gives you reason to prefer smaller spaces over larger ones.

If you only remember one of Susanka's tips, remember to think about your home as a set of functional spaces rather than as a series of rooms. This small change in viewpoint changes the way you see a home. If you want to remember a bit more, the book explores several principles for creating a comfortable, livable, homey not so big house. These include: sheltered spaces around activity, multi-purpose rooms, ceiling height variation, interior views, diagonal views, and give each person a place of their own.

(Note: As of 18 Mar 2017, Dan is borrowing this) ( )
  eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |
Ok
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
For a while there, people wanted large houses—big kitchens, big vaults, big bedrooms. But now, with a greater social awareness and rapid population comes the thought that there might be a limit to how much living space a person actually needs. Sarah Susanka’s The Not So Big House takes a look at how living spaces can be modified or built to accommodate a whole range of needs without becoming sprawling ranch houses.

When square footage is limited, details are important. The setup and flow of each room must maximize their utility. Susanka’s tour of dozens of houses and floorplans shows the reader how to conceptualize their space and build accordingly. What is most stunning about this is the hundreds of photos throughout. Floorplans are nice, but actually seeing a space is necessary when talking about it. There are few famous houses here, including Wright’s Goetsch-Winkler House and a few by Le Corbusier.

All in all, this is a handy guide for building a new house or remodeling an existing space that discourages lavishness. Instead, Susanka asks the reader to really think about how they live and what rooms mean the most to them. After that, it’s the details that make a house a home. I got a great deal of ideas from this book, and I suspect other readers may as well. An engaging and vibrant book. ( )
  NielsenGW | Jan 3, 2015 |
Interesting concept about the space we live in. Quality above quantity. A house that fits the way one lives and reflects what one appreciates. Much of it harkened to the arts and crafts style and Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie and Usonian houses.
  ellenr | Nov 11, 2010 |
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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 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.

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