728: The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka

by Gerard


728.37: Susanka, Sarah. The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live. Newtown, CT: Taunton Press, 2001. 194 pp. ISBN 1-56158-611-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts and Recreation
  • 720: Architecture
  • 728: Residential and related buildings
  • 3: Specific kinds of conventional housing
  • 37: Separate houses

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.