Topics of Interest
"The Not-So-Big House"


In 1998, a refreshing book by Sarah Susanka entitled The Not-So-Big House was released by Taunton Press.  The "Not-So-Big House", is not any particular size.  It could be 2000 square feet, it could be 4000 square feet or more.  The  "Not-So-Big House" is instead a thought process of finding more value, in less square footage; a process of analyzing what rooms and spaces you will really utilize, and what may still be missing in that over-sized floor plan of bigger-is-better.  The book examines the sense of spaciousness that can be generated in spaces that are really modest in scale, but by open sight lines connecting spaces, and changes in scale (by ceiling height changes for example) within each space, the whole becomes more than the sum of the parts.

The principles outlined are illustrated by many beautiful photographs of good design in this book,  grouped according to the chapter headings, "Bigger Isn't Better", "Rethinking the House",  "Making Not-so-Big Work", "Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous", "Dreams, Details, and Dollars", and "The House of the Future."

In 1999,  I received a call from the Asheville-Buncombe Library System, asking if I would be willing to do a lecture for their lecture series on the immensely popular subject of Sarah Susanka's best selling book, The Not-So-Big House.  During October of 1999, I delivered this lecture to the East Asheville Library, and illustrated these principals with slides of my own work.  You may wish to read the article about my lecture in the Asheville-Citizen Times.  See "My Back Pages" below.

On September 19, 2002 we were honored by Sarah Susanka's presence for a standing-room-only lecture she delivered to a broad Asheville audience at the Diana Wortham Theater.  The first event of an annual lecture series, sponsored by the Asheville Section of the AIA, her wonderful talk with slides of good and bad home designs, showed us the thought process by which poorly scaled spaces and poorly thought-out floor plans bring us the wasted space and mediocrity we find today in so many builder designed "spec homes" or "custom" builder-designed homes.   Emphasizing a more complete thought process with regard to planning and designing the single family home, she gave many great examples of home designs by herself and other professionally trained architects; designs which provide more value with less floor area; designs which better support the activities of home and family life.

Recommended Reading:

1)        The Not So Big House
        Sarah Susanka, 1998
2)        Creating the Not So Big House
        Sarah Susanka, 1998


My Back Pages
In the following article that Rob Nuefeld wrote for the Asheville-Citizen Times, he  announces my lecture at the East Asheville Library, and discusses how these principals are manifested in my own residential design work.