One book I always recommend to clients is The Not So Big House: A Blueprint For the Way We Really Live by Sarah Susanka. Actually this is a series of books by the author who is an architect. All the books are a great reference for anyone thinking or even dreaming about a new house or how to improve their existing home. The series includes: More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home, Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live, Home By Design: Transforming Your House Into Home, Inside The Not So Big House: Discovering the Details That Bring a Home to Life, Outside The Not So Big House: Creating the Landscape of Home, Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home and Not So Big Solutions For Your Home.
My favorite concepts that these books illustrate are how to make a home for the way YOU live and creating quality over quantity. I am listed as an architect on the Home Professionals Directory at the www.notsobighouse.com website and often talk to potential clients who are interested in a small house. The idea isn’t about making a small house as much as making a right sized house for you. The fun part for me as an architect is when a client walks through a finished space/room for the first time and exclaims “this is what I have always dreamed about!” Or when they call on Thanksgiving to share the excitement of their first big family dinner in their new home and it was perfect! For me to create a personalized home for clients I need to know how they live and these books have wonderful pictures, sketches and stories to help figure out what makes the most sense for their home and the way they live and entertain.
Often I discover that a client had no intention of building until they couldn’t find the right house or they currently live in a nondescript suburban house but at one time lived in bungalow or an older house filled with character. They miss the specialness and the feel of the older cozy house and want a new comfortable home. These books illustrate principles of designing and making a home with character. I believe it is also about adding a little joy to the way you live. A client recently moved into a home that I designed the complete renovation of and one of her favorite windows and views is in the pantry! It is a great small window just the right size for the efficient pantry. It is required or necessary to have a window there? No, but it makes a small space nicer and allows a moment to pause when unloading groceries or pondering what’s for dinner! The small window view also reveals the backyard in a unique cropped way that is different from the home’s other windows.
These books challenge you to think about the way you live and entertain. By providing wonderful examples and details about homes the author/architect has designed, it is provides inspiration to tailor your home to your lifestyle.