08 March 2010

More Not So Big Solutions For Your Home

Sarah Susanka sits in a place of honor in my personal pantheon. I'm not kidding when I credit her with the inspiration to embark on my career. She and Marc Vassallos released Not So Big Remodeling last year and I covered it pretty thoroughly here, here and here. That last here is an interview I did her last year. I'm not one for being star struck, but I lack words to describe the thrill it was to pick up the phone and call a woman who looms so large in my psyche.

So here we are a year later and Sarah has another new book. More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home hit the shelves last Tuesday, though I've had a review copy for about three weeks. The new book is a collection of articles she's written for Taunton Publishing's Inspired House and Fine Homebuilding.

A year ago, she and I had a wide-ranging conversation and we talked a lot about the state of housing in the US. I asked her what she though would be the fate of people who were currently stuck in poorly-built, soul-less McMansions now that the housing market had collapsed. She thought for a moment and said that how to "humanize" a McMansion was definitely a topic for another book

Well, that other book is here and in the course of More Not So Big Solutions' 154 pages, she offers guidance and advice on how to imply a ceiling in a room that's too tall, how to unify an interior with horizontal trim and where to put the TV among many other topics she covers in this wide-ranging and practical book.

She spends some chapters addressing how to design a kitchen island, a guest bedroom and a functional laundry room. She discusses how to pick wall colors, how to squeeze in a half bath and where to put the smoke detectors. Every point she makes is illustrated with Sarah's own renderings, some of which I'm re-printing here. What's not represented by a rendering is covered by the lush photography Taunton Press and the Not So Big books are famous for.

All of this advice is written in the calm, clear cadence she uses when she speaks. Everything, and I mean everything, is an opportunity in her world and that's an infectious perspective. You can see Sarah's entire collection of essays, books, videos, blogs and forums on the Not So Big House website.

If you're looking for some guidance on how to adjust the scale of your home or just some encouragement to make your home look like it's yours, More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home is a perfect addition to your library.


  1. Is this a review for the first not-so-big-solutions or the second more-not-so... ? I know I am being picky but it morphed somewhere in the middle so I am wondering which book has some of the topics you mentioned.

  2. What? This is all about her new book although I mention her previous titles int here too. Let me check everything again.

  3. Wow, adding this to my Amazon wish list. Great post! So enjoyed hearing about the latest book from one my all time favorite design authors. Oh please let's move away from the cookie-cutter McMansions. We have far too many in Fairfield County!

  4. Paul: You have probably read her book "The not so big life" too but worth mentioning. I have it by my bedside. ( along with about 12 other books i am currently "reading" LOL) The exercise on page 170 about "making a time for place and solitude" has been so helpful to me. I am guilty of not always practicing it...I will admit....and lordy lordy anyone who knows me, know I should! I just thought this book was excellent for those of us in design/construction especially because she relates so much back to the "business".

  5. The woman is a visionary, there's no other word and her latest title continues in a straight line from her previous work. It's brilliant and the timing for this material couldn't be more timely.

    Cheryl: I have all of her stuff and if you ever get the chance to meet her do it. She really walks the walk. Her ideas about an Away Room have changed just about everything I do.

  6. Thanks for the reminder. Our early 1900s Victorian-ish has very small rooms and I have been pulling my hair out searching for new furniture. All of the huge, overstuffed stuff in all of the stores is way too big for us. I forgot about her books and need to take a little trip to B&N to make a few purchases.

  7. The woman can walk on water, I swear. Finding new furniture that's scaled small enough for rooms such as the ones you have can be a real character builder. So much of what you see in furniture stores is scaled for suburban monstrosities. You may want to call in a designer...


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