31 March 2009

Dacor's got a new incentive program

Appliances never go on sale. I've been repeating that for years and to the best of my knowledge, that's a true statement. Consumer-grade appliances regularly run rebate programs, but that's technically not a sale. Luxury appliances not only never go on sale, they never go in for incentives either.

Well in another sign that the times they are a changin', Dacor is running a pretty sweet incentive program through the end of April and they're calling it their All Fired Up promotion. Check this out:

If you buy an Epicure gas range, Dacor will give you a seven piece Dacor Signature cookware set.

If you purchase a cook top and a wall oven,

They'll throw in a free microwave oven

or a warming drawer.

If you purchase a cook top, a wall oven

and a free-standing refrigerator, you'll get either a free microwave oven or a warming drawer and $100.

If you purchase a dual-fuel range and a free-standing refrigerator,

you'll get either a ventilation hood,

a pop-up ventilator,

or an integrated ventilation system plus $100 cash.

If you buy a cook top, a wall oven and a built-in refrigerator, you get either a free microwave oven or a warming drawer plus $300.

If you purchase a dual-fuel range and a built-in refrigerator, you get a free ventilation hood, pop-up ventilator or integrated ventilation system plus $300 cash.

Dacor makes a great appliance, they're not more expensive for the sheer joy of charging you more money --they actually work better than the run-of-the-mill.

29 March 2009

Reader question: How do I explain a bidet to a four-year-old?

Help! My husband, my son and I were over at my cousin's new house last weekend and while we were walking around the master bath and oohing and aahing over the size and decor it was hard not to notice that she had one of those things (I blush when I say the word) next to the toilet. I can't help it, every time I see one they just scream out to me "We have lots of s*x and don't shower afterwards." Anyhow, my four-year-old asked why they had two toilets in the bathroom. I was embarrassed and didn't know what to say, so I told him that there were two so that no one had to wait while the other one finished. He said "nasty" and didn't push it any further. But seriously, what do you tell the kids?
Mother of God woman! Part of me wants to be calm and reassuring but an even bigger part of me want to throttle you. I'm really floored by this. I mean really. What the hell kind of a question is that? Based on your description and your shame-based reaction to it, I'm going to assume what you're talking about is a bidet. There, I said it. Bidet. Repeat after me. Bi-day. See? Nothing happened. It's just a word.

Similarly, a bidet is an object and as such it can't good or bad, it just is. Whatever discomfort you feel about bidets is coming from your own sick mind. Bidets don't scream anything. They can't because they're objects. Sex is another word that's just a word. You might have a better grip on what to tell your son if you could bring yourself to spell out the word sex in an e-mail to a stranger. Similarly, penis, vagina and anus are just words. As words they can't be anything but neutral. As body parts they can't be anything other than morally neutral either. What ever meaning or significance they have, their rightness or wrongness, comes from you. They are also the body parts that get washed in a bidet. See? Simple words describing simple, every day acts. No big deal. No cause for alarm. No sweeping statements about my character for the simple act of describing something.

Your skittishness about spelling out the word sex or even writing the word bidet speak of much larger issues you have about your body, other people's bodies and the biological functions those bodies perform. For the sake of your son, please talk to somebody about this stuff. You owe it to him and more importantly, you owe it to yourself. How can you expect to be an effective parent if you can't call things what they are?

So to answer your question, "what do you tell the kids?" The answer is the truth. Tell them the truth about this and about everything else. Rather than making up a lie and getting the response you got (which by the way is the seed of your neuroses taking root in a new generation --good job!), you could have told him something as simple as "some people wash themselves in a bidet." That way, you could have called a thing what it is and you could have told him the truth at the same time. If it led to more questions, then you could have answered them. Truthfully. Pretty simple stuff, really.

And while we're on the subject of the truth, people do use bidets to clean themselves. Really. That's all they're for. Having one doesn't say anything, because it can't. It's a thing if you remember, and things don't talk. So do me a favor if you haven't already stopped reading. The next time you're in the presence of a bidet, climb on board. The Pause that Refreshes will take on a whole new layer of meaning, believe me.

28 March 2009

'Tis the season for contests

Everybody's giving away something all of the sudden. Never one to be left out, the gang at Room and Board are running a contest of their own.

Room and Board asked Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder of the blog Apartment Therapy to pick four of his favorite Room and Board pieces for small spaces. Now Room and Board is giving away one of those four pieces for each of the four weeks in April. Check out the details here and enter, you may end up with a Jasper sofa for crying out loud.

Unfortunately, the Sawbuck chair I'm showing at the head of this post is by Hans Wegner and it's not one of the prizes. Pooh. I love Wegner chairs above all others.

Back to school

As of Wednesday I'm now a contributor to a blog called School. School is a brand of Igloo Studios, Inc., an LA-based digital media firm. Igloo Studios is an interesting, dynamic company who are heavily involved in the world of 3-D modeling. Under the umbrella of Igloo Studios, Inc. are four distinct brands.
The Blue Marble Project creates models for Google SketchUp and visualizations for Google Earth. Every wonder where all the stuff on Google Earth comes from or who makes many of the models in Google's 3-D warehouse? Well, now you know.

School is the brand closest to me. Igloo Studio's School is their Google SketchUp and Google Earth video training brand. School provides video podcasts, DVDs, live training and a web community for Google SketchUp and Google Earth users.

re:Source offers high-quality video and podcasts on topics surrounding sustainable design and building techniques. 

Igloo Designs is their architectural design services brand.
Igloo Studios is up to a lot of stuff and it's an honor to play a role in their new and improved website for School. You can read my column there, where it will appear regularly. My first installment is right here.

27 March 2009

LED Light Reviews

Justin Thomas, the guy behind the blog MetaEfficient: The Guide To Highly Efficient Things just launched a sister site to the original MetaEfficient. The new site is LED Light Reviews and it's dedicated to LED lighting exclusively.

I read MetaEfficient pretty religiously, but then again I have a thing for efficiency. Want to win my undying devotion? Tell me that I'm efficient and I'm putty in your hands.

LED are not new, but they are getting a lot of attention as the technology behind them improves. LEDs are highly efficient; they use very little power, produce more light and have no moving parts. Make no mistake, LEDs are the future of lighting. The quality and color of light they produce can be rather hit or miss though. Justin's new site features no-nonsense product reviews for all things LED. Getting ready to replace some lighting? Think about making the switch to LEDs.

26 March 2009

I can make a dress out of a feed bag and I can make a man outta you

Making pillows, ottomans and upholstery from vintage grain sacks is the medium of choice for fabric artist Kym Fraser. To celebrate the opening of her website and online store, 3 Fine Grains, Kym has teamed up with my pal Gina Milne to give away one of Kym's pillows through Gina's great blog, Willow Decor.

The rules are pretty simple. Go to Gina's post from 25 March and leave a comment. That's it. Gina will select and announce a winner on Thursday, 2 April.

These vintage fabrics are the real deal, some of them are 160 years old --talk about character! Some of these are really fascinating too.

This sack with the stork once carried lentils.

And as a pièce de résistance, this penguin sack once carried penguin guano. I need that penguin pillow for that reason alone. I've long been of the opinion that every object you own should have a story to tell. Man, that penguin sack could write an epic!

So go spend some time with Gina and Willow decor and leave her a comment. Even if you don't win anything, you'll see some great stuff and you'll learn a lot from Gina's research and design passions.

I love me some Kohler

I read a blog called The Consumerist every day. The Consumerist doles out great helpings of consumer advocacy and financial advice and it's delivered with a smart alecky sense of humor that I find irresistible. Usually, their consumer advocacy takes a decidedly negative spin and a lot of their content comes from Consumerist readers who detail their customer service nightmares. Had a lousy experience with an airline? Tell it to The Consumerist.

For all of the horror stories Consumerist runs, every once in a while a reader will tip them off to a really great customer service experience. This happened the other day when a guy wrote in to report his positive dealings with Kohler.

I specify Kohler fixtures for a reason and this guys' experience proves my point and further cements my loyalty. Check this out:
Enough negative news gets tossed at your site (which I love, btw) that I thought that everyone would appreciate a little positive story.

I have a leaky faucet in my kitchen. It's been leaking for a year and I have, for a year, planned on fixing it. Well, I am home on paternity leave and it had become that much more annoying being home 24 hours a day!

I, as most red blooded Americans would do, headed to Lowe's to find the replacement part. No such luck (mostly because I had no idea what I was looking for). Don't get me wrong, I've replaced leaking faucets before, but the bathroom style 2-handled sinks are a different bag.

Next, I did some research online, trying to find a DIY guide for this particular faucet. What I stumbled upon was a number and a mention that Kohler has a lifetime warranty . . . . interesting.

So I called Kohler and got a pleasant support lady named Ashley (I think). She was absurdly patient. I mean, so patient she let me go down to my basement and try to find the paperwork that came with this faucet a decade ago so we could verify the model number. Once we had done that, she actually walked me through taking apart the faucet over the phone so we could figure out what was wrong. Once we had done that she VOLUNTEERED shipping me the replacement part, free of charge. I didn't ask. She offered. She never once was accusatory or hesitant in providing the service and by the end of our conversation, which had to have been at least 30 minutes, I had a new thing-a-ma-bob on my way to my house to stop the leak. (which I will know how to install since I've already gone through the process!)

Bravo Kohler. I do believe I will buy your faucets in the future.
This guy's experience echos every experience I've had with Kohler. Kohler makes great fixtures and all of them carry a lifetime warranty. Odds are, you won't have a problem with a Kohler fixture. But it's good to know that they'll stand behind their products should the need arise.

25 March 2009

Check out Hakatai's revamped website

I've waxed rhapsodically about Hakatai's great glass tile a couple of times here and I was researching mosaics for a job the other day and found myself on their website again. Man, nobody, and I mean nobody shows mosaic tile as well as Hakatai does. All of the photos I have scattered around this posting come from their website.

Hakatai is a one stop shop for all things related to mosaic tile. Their retail prices are what I'm used to seeing as wholesale prices. This means that Hakatai is a great place to buy your own materials and save some money.

Hakatai's photo galleries have to be the most extensive on the web. If you're ever in need of some inspiration or if you've ever wondered how to use glass tile, spend some time combing through that photo library. 

Hakatai does a lot of custom work too and you can order their custom work through their website. Amazing. In looking through their custom mosaic library I'm struck by the amount of skill that goes into their murals in particular. Mosaic murals are an ancient art form and the gang at Hakatai pays homage to the ancients and then ratchets up the bar a couple of notches. Beautiful stuff, all of it.

Check out their home page for special deals and sale items too. Thinking about glass tile? Look no further.

24 March 2009

Well worth a second look

I have been laughing about the photo of that 1961 kitchen I ran yesterday. It's a peppermint carousel! It's a stripey fantasy! The model's outfit matches the throw pillows and the shrubbery outside! Man, this is precisely the sort of thing that keeps me from taking what I do too seriously.

However, this is a pair of Levi's 501 jeans. 501s assumed their current form in 1960, a year earlier than the peppermint fantasy kitchen above. Granted, it took them another 20 years to get completely mainstreamed, but to men of my generation they were and are part of the uniform. Those same 501s remember the Beatles, watched Richard Nixon resign, got caught up in the Reagan revolution, followed the Grateful Dead around, showed up when casual Fridays became a substitute for a fringe benefit, counted down to the new millennium and cried when Barack Obama won an election. So sometimes, some things withstand the test of time and the winds of change. Who knows? Maybe a blue Dacor refrigerator is the new Levi's 501. I doubt it, but maybe.

23 March 2009

Reader question: What never goes out of style?

Help! My husband and I are about to renovate our kitchen and I want to know what never goes out of style before we start spending money on this project. What style, in wood type and color never goes out of style?

Hmmm. I hear this question a lot and I'm going to answer it by not answering it. At least not yet. First, let's start by taking a stroll through some kitchen designs of the last 100 years. This is by no means an exhaustive survey of every kitchen style that's come and gone in that time period, but it will help me make my point so bear with me.

Here's a kitchen from 1921.

Here's one from 1931.

Here's 1941



Here's 1971

And 1981

Here's a kitchen from 1991

2001 already looks pretty dated already

And here's what's being billed as a traditional style right now.

As you can see, the words timeless and kitchen don't belong in the same sentence. Even the last photo, the "traditional" one, is pure trend. That layout, those appliances, that cabinetry... it's all very right now. It may take a page from some past styles, but in the era it's invoking (1910-1920), a kitchen looked nothing like that.

Contemporary kitchen design is new, regardless of the style of the room. The idea of a kitchen being the center of activity in a home was unheard of until 30 years ago. Pretend for a moment that it's 1955 and you're talking to your grandmother. Imagine her reaction to the news that you're planning to spend the equivalent of half your annual income on a kitchen renovation that will become the focal point of your home. She'd think you'd lost your mind and then she'd tell you to get out of the way so that she could get back to boiling the pot of diapers she'd been working on all morning.

Kitchen designs change because our culture changes, and it's not just a function of trends in taste. Social changes, technological changes, economic changes, etc., evolve and reinforce each other over time. You'd hate an authentically period kitchen because you don't live the way people lived 20, 30, 40 or 50 years ago. How things look is inextricably linked to how things work.

I say that there's no real answer to your question. Renovation and construction always look like the time when they were built or renovated. The minute you start swinging a hammer is the same moment that time stops and how you live right now gets preserved for all time. Or for as long as whatever you're building lasts. So even though I say that there's no answer to your question, here's some advice as you go about deciding how to spend your money. 

The first being that quality doesn't go out of style. Well-made cabinetry and appliances that are made to last will get you more years of use and satisfaction than cheap stuff will. In it for the long haul? Stay out of big box stores and get ready to spend some money.

Second, I'd advise you to avoid specialty finishes on your cabinetry. That means anything with a glaze, a distressed paint or anything intended to give new cabinetry or furniture instant character. Character has to be earned and that's as true of your cabinetry and furniture as it is about your personality. Short cuts to character don't work. 

Third, avoid adding colors that are right now to things you can't change easily. A good case in point is the light blue and brown color palettes that are still all over the place. Getting light blue appliances, a finish color available from Dacor right now, might look good for now but five years from now you will hate them. If you love that blue and brown palette, get blue and brown throw rugs, not appliances. A blue throw rug costs $20 a blue fridge $3000 to $4000. You tell me, which would you rather replace in a couple of years? So the lesson here is to accessorize with trendy colors, don't build them in.

Finally, do some research on where kitchen design has been and where the experts think it's headed. You cannot anticipate what's next with any degree of certainty, but you can take steps from getting yourself locked in the past too tightly. The idea that the kitchen is the center of a home in 2009 is not something that's going away any time soon. But this Old World style that can't go away fast enough is a recipe for heartache later. Where to turn for guidance you ask? Hire a professional kitchen designer to help you realize your dream. Explain very clearly to him or her what you want to do and have this designer be standing in your home while you do this explaining. Think this through and have a detailed plan before you start writing checks and you'll be a lot happier in 10 years than you would be otherwise. Whatever you end up with, be sure that it reflects your life, your hopes, your needs and your wants.

22 March 2009

New SketchUp guide for everybody

Wanna learn how to do this?

With real and powerful software that's also free?

Imagine what you can do with this!

Of course, these are Google SketchUp models and they're from a master user by the name of Surya Murali. Murali writes a blog, My World in Three Dimensions, and it's an interesting read if only to see what's possible with this amazing software.

For the rest of us, there's a new version Of Google SketchUp for Dummies and it's been updated to take advantage of all of the new features in Google SketchUp 7. The book will walk you through all of the capabilities of Google SketchUp 7 Free and Google SketchUp 7 Pro.

I used SketchUp 7 for a client presentation last week and I think I got the job. The positive response I heard was due to SketchUp 7's uncanny ability to let me preview a completed project with amazing realism. The mosaic tile in my model was the actual mosaic tile I'm specifying. The lighting fixtures were the exact Tech Lighting fixtures I'm planning to use, the floor was the actual travertine floor, the wall colors were Sherwin-Williams and the appliances were the KitchenAid models my clients have already bought. After years of pointing at my renderings and saying "let's pretend that silver rectangle over there is your fridge," it's an amazing thing to have a client look at a rendering and say "Hey! That's my fridge!"

Feeling left out of this? Don't. Download Google SketchUp 7 then Buy this book.

21 March 2009

Thanks Tampa Bay Business Journal

Photo credit: Kathleen Cabble

So get this, yesterday's Tampa Bay Business Journal ran a profile of the design studio where I hang my shingle. Here's the link to the article. Unfortunately, you have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing but the few paragraphs you can read for free end with a pithy quote from me.

Pithy is hardly what I'd call it, but it gets better in the parts you can't see, trust me.

So aside from featuring a not-so-flattering photo of me and Carl, it was great to see an upbeat report about the business-y side of the place why I ply my trade.

That article came about without any effort on our part, and it was really satisfying to have been sought out by a business publication. In spite of what's going on in the market surrounding us, we do run a pretty tight ship and we are in this for the long haul. You know, there are times when I wonder how I'm going to make it through this downturn and if I let myself run with that thought it leads me to a really unhappy place. Staying optimistic and engaged in right now doesn't usually require as much effort as it has these last few months. This article in the TBBJ gives me a lot of hope and makes that task a bit easier. Thanks.

20 March 2009

A conversation with Sarah Susanka

I had a great telephone conversation with Sarah Susanka yesterday. I've been writing about the new book she wrote with Marc Vasallo, Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live, quite a bit these last few weeks, and I finished up that phone call even more convinced that Susanka's onto something important.

Susanka grew up in England, in a village in Kent. At the age of 14 her family moved to Los Angeles and the resulting culture shock planted the seed that would become The Not So Big House years later. The years passed, she went to school and became an architect. She soon found herself as an architect with a bustling practice. After 15 years of that, she realized that she had something to say and she started to write.

Separating Susanka from the ideas she gets across in her books isn't possible and to point that out, when she realized that she wanted to write she found herself with a schedule so full that at first she thought she didn't have time. Never one to accept excuses, she made time for herself the only way she knew how. She scheduled herself onto her own calendar. Instead of seeing clients at the appointed hour, she set aside the time for herself to write. In treating her Sarah's Writing Time with the same gravity she'd treat an appointment with a client, she wrote without a specific goal in mind, but what that scheduled writing time yielded evolved into 1998's best seller The Not So Big House.

In her latest book, Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live she touches on this theme again in the chapter 17, A Place of Your Own. Setting aside A Place Of Your Own, or Poyo in a living space makes practices like writing or meditating more possible than they would be otherwise. The ideas she espouses, like the Poyo, are not about square feet or size. Instead, they are about intention and scale. Human beings are social animals, that's abundantly clear. But people need a place to retreat and think just as much as they need to be surrounded by the others who share their lives. Why not create yourself a nook in which to be quiet when you're planning a space? Why not indeed? And why does this sound so revolutionary when someone does?

I asked her where she thinks the current housing market situation will lead us as a culture. She answered that she "suspects that the situation today will affect us for the next few decades. That effect is bigger than the housing market, and people are beginning to consider what matters. Instead of focusing on the next best thing or house, people are beginning to look at what they already have. There's a regrouping going on as people begin to see their homes not so much as an asset to be traded, but rather a place to settle. As people see their homes as a place to live more than as an investment, priorities will begin to change." She sees a lot more remodeling happening and she sees builders beginning to build smaller and better-designed homes. "There will be less emphasis on square feet and more emphasis on quality," she predicts.

And for people currently stuck in poorly-designed and scaled homes built during the boom years, she offers a salve in the form of chapter 20, Too Bigness. Vaulted ceilings and wide open floor plans sound great as ideas, but as executions they are notoriously wanting. Chapter 20 is a terrific primer in space planning for these too large proportions and it's brimming with ideas that will help anybody wrestle some of these unwieldy floor plans back into something resembling a human scale. 

But chapter 20, like that chapters in all of her books, isn't about instruction. The Not So Big books aren't how to manuals and that's the root of their appeal to me. Sarah Susanka is a visionary and her books lay out a philosophy of home. These books are bigger than square feet or vaulted ceilings. They take a step back and take a meta view of what the nature of a home is. The chapters and exercises in her books are there to get you thinking. "I'm an interpreter and not a creator" she used to tell her clients and there's a lot of that sentiment that comes through in her work today.

The only people who really matter when it comes to how to use a space are the people who live in it. It's my job as a designer to listen to those people and guide them to a place where their lives are enhanced, where they can feel truly comfortable and at home. A home is the background for the main act, life. All too often, those roles get reversed and I for one take great comfort that someone like Sarah Susanka is saying things like this in the public square. A house is about who lives in it, it's not about Jonathan Adler or Kelly Wearstler or Todd Oldham or even Sarah Susanka or Paul Anater.

I asked her what words of advice she had for people dealing with deflating home values and she responded that "people should stop thinking about now." By that she meant that it's easy to lose sight of a future when now looks so bleak. "Prices will rise again eventually, and people with underwater mortgages today won't be underwater forever. If you can hold on, then hold on."

Great advice and if I may add on my own, the ideas and philosophy espoused in the Not So Big books were never more needed or appealing than they are today. If you're interested in any of these ideas, I encourage you to go to Sarah's website, Not So Big. On Not So Big you'll be able to see the show houses she designs as well as participate in discussion forums, buy house plans and even find an architect or designer. While you're there too, you'll notice that Not So Big isn't a style or a trend so much as it is a mindset. A mindset where quality means more than quantity. "Not So Big is completely present," she says "and not an attempt to recreate anything from the past." As an idea, it takes inspiration from and connects to yesterday but it doesn't dwell there. Life moves and changes, but the human need to to live in homes conducive to the business of living never changes. Sarah Susanka's onto something I tell you, she's on to something.

18 March 2009

Sarah Susanka and Marc Vassallo's Not So Big Remodeling: A Review

Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live by Sarah Susanka and Marc Vasallo published by Taunton Press, 2009

In the late '90s a new voice emerged to counter the rising tide of the More is Better school of home construction. That voice belonged to Sarah Susanka and through eight books, that voice has remained consistent and calm as it stated again and again that more isn't better, better is better. 

photo by Ken Gutmaker, used with permission

Beginning with The Not So Big House and continuing through Creating The Not So Big House and then on to Inside The Not So Big House and Outside The Not So Big House, her advice has been a level and kind reminder that there's much more to a home than the house. She's offered Not So Big Solutions For Your Home and Home By Design: Transforming Your House Into A Home. Then realizing that she'd been working on describing a way of life and not just a way of building, in 2007 she came out with The Not So Big Life. As I've mentioned previously, The Not So Big House provided me a Road To Damascus moment when it came out in 1998 and her subsequent books have come into my life in much the same way I'd receive the regular visits of a good friend or a cherished relative.

I found out last fall that Sarah Susanka and co-author Marc Vassallo had another installment in the Not So Big series due in March of '09. I blogged about it at the time and Sarah Susanka herself left a comment on one of my posts from last November. To say that made my day is an understatement of staggering proportions. I've had a press copy of Not So Big Remodeling for about four weeks now and I've been carrying it around ever since it arrived. My copy is already dog-eared and jammed with post-it notes. It's her best work to date and is also her second collaboration with Marc Vassallo with whom she wrote Inside The Not So Big House in 2005.

Photo by Ken Gutmaker, used with permission

In Not So Big Remodeling, Susanka and Vassallo put all of thought that went into the Not So Big series into renovation and their timing couldn't have been better. The housing market's collapsed if you haven't heard and more and more people are finding themselves stuck in the home they have. Combine that with the evaporation of the home equity line of credit and there are large numbers of people interested in renovations but with a third the budget they would have had a couple of years ago.

Photo by Greg Premru, used with permission

Not So Big Remodeling speaks directly to a new housing reality and offers sensible and often lower cost ideas about how to turn a house into a home. The book begins with Susanka's own home renovation in Raleigh, NC and uses her experiences with transformation as a launch pad to cover every aspect of her sensible take on home renovation. Not So Big Remodeling is loaded with examples of how to pull off a thoughtful remodel as Susanka and Vassallo start with a home's exterior and work their way through Kitchens and Gathering Rooms; Baths and Personal Spaces; and then they wrap it all up with a section called Pulling It All Together. Pulling It All Together covers such topics as how to deal with a too-large home and how to integrate green practices into your project.

Not So Big Remodeling is at once an inspiring photo essay, an architectural survey and a philosophical treatise. Though it's loaded with examples and floor plans, I wouldn't call it a how-to guide. The examples in the book are there to get the audience to think about their own homes. The goal here is to get people to think about the spaces they call home and then carry the lessons covered in Not So Big Remodeling and interpret them. Not So Big Remodeling is an anti-how-to guide in that sense. Throughout the book, Susanka and Vassallo are pretty adamant about having a home reflect the lives of the people inside of it. With every illustration and photograph there's a gentle nudge to consider the concept being illustrated and not so much the execution.

All told, I'm impressed by this latest installment of the Not So Big series, Not So Big Remodeling and it's a welcome addition to my library. If you're considering undertaking a renovation, it's definitely worth a read. If you just like to think about this sort of thing, then Not So Big Remodeling would great for you too. Just don't ask to borrow my copy. I'm a generous book lender under ordinary circumstances, but my Not So Big books are definitely part of my non-circulating collection. So pick up a copy and use it as an opportunity to think about your space.