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Not So Big Remodeling (Susanka) [Hardcover]

Sarah Susanka , Marc Vassallo
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Feb 2009
"Not So Big Remodeling" introduces the Not So Big philosophy (quality vs. quantity; less can be more; putting pounds into character rather than into square footage) and suggests how it can serve as an approach to remodelling. You can remodel Not So Big, with small changes that have a big impact and you can remodel incrementally, as you have the time and money to do so. Even when you remodel your whole house at once, it's usually best to conceive of the remodel as a series of Not So Big changes. Taken together, these Not So Big changes can transform your house into a place that's right for the way you really live.

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Not So Big Remodeling (Susanka) + Outside the Not So Big House: Creating the Landscape of Home (Susanka)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press Inc (1 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156158827X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561588275
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 25.6 x 26.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 767,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Sarah Susanka's first book, The Not So Big House 9781561583768, topped best-seller charts in home & garden categories in its first year of publication. Marc Vassallo trained as an architect and studied creative writing. He is a past Editorial Director of The Taunton Press, author of The Barefoot Home 9781561588077 and co-author with Sarah Susanka of Inside the Not So Big House 9781561586813.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars treasure-trove of ideas 8 May 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Here, the main concept in all Susanka's books - small, thoughtful changes can make big differences - partly overlap and are also carried over and enlarged-upon; it is as well-written, organised and photographed as the other books in the series. Admirably pulling together the aesthetic, the practical, and the economical aspects, this book offers many concepts that are well explained in the text and reasonably well demonstrated in diagrams and photos.

The book starts with a section called "The Look of Your House": considering the exterior, then the front and back entryways - all areas those of us living in averagely small homes have very little ability to change. More usefully, it goes on to look at "Kitchens and Gathering Spaces" where of course kitchens get a lot of coverage - first working within the footprint by borrowing space, opening up, or relocating, then "bumping out" by creating alcoves outside the original footprint; basements suggestions are offered to make the living space there more enjoyable and attractive; excellent suggestions from earlier books are repeated and expanded on, such as delineating differently used areas (within one larger space) via ceiling heights, soffits, arches, beams, framing, columns and half-walls.

"Baths and Personal Spaces" offers useful improvements to bedrooms, bathrooms and studies and answers challenges many people have, such as small bathrooms, where to put a TV, and generally dealing creatively with smaller spaces.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Godd ideas & excellent information 27 May 2009
I have several Sarah Susanka books.
This one is just as useful as the others, particularly if you plan to extend your home.
She pays particular attention to how the house will look from the outside as well as how it will work internally.
I see many additions that have lacked this thought, where the addition is clearly a bit plonked on, with no notion of making it look part of the house.
There are also ideas on how to use your existing space better. In fact, her starting point is to challenge whether an extension is necessary or whether it is better to remodel within the existing footprint. This was our approach and, by following her advice , we are developing a nicely balanced house that suits our lifestyle without going through the hassle of planners and upset neighbours that can result when trying to extend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of ideas 11 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As expected. Good ideas to incorporate into house renovation. Architect with a new take on making the best use of space rather than always building extra at greater cost.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great GREEN Remodeling Book Too! 10 Mar 2009
By L. Stukel - Published on Amazon.com
It's almost a good thing Remodeling the Not So Big House wasn't out during my remodeling project. I think I would have slept with it under my pillow! I got so much out of a different book in the series that I had to run out and get Remodeling even though my remodeling is done!

It is as well-written, organized and photographed as the other books in the series. I am an EcoBroker Certified real estate agent so I was eager to review the green chapter. I agree with Susanka that, really, the whole book is a green book. The concepts go hand in hand...less space is more green, getting more out of every inch is green, making something beautiful so it lasts is green.

The concepts from the other books carry over. The Not So Big House made such a difference in the plans for our remodel. We were feeling really stuck because the idea of the 5th bedroom that our builder and architect suggested felt so wrong to us. We learned is that if you ask someone like that how to solve a problem they will solve it with a bigger blueprint or a bigger hammer. Not So Big Hosue gives a voice and confidence to the resisting going bigger to solve problems.

There were two outcomes in our design that I directly credit to inspiration from the books. First, we have this fantastic closet that solved our problem of creating a master bedroom in about 1/3 of the space. The bonus was that it also gave us the opportunity to do a facelift on the front exterior. Second, we were trying to maximize the kitchen space. One of the options to get an island in there was to close off the entry between the kitchen and the dining room. After reading the book I realized we would essentially be cutting off 400 square feet of space as we'd never have reason to use the dining room or the living room. Instead we decided to _open_ a doorway between the dining room and the hallway and remove sliding doors between the dining room and the living room. Finally we opted for a peninsula that forces flow between the dining room and the kitchen. Wow! The dining room is now this central gathering and landing space. And, it elevated the living room to more of the grown up family room. The end result is that we use the entire first floor all day long and will probably never have to finish our basement. And all you need is two preschoolers to tell you the flow works. They zoom around as if there are two connecting figure eights in the house...the dining room/kitchen/family room loop and the dining room/living room loop. Such great energy in the house. It's amazing how the whole thing fits together, yet gives us space when we need it. And now that we are done I realize it is the soffits that make the spaces work. We didn't consciously plan them but now that things are painted and assembled so we have rooms again I can really see it in action.

We are so grateful for the insights and inspiration we were hunting for! I'm sure you will find great inspiration in Remodeling the Not So Big House as well.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sustainable remodeling 21 April 2009
By modernemama - Published on Amazon.com
With Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live Sarah Susanka and co-author Marc Vassallo employ the mantra "build better, not bigger" to present a go-to resource book on sustainable design for homeowners and architects alike.
Using her own classic Cape style house as an example Susanka offers three options for efficient remodeling: work within the existing footprint; consider a small bump-out and lastly build an appropriate addition. Often minor changes are all that are needed to fix an awkward layout or improve flow within the house and the authors always emphasize integrating the old with the new so the house is cohesive and aesthetically pleasing.
The reader is challenged to really consider the way they live within their homes and although most of the book is dedicated to making small spaces more useful Susanka also tackles large houses that are out of proportion to the human scale and offers smart solutions to make them more comfortable.
Not So Big Remodeling is glossy enough to keep on the coffee table yet packed full of plans and blueprints and I would be happy to own it for the photography alone. Many of the houses featured have beautiful natural wood trim and doors with a Craftsman feel that is immediately appealing. But there's so much more to this book than obvious visual appeal, it contains tips and ideas on every page that can be incorporated into any remodeling project - large or small - including the updating of my house.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not So Big for the rest of us! 16 Sep 2009
By Flourish Designs - Published on Amazon.com
Finally, a Not So Big optimized for those not stick-building their own home. Not only is revamping an existing home a greener option than building new (no matter how sustainable), it's often more financially feasible. Great overall update ideas as well as practical approaches to usability and beauty.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource 3 Oct 2010
By Prairie Gal - Published on Amazon.com
Other reviewers have already covered many of the things I admire about this book. I'd simply like to add a few other points.

The layouts are beautifully done. Having worked in publishing, I realize this never happens accidentally but is the result of careful planning and editing. The result here, which combines text, beautiful photos, blueprint-style sketches, helpful captions, pull-out quotes, sidebars, and bulleted lists, is so masterful it could serve as a textbook for graphic designers.

Sarah Susanka introduces many design concepts, such as "moving toward light" and "patterns," within the context of particular situations to show exactly how to make them work in existing spaces.

It's also obvious that her co-writer, Marc Vassallo, helped to keep the text lean yet expressive. Susanka herself confessed (in the preface to "More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home") that she has a tendency toward wordiness. That's not a problem here. Each section features a beguiling lead and then gets right to the point.

This book is a classic that I've turned to again and again whenever I need inspiration. And although we haven't moved any walls or done anything that's usually considered "remodeling," this book helped my husband and I redo several rooms -- with immensely satisfying results.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anybody Can Do It 22 Mar 2009
By Peggy Lami - Published on Amazon.com
I ordered my copy of Not So Big Remodeling long before the release date. As soon as it arrived I flipped through every page. Then I began a thorough reading. Each floor plan prompted a good hour of study and comparison. As I revisit a particular passage for further understanding, there are more tidbits to be gleaned. Sarah Susanka and Mark Vassallo have done an amazing job of pulling together the aesthetic, the practical, and the economical aspects of transforming an existing house into one Not So Big. Sarah has invited us into her own personal spaces. By imagining her processes of living, working, creating, being in the settings pictured and described in the new book, she inspires images of our own Not So Big lives. I think of Sarah Susanka's collection of books as one story printed in several volumes. Maybe the collective title would be Solutions for Creating a Not So Big Life by Design Inside and Outside a Not So Big House.
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