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Simple Home, The: The Luxury of Enough [Hardcover]

Sarah Nettleton

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Book Description

1 Sep 2007
We are living in complex times, in a commodified, virtual, and overstimulated culture. One response to high levels of complexity and overstimulation is to look for yet another gadget or closet organizer to simplify our lives. But the answer lies somewhere else. The road to a simpler more satisfying life begins with a clear-eyed examination of the choices we are making for our time - and that includes choices about where we want to live. In The Simple Home, you'll discover six paths to simplicity, each illustrated by human-scaled, unadorned homes with straightforward floor plans and forms. These are open, light-filled homes (with rooms or spaces that are often multipurpose) that express their beauty in their utility and practicality. Simple homes are low maintenance and often green, designed for clients who wish to embody a different set of values in their housing choices than the run-of-the-mill starter castles littering the landscape.

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So many Americans are paying huge amounts to live in houses. But is that really a benefit to them as they look at their own lives and resources, or is it a burden to buy a large elaborate house? This book isn't saying, "Don't build a big house." It's about beginning that conversation with yourself about what's good enough for you. "--Denver Post"Oversized rooms, clutter and complexity are rejected in favor of simplicity and sustainability in the 21 homes examined through text and photos. From San Francisco to upstate New York, these homeowners have chosen eco-friendly, sustainable designs and turned away from mindless acquisition in a quest for a less frenetic lifestyle. --"New York Newsday"If you want to live a greener life, live a simpler life - by spending and consuming less, especially when it comes to your home. "The Simple Home: The Luxury of Enough," by architect Sarah Nettleton, showcases houses that embrace this ideology - including an 1,800-square-foot Brooklyn row house where minimalism triumphs over extraneous details, a Seattle farmhouse where materials and services were purchased locally, and a solar house in Taos. Nettleton offers strategies for building green, including using recycled, reclaimed and eco-friendly materials, and shows how good design can result in smart, earth-friendly living. --"New York Post"One thing we all learned from Katrina: We can live with less. So Sarah Nettleton is preaching to the choir when she writes about "The Simple Home." We know that simplicity sells in today's fast-paced environment, that simple homes are more flexible, thriftier, more timeless, more sustainable. Yes, Sarah, simple is enough.Ultimately, the authorpoints out, it's not the items we place in our homes that bring us joy, but the ambiance we create there. Serenity lies not in architectural design or decorative style, but in the peace we feel when our surroundings suit us. And that's a simple but profound lesson indeed. --"Times-Picayune"WHAT is simplicity in a home, and how can we achieve it? It's more spiritual than specific, these authors say. And they make some good points, in prose and pictures.The simple house is not explained by size, they write. A simple house can be big or small. It is not defined by architectural style: A simple house can be traditional or modern. And it is not determined by the amount or vintage of its furniture.Bottom line, forget the latest trends. You know the architectural style you love. You know what you and your family's needs are. So don't be fooled into building or buying something with too much of what you don't need, and too little of what you do. --"The Los Angeles Times"

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
146 of 147 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Too Simple. 13 April 2007
By Mary K. - Published on Amazon.com
The image on the cover is as "simple" as this book gets. While most of the homes in this book are beautiful, I did not find them to be particulalry simple. The image on the cover, as well as the editorial notes, conjure up notions of not only simplicity in home design, but a real departure in our thinking about the way we live. I already own several books on the subject, and was excited to learn something new - but nothing new here. While the homes generally lean towards cleaner lines and a BIT less clutter, they are quite elaborate and complex in terms of building materials, construction & application of those materials, and the costs involved. I was also disappointed that most of the homes are located in the country and with only a sparse representation of urban examples. Finally, when I looked at the list of architects and firms whose designs were featured in this book, I recognized some of the most famous names in the industry. This left me feeling somewhat mislead by chapters with titles such as "Simple is Thrifty" and "Simple is Enough" when this caliber of professionals and their respective price tags are involved.
59 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Towards a new lifestyle 27 Feb 2007
By John Matlock - Published on Amazon.com
To me, the essence of this book is beautifully summarized in the photograph on the back cover. It shows a plain and simple room, tan/biege colored walls, a couple of windows, a painting on one wall and the only furniture is an easy chair, a small table beside it and a stack of books on the table.

Like most of you, I suppose, I've lived in a bunch of houses and apartments. I finally decided to move to a small town in Nevada. I bought a tiny house, less than a thousand square feet. It's old, I don't know how old, but at least a hundred years. As Ms. Nettleton says in one of her chapters, Simple is Timeless. It was cheap, $30,000 (plus another $12 for remodelling), As Ms. Nettleton says, Simple is Thrifty. And as she also says, 'Simple is: Enouth, Flexible, Sustainable, Resolved Complexity. As she quotes Albert Einstein (who wasn't talking about houses, but it's a very good quote) 'Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.'

Ms. Nettleton has grasped the essence of living a much simpler life. The homes presented here might not fit your ideal, but the ideas she presents are exactly what I wanted when I moved here from the East Coast. Beautiful book.
54 of 63 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars $o $imple! 16 Jun 2008
By Merope - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an absurd, but very American, architecture book. Usually with this genre the glossy pictures make up for the text -- that is NOT the case here. The pictures are very average. The text is okay ... a gospel of architectural $implicity substituted for actual ... well ... simplicity.

Here's the thing: simplicity in this book is interpreted as minimalist furnishings. Well and good. But it is easy to relish the zen luxe of a room when one has the most wonderful architecture to surround that perfect, single $10K furnishing. It is easy to be "simple".... own few possessions and buy few furnishings when you can afford a house designed with built in window seats, dining nooks, stainless appliances and murphy beds.

What is really needed is a guide to designing with simplicity and sustainability in mind. That would be .... you buy some nasty tract home for $300K in Redmond Washington and want to decorate / design sustainably, simply, tastefully and, above all, peacefully.

Probably the most amusing thing about Sarah Nettleton's book is the secret glimpses into the homeowner's stuff: forests of books, cotton fields of clothes, acres of wood cabinetry, and pits of stone and concrete tile and countertops.

My hard earned ducats bought this book. Don't use yours.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 'The Luxury of Enough' that I can't afford 21 Jun 2010
By John Wyatt - Published on Amazon.com
While the title of the book and the book front cover may promise what I was looking for, the content certainly did not deliver. It is a beautiful coffee table book, a collection of beautiful homes and interiors, but I assume the subtitle ("The Luxury of Enough") is more appropriate for the target audience: if you have the money to live in the country side in an old farmhouse (where you don't have to find a job or commute to work), or you can afford a high-profile architect or interior designer and to live in Brooklyn in a nice area, then this book may be for you. While there are well-to-do people out there that can afford a McMansion and golden chandeliers, I applaud if they reduce and look for ways to live simpler. The featured 'simplicity' comes with a price tag and while it looks emptier in these homes, it is a certain style (shabby chic or modern minimalism) that evokes simplicity. Especially built-ins are often very expensive, and I would not call these homes necessarily simple. These are interiors that are attractive for many reasons, one of them is that the substance of the homes and settings are beautiful. With a different focus than living simple, the collection of interiors would deserve a better review, but I wish average people could afford living THAT simple. This book disappointed.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprising book 20 April 2007
By Centime - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this book because I liked the pictures, but what turned out to be the best thing about it is the philosophy behind it. I've been trying to streamline my life and reduce clutter, but I haven't been able to strip things down as far as I'd like. This book makes bold suggestions about how much we really need to live comfortably while doing as little damage as possible to our surroundings, and suggests specific ways to do it. It made me look at our house in a whole new way. This book is a great model for anyone trying to simplify their living space. It's also imaginative--one house has a ceiling like an overturned boat because the people who live there love the water. I like it so much I bought two more copies for gifts.
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