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Small Spaces: Stylish Ideas for Making More of Less in the Home Paperback – 17 Dec 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha America, Inc; 2nd edition edition (17 Dec. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568364547
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568364544
  • Product Dimensions: 27.7 x 1.8 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 525,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"This book is an elegant jewel box of ingenious design ideas for close-packing the elements of comfortable, even luxurious, living." -Stewart Brand

"Azby Brown's book presents an attitude toward designing space that inspires creative solutions....He shows us ways to bring order and tranquility back into our lives." -

--Fine Homebuilding

About the Author

AZBY BROWN is an architect who has lived in Japan since 1985. A native of New Orleans, he received a bachelor's degree in f ine art from Yale College in 1980, and a master's degree in architecture from the University of Tokyo, where he is currently a Ph.D. candidate, in 1988. He is also the author of The Genius of Japanese Carpentry and The Japanese Dream House: How Technology and Tradition Are Shaping New Home Design. His visual and verbal ideas have reached a wide international audience through frequent lectures, publications, and exhibitions.
YOSHIO SHIRATORI has photographed interiors and exteriors since 1962. He was the recipient of the Interior Designers' Association prize in 1987. Shiratori's work appears in major Japanese design and architecture magazines throughout Japan.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T. Watson on 2 April 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book with some unique ideas. The sections on how to zone open plan living spaces and clever ideas to locate storage are useful to everyone, no matter the size of your home. Some of the ideas, especially in the kitchen section, are now making there way in to mainstream kitchen design so are not as revolutionary as they would have been when the book was written.

My main criticism of the book, and the reason it gets four starts, is it desperately needs updating. Although the ideas are just as relevant today the photographs of dingy 80's interiors and references to storing 'walkmans' and 'cassette tapes' make the book feel dated.

Azby's other book 'The very small home' looks at interiors more than actual storage ideas but is much more up to date and features the kind of interiors we would expect in a modern book and makes an excellent companion to this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris Colgan Complete Resolutions on 2 Dec. 2012
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I was surprised at how good this book was. It highlights some incredibly good ways to be creative and to manipulate the spaces in your home. Most homes being built in the UK today are in effect square boxes built with littlel imagination and very often absolutely no thought at all given to storage. very inspriational and a must have book if you are feeling claustrophobic in your home or are about to leave home for the first time and want to make the best use of your limited budget and small flat.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Neil Lewis VINE VOICE on 24 Mar. 2002
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This book highlights solutions for making better use of living space, drawing on modern design and classical Japanese interior design. Highlights include some interesting storage solutions, ideas about low-level living and some great examples of apartments and houses which have interesting design features.
A refreshing and idea-provoking look at how we live.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
An indoctrination in organization 11 Jan. 2003
By V. Landau - Published on
Format: Paperback
As someone whose prospective first house is likely to be small--and even smaller inside--I've been looking around for useful ideas that will help me choose a home into which my Stuff will fit. (That's not just stuff; that's George Carlin-type STUFF, and it requires serious storage.) We're not just talking a smaller McMansion, but homes where the master bedroom is, on average, 10'x9' with badly placed doorways.
Azby Brown's book was an education in understanding the options even a small or oddly shaped space can afford. Though most of the actual implementations discussed would certainly work better in a Japanese home than in a '50s era raised ranch, the *ideas* are the thing. And these ideas are outstanding. Every inch of space is used to beautiful effect. Every opportunity is considered.
Especially choose this book if you're planning to remodel, as expert contractors and cabinetmakers will benefit from these pages; nevertheless, _Small Spaces_ is for anyone who still thinks that light neutrals and pint-sized furnishings are the only way to manage.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating topic 5 Oct. 2001
By Li Xiuqi - Published on
Format: Paperback
The title is a bit too vague-- this book is specifically on *Japanese* methods of minimizing clutter, which may or may not be useful to westerners. But what a fascinating topic it is. Only the Japanese could have thought of storing things below the floor, futons that can be rolled up and put away when they aren't in use, "borrowing the view" of your neighbour's garden, and so on. The photography isn't dazzling, and many of the homes aren't very stylish, but it's worth reading just to appreciate the ingenious ideas the Japanese have.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Deserves space on your underfloor shelf 26 Dec. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Azby Brown lives in Japan, and has written a number of books about Japanese design, or carpentry, from the perspective of a close observer.
This book deals with design and product approaches to living in small spaces without clutter. The premise is that the smaller a space is, the more it needs to appear empty if living in it is to be fully comfortable and satisfying. This isn't a book on how to load more gear into more "storage solutions", though some unusual solutions like underfloor storage are elaborated.
Granted a lot of this stuff is not going to be transferable to American houses, and some of the details, like miraculously small appliances are not even well illustrated (most ilustration are very good). But then there is a huge market for books covering professionally created 25 000 square foot spaces in Carmel by the Sea, or whatever, and I am not likely to fully implement ideas from those books either. Frankly adapting the spirit of this book is much more likely
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Good book but with a misleading title 19 Jun. 2000
By "watanne" - Published on
Format: Paperback
Overall, Brown does a good job, but he should've titled it, "Modern Japanese Small Spaces," as much of the text explains present day Japanese layout and architecture as an evolution of previous tradition and history. As an example, there's a chapter titled, "Japanese Housing: Past, Present and Future," something the title would have never suggested. More than simply a pretty picture book to put on your coffee table because it truly has well thought out text, the book falls short of being a *true* rehab book, with its lack of a planning section, grid page or index of products, commonly found in the DK books from the UK. In the end, the photography is quite good, and some of the ideas are very stunning in execution.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
title should be changed to "Build built-in furniture" 10 April 2006
By Beatrice Izzey - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title should be "build built-in furniture to get rid of your space problems."

I think the ideas are worth considering: sure, if you have chairs for desks and vanities that slide right in, you can save a lot of space. Yes, build little drawers out of the stair case, and nifty pull out cabinets everywhere. Certainly having less furniture and more built -ins is the best way to reduce clutter. Yes, build underground "closets" in your floorboards and crawl space.

However, for most young people and for renters, the solutions are not practical because of lack of investment capital or long term plan for a space. Hiring carpenters to construct these designs would be of prohibitive cost for most, except for the wealthy.

I see from this book that Schindler and Neutra and all the modernists got lots of their ideas from the Japanese built-in solution.
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