The Not So Big Life

Not So Big Life

It is my fervent hope that you'll discover that the house of your dreams is actually hiding right where you live today. ~Sarah Susanka, Not So Big Remodeling

In 1998, architect Sarah Susanka’s book The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live took the publishing world by storm with her (at the time) new concept that a bigger McMansion is not better than a smaller, quality-built home with personal spaces which enhance the important things in life. Her initial success spawned a series of other books expanding on this design philosophy, of a house as home and not as a starter castle to impress the neighbors. From the house to the garden: Susanka’s latest is Outside the Not So Big House: Creating the Landscape of Home.

But her real triumph is in taking the concept of a small, quality-filled home and enhancing it to include the possibility of building and planning the life that you want around that home: scaling back the demands and wants to live in the moment. The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters is a book which guides the process of examining how we inhabit our lives and how we make choices about doing it well.

Note that ‘not so big’ decorating does not always equal ‘not so cheap’. For another view of living well in very small spaces creatively and economically take a look at this hot website called Apartment Therapy and the new, companion book The Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces.


We hadn't heard of Susanka when we chose our home last summer, although my partner was a big fan of Apartment Therapy. We chose the house that was in the best shape, where we wanted to live, and just the size we needed*. And with the exception of all those weeds that are showing up nowadays, it's working out terrifically. :) Thanks for confirming that 'best' doesn't always mean 'biggest.'

*Another benefit of a small(er) home - we aren't tempted to fill the space with stuff we don't need!