THE NOT SO BIG HOUSE PROTOTYPE 454-3. This beautiful home was
designed by architect, Sarah Susanka, for herself. She built it
originally to illustrate the ideas she was writing about in her first
book in the Not So Big® series. The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for
the Way We Really Live. It is designed to promote a floor plan that is
far more appropriate for present day lifestyles, and it is filled with
special details that make the house a delight to live in, while living
up to it Not So Big® name. Instead of building formal spaces that rarely
if ever get used, this house is designed so that every space will be put
to good use everyday. Featuring spacious, light-filled rooms, built-ins,
and an open floor plan, it embodies the principles of quality and
comfort that are at the root of Not So Big® design. The house is
designed for a full walk-out lower level, ideal for a visiting guest to
enjoy their own private bed and bath, and with excellent home office
space with its own exterior entry. In a tiny attic garret, there also a
cozy Place of Your Own (or Poyo, as Sarah calls it), accessed by a
ship's ladder from the second floor.
Like Sarah's other house plans, the Not So Big House Prototype
illustrates a play on a theme and variation, with the frequent
appearance throughout the house of an archetypal form--the circle. On
the second floor, directly above the front door, there is a large
translucent window in the shape of a partial circle. The curve of this
beautiful form runs through the upstairs bathroom and stairway landing, lending significant drama to the second floor--in a Not So Big® way, of course.
The house features adaptable spaces that open to one another, and are
designed for everyday use. Long diagonal views give the sense that the
house is significantly larger than it really is. The kitchen is the
heart of the house, and is designed as an integral part of the main
living space. Connected to the living and dining areas, it is a great
gathering place for family and friends.
The big screen porch is designed to be converted into a main level
master bedroom, should one story living ever become a necessity. To this
end, the front door has no steps up to the entry, making it ideal for
visitors who are mobility impaired.
The upper level of the home has a spacious master bedroom and walk-in
closet. A large bathroom serves both the master bedroom and second
bedroom on the upper level. Rather than build two separate bathrooms,
resources are combined to make one spacious, though not over-sized,
bathroom that is as beautiful as possible. There are many photographs
and descriptions of this home in The Not So Big House, and in the
first chapter of Creating the Not So Big House. The house is designed
to be highly energy efficient, and to live large without using more
resources than are necessary.
Sarah tells us that, when her work took her away from Minnesota, where
this house was first built, it was one of the hardest things she's ever
done to sell it. "It worked beautifully," she told us, "and was a really
inspiring place to live." She strongly encourages anyone considering
this plan to read The Not So Big House, as it will give a much more
complete description of the home's numerous special features than can be
Almost perfect but not quite right? We offer in-house plan modification services to help you personalize any of our home plans to fit your lifestyle. Popular modifications include enlarging the kitchen, raising ceiling heights, expanding the master bath, increasing the number of windows, widening the porch, or adding a deck.