book: Patterns of Home
Recently I came across a book "Patterns of Home" by some of the authors of the 1970's book "A Pattern Language" (APL). The architect authors have matured and tried to simplify the many requirements of APL into a few essential, workable rules. The many rules of APL often seemed to be at cross-purposes and impossible to integrate into one house.
I found POH useful as an inspiration, not as a plan book for small homes. I would not consider any of the houses to be small. The ones under 2000 sq ft are intended for one person! Nor would I consider the houses to be energy efficient. However, it is certainly possible to pull parts of the houses and integrate them into a small, energy efficient house.
My wife and I both like the banquette that served as a breakfast area. A banquette is the booth you use in a restaurant - two benches and a table affixed to the wall. In the house, the banquette was mostly enclosed and built between the kitchen and the dining room. It served to create an intimate space and as a segue between the private working kitchen and public formal DR.
We were appalled at the super-high ceilings created by a steep pitch roofs over very large rooms. We think these would be impossible rooms to heat in New England, and just changing the light bulbs you would need to call a professional.
We did like the idea of a suite for the couple consisting of a room, closet, and separate bath. We would shrink the overall size of the suites. Most of the featured suites were as large as our current house, 1100 sq ft.
It is a interesting book and features well-designed houses far from the type you find in "500 houseplans" and the like.
Patterns of Home: The Ten Essentials of Enduring Design
Max Jacobson, Murray Silverstein, Barbara Winslow
Here is a link that might be useful: Patterns of Home 2002