Not So Big Showhouse 2011 opens tomorrow

caligalNovember 18, 2011

I wish I could go and see Sarah Susanka's Not So Big Showhouse opening tomorrow in Libertyville, Illinois, but I am no where near this.

I am a bit disappointed that the "Not So Big House" author didn't make a slightly smaller house than this though... The house is 2450 sq ft.

Would still love to see the interior in person. Let me know if anyone near gets to go see the house!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Showhouse 2011

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OMG, Caligal!!

This is perfect, and I wish I could be there.
I wonder if my DH would notice that I drive from MA to AL by way of IL? hehehehe

Sarah Susanka is my hero...heroine....and I have ALL her books. Even the NOT SO BIG LIFE.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:37PM
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ml, I need to get the NOT SO BIG LIFE.
Your husband won't notice
if you take a small detour ;)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 7:03PM
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ML, you take the wheel, and take the detour when he goes to sleep!

I didn't know she had a showhouse. Looks pretty, but that sure is a big little house.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 12:11AM
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i was surprised at the sq ftg also.

She can't post it here - lol!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 3:56AM
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Pretty house- bigger than any that I've ever lived in, though! My new house will be about half that size.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 7:19AM
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I work with Sarah and had a chance to visit the house this weekend. It's amazing! As you might imagine, being in the house is very different that seeing it in photos. You can learn more about the house on Sarah's Facebook page -- just search under her name. Also, regarding the questions about size, here's an article from Sunday's Star Tribune newspaper with more detail.

I do hope you'll have a chance to visit the house. It's something to be experienced

Here is a link that might be useful: Star Tribune

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 11:01PM
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Well the pictures are lovely. I just can not wrap my brain around a 2450 SQ FT house being considered smaller house living.Even after reading the article.

WE lived in an 1850 SQ FT house and it was so over the top too big for us. Took way too long to clean. We are very happy with our 1375 and even feel it is a bit extravagant.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 1:01AM
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SuzanneE, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance! I am one of Sarah's biggest fans, if reading her material and adopting her philosophy is an indicator.

And in the NOT SO BIG LIFE book, I found a quote from a card created by a friend of mine, Jane Stone, and I wrote to Jane and told her I saw it in Sarah's book. Jane immediately wrote back and then shipped to me a publisher's draft of the book which I consider awesome. So now that draft is one of my treasures.

A house that is more than 2000 sq ft is pretty large to be called a NOT SO BIG house. I think she has a plan to wean the American public gradually down to the homes sized like most of ours. If I could afford a larger home, I KNOW I would not change my lifestyle to move into it. Small is truly beautiful. And small is only a relative term anyway.

I still think if we bred smaller people, we would all be much better off. Think about the savings to the sewer system for one thing. :)

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 10:51AM
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OK. I'm going to take the contrarian view here. That house is hideous. It's clear that the neighborhood/developer wanted a craftsman vibe, but they ended up with a vestigial bungalow with an apartment building grafted on top. I think that the better route would have been to base the design on a foursquare look. I suppose the intnt was to make it look like an original vintage bungalow with an addition, but gee, whiz, it all went so wrong! And it's not restricted to this house. If you click on the newspaper article link there is a photo of this house and its neighbor, which is even worse.

That being said, I applaud the "not so big" house movement. I just think the implementation here was a big miss.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:36AM
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Jakabedy, don't know if I would call it hideous, but I could do without the second floor stacked on top. I just really like her ideas of using every bit of space in a house. I would still like to see it in person.

She is building another home in the same area, a 1600 sq ft home. This is slightly closer to what I would consider small. My humble abode is 970 sq ft, but we have lived in 400.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 1:35PM
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caligal -

I don't really fault Susanka. I think the houses that she has custom-designed are beautiful. I just think her hands must have been tied somewhat with this design. The developer probably specified the narrow lot, the required square footage, and the DIsneyfied Craftsman look. The interior is nice, although I think that "entry" space that extends across the center of the house is of questionable utility. And the original intent of the front porch on a bungalow is to b inviting as an entrance. This plan treats the front porch as more of a private patio off the kitchen, while the actual entrance is shunted to the side.

I would have liked it better if the exterior was simply an accurate refection of the interior space. Instead, what we have is a Craftsman envelope with a modern house tucked inside. It's like the "Georgian" and "Federal" facades in the new urbanist developments in which the front windows turn out to be in laundry rooms and the master closet.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 5:32PM
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"It's like the "Georgian" and "Federal" facades in the new urbanist developments in which the front windows turn out to be in laundry rooms and the master closet."

LOL For the longest time I looked at neighbors house and could not figure the lay out. Turned out it is exactly as you said here,jakabedy . The front window was in master walk in closet.Other was a laundry room. Go figure. Walked into front door between the two rooms in a large foyer which was nice. Living room to the back of the house. OK to take in the view. Kitchen had a horrible dinning room tucked into end of kitchen. I would have considered it a breakfast room. The house was huge and I could never figure out why it scrimped on the dinning room.Living room was smaller too.

Oh and I do not have anything against Susanka designs. I just can not consider this a smaller house.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:19PM
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caligal "but we have lived in 400"
you are like me ! I am in 500sq/ft 2 bed rm apt. My friend has an addorable house in NJ. (3 bedrooms !) original molding, banister, original bathroom, and small "dining room" with many windows, and enclosed porch which I love ! It's sooo cozy, warm comfortable and he decorated it with many different items (map case,a coffee table built from a door, misc. art, wood furniture) I wish I could move it to my neighborhood,,,then it would cost 1M !
You live in 970sq ft house ? where ?
I agree w/ you I have read Susan's books but that house is not the not so big house.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 9:14PM
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Hi ERF! I am in sunny So. California. My house is just an 80's tract home that I am making into our little cottage with a few modern and vintage touches. It is transitional in style i guess?

That is the beauty of my house though, unlike the craftsman style that Susanka helped build, I am not expected to have a certain interior look.

My house is just WAY lacking in storage, so we are working on that at present.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 1:03PM
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I have also read most of Susanka's books and admire her thought processes. While I don't necessarily care for the style of her photo references, the ideas presented in her text are what I focus upon. The concept of effective use of all available space, for example.

The term 'small' is so relative! My 1100 sf cottage is small, but lives large. The individual rooms could be bigger, say totaling 1500 sf, and it would still be relatively small. A 2500 sf home is small as compared to a 6000 sf McMansion.

Part of Sarah's philosophy is eliminating those rooms and areas and stuff that merely take up space. The dining room used once each year, the living room/parlor that houses un-satupon furniture and the dust catcher piano. That media room /card room /bar area /child's playroom /fitness room /wine cellar/ 'you-name-it' that was the stuff of fantasy when building that Forever Home.

I applaud her attempts at weaning towards smaller and more lived in homes. There is little evidence, however, that developers in this KC area are heeding her advice. And observing the young mommies all driving their super-sized behemoth SUV's, while taking the little ones to school, they are spending time at the gym, shopping, and getting hair foiled and nails extended... and certainly not reading about practical home design!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 1:51PM
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