We have designed new homes which are very small(under 1000 square feet) as well as homes which are very large.  Regardless of scale, each home reflects the vernacular detail of the region and the careful study of proportion and light as well as the needs and desires of its owners.  This will be the first of several articles exploring projects of various sizes.

Screened And Open Porch

Screened and Open Porch

This home was designed as a weekend home for a couple who were professionals working in New York City.  The idea was to create a home that was small but also lived big.

Front Door

Front Door

When Sarah Susanka’s Book, ‘Not So Big House’ came out in 1998, it was an immediate hit.  She explored the idea that homes should have character and be designed in a way that reflects the owners’ lifestyle.  At that time, it seemed as though developers would fill every available plot of land in America with big ‘sheetrock boxes’ devoid of details, proportions and souls.  The designs were so generic that if you walked into one house, you may as well have walked into them all.

Entry Staircase

Entry Staircase

One of the principles of her ‘Not So Big House’ concept include shared spaces within a smaller home.  Instead of having separate rooms for each activity such as dining, computer use, homework, and reading, one slightly larger room can have nooks and areas which are shared.

Reading Nook

Reading Nook

Another key component is that the kitchen is the heart of the home and it should have a visual connection to the rest of the house.  This encourages interaction between family members and lets the cook(s) feel included.

View From Living Room To Kitchen

View from Living Room to Kitchen

Although interconnected spaces allow for a more compact home which feels large, ‘away’ spaces for family members are also important for solitude and privacy.

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Additionally, she encourages the addition of porches, and other outdoor spaces which expand the living spaces at a reasonable cost and provides a connection between inside and out.

Open Porch Looking Toward Screened Porch

Open Porch Looking Toward Screened Porch

About the Author: James Crisp

James M. Crisp has been an architect for well over 30 years. His architectural firm, Crisp Architects, designs projects throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. In April of 2007, Taunton Press published 'On the Porch' by James M. Crisp and Sandra Mahoney.

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  1. Cb0C92135413F107C0F246339218Ab48?S=54&R=G
    Sean Foley April 18, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Great work!

  2. Aa2Cbf39867Dfccabe80558316A86802?S=54&R=G
    James Crisp April 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    We do our best.

  3. Dd2Ec09D872674Da75D14A8De63748Da?S=54&R=G
    Audry April 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Lovely ;-)

  4. Efe63210D4Ccf4E39043153Fea697481?S=54&R=G
    Maryrose April 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    I love the view of the entry staircase curving to the rooms above from the porch. It is NOT cookie cutter in any way.

  5. 4E3Ac5Bbded2E3Cf7E11C41B289F47Cd?S=54&R=G
    tracy cunniff April 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Beautifully done and so relevant to the way we should live!

  6. E8Ae5A5091B739C999336Ad867B887F5?S=54&R=G
    Carole Miller June 13, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I absolutely love everything you do! I live in the south and wish I could call a New Englad Farmhouse home! Especially if it were designed by you and your staff.

  7. Aa2Cbf39867Dfccabe80558316A86802?S=54&R=G
    James Crisp June 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Thank you so much!

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    Becca May 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Oh my gosh. Do you sell home plans? I ADORE this home (and your designs in general). I can so picture raising my family in this home. *sigh* Perfection.

  9. Aa2Cbf39867Dfccabe80558316A86802?S=54&R=G
    James Crisp May 17, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Thank you very much! I’m sorry, we do not sell our client’s plans, but if you would like to speak to us about a new project, please call the office: 845-677-8256

    Jimmy Crisp

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