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