Creating the Not So Big House

Hannah's 12th birthday 012  Hannah's 12th birthday 001  2013 FebMar 124

Sarah Susanka, in her book, Creating the Not So Big House, writes that she’ll delve deep into the task of identifying the spatial qualities and concepts that affect us. How do we want to live in our home space? How do we want to feel?

When building our first home eleven years ago, I spent more time than money creating and planning the kitchen. When I opened my boxes to empty appliances and utensils, I knew exactly what drawer they were headed.

I chose to design my kitchen as I preferred to function in that space. I imagined myself preparing a morning cup of coffee or a dinner for twelve, and my usual dinner for six family-style.

I knew that I wouldn’t often use two wall ovens, so I chose a microwave that could double as a convection oven in a pinch (I rarely used it).

I knew I would bake regularly so I wanted the bags of flour and sugar in a pull-out drawer near the baking utensils.

I knew which way I turned to slip dirty plates into the dishwasher. I knew I wanted the garbage placed under the sink for easy disposal (and I knew I didn’t want a garbage disposal in the sink that would stink up my cleaning space).

The only thing I regretted was not placing the sink under the counter.

This was all just the kitchen planning. In my first experience building a home, it was primarily where I placed my house planning efforts, and to much benefit.

There was much more to home design than kitchen organization though.

Many aspects of home design we take for granted, like sight lines and ceiling heights. Location of a main floor powder room, cozy or grand great room, height of window sills, and use of rooms–these are some of the many aspects that Susan Susankah explores. Since her first book has become a series, even a cult following, I am using these notions in the building of our own home.

Next week I explore her the spatial concept that ceiling heights affects our experience of our home.