HOME BY DESIGN: Transforming Your House into Home

Sarah Susanka, Author . Taunton $35 (250p) ISBN 978-1-56158-618-9

Acclaimed architect Susanka, who spawned a virtual cottage industry of home books favoring quality over quantity (The Not So Big House ; Not So Big Solutions for Your Home ; etc.), now turns her eye to 30 key design principles that produce a home. Seeking to capture the "elusive quality of home," Susanka uses beautiful photographs and helpful floor plans to discuss how "the interrelationships between spaces, walls and ceilings, and windows... shape our experience." It isn't the external architecture that matters, she says, but the interior. All homes provide shelter and footage; the goal is to enhance the quality of living. To do that, Susanka employs important tricks of her trade, explaining the rationale behind everything from window positioning and reflective ceilings to achieving symmetry, keeping in mind the overarching themes of space, light and order. Blessedly free of complex jargon, the book stresses that size doesn't matter, but construction does. Susanka's philosophy is simple: good architectural design is as important as good nutrition, and a savvy understanding of your surroundings lets you craft a better place to live. To illustrate her points, the author cites 28 of the best-designed homes in the U.S., from a tiny California cottage to a lavish Minnesota manse and a remodeled Kansas City abode. Susanka's generosity with tips (e.g., a bold use of color can add depth and solidity; aligning a doorway with a window directly across brightens the area) will be a boon to readers, who will wind up getting an architectural education in the process. 60 b&w line drawings. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/01/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
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