The Today Show had an intriguing segment this week about people opting for smaller houses.
After decades of the average American house growing ever larger, this year the size of the average American house shrunk by almost 300 square feet.
Matt Lauer's segment showed two families who chose smaller houses - one family moved from a larger home to a significantly smaller house and another couple who designed their own modestly sized house. They talked about the benefits of greater family togetherness, saving money on utilities and other housing costs, and more time to pursue things other than home upkeep.
The couple who designed their own small house stressed the emphasis on quality over size. The husband referred to their house as a "jewel box" - my favorite term for really wonderful small houses.
Their comments led to a brief interview with architect Sarah Susanka, author of the Not So Big House books. Susanka's books, which argue for smaller, well designed and beautifully crafted houses as an alternative to McMansions, have developed a large following.
Susanka's got a franchise going - her books include:
- The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live (1998)
- Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home (2002)
- Not So Big Solutions for Your Home (2002)
- Inside the Not So Big House: Discovering the Details that Bring a Home to Life (2005)
- Outside the Not So Big House: Creating the Landscape of Home (2006)
- Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live (2009)
The segment ends with a short interview with Barbara Corcoran who, truth be told, just doesn't get it. Corcoran's emphasis on open floor plans, great rooms, and 9' ceilings flies in the face of what Susanka's Not So Big House Movement is all about. From The Not So Big House:
"More rooms, bigger spaces and vaulted ceilings do not necessarily give us what we need in a home..."
Corcoran needs to read the book.