December 2012

TopNot So Big Gift Ideas
for the Holiday Season

Sarah SusankaIf you're anything like me, right about this time of year there's a mad scramble to find gifts for friends and relatives that will be of value to the recipient without being too expensive.  For design enthusiasts and for anyone who is working to create a home and life with room in it for what really matters, I offer these suggestions.

You'll find an assortment of my own books as well as those of others whose work I often recommend.  In addition, I've included books that have come to my attention over the last year, with subject matter relating either to Not So Big design, or to Not So Big living.  

May this Holiday Season be filled with the love and companionship that reminds us what life is really all about!  

With best wishes to you and all your loved ones,

Sarah Susanka

Note: all links in the recommendations below go to, but if you prefer to purchase from an independent bookseller instead, please go to Indiebound.

Not So Big Remodeling Not So Big Remodeling

Not So Big Remodeling shows you how it's possible to stay put and remodel your existing house in a Not So Big way, incrementally, as time and money allow.  It's ideal for anyone who wants to understand both what isn't working in their home, and how to fix it.  Now available in paperback.


The Not So Big Life The Not So Big Life

The Not So Big Life shows readers how to change the way they live by fully inhabiting each moment of their lives. For anyone who is struggling to find meaning and direction in their life, this is the perfect gift. It also tells the story of how I came to write my first book. Here's a link to the introduction, where this story appears. To read more about what the book contains, click here.


The Not So Big Life Audio Book The Not So Big Life Audio Book

For those who find it easier to listen than to read, or for those with long commutes, although it's abridged, I've been told by many listeners that it was the audio book that got them interested initially and led them to the book.


From Amazon: The Not So Big Life Kindle Edition 

From Random House: The Not So Big Life E-book


The Not So Big House 10th Anniversary Edition The Not So Big House 10th Anniversary Edition

This latest edition of my first book features a new cover, a new introduction, and a new final chapter that shows how readers have implemented Not So Big strategies in their own homes.  The book's focus on the qualities of home rather than the quantities is timelier than ever in this economy.  Also available in paperback.


Home By Design Home By Design

A guide to what underlies style, and an exploration of the principles that turn an ordinary house into home, this book is an illustrated dictionary of the architectural concepts that make a Not So Big house sing.  Also available in paperback.


The Not So Big House Collection The Not So Big House Collection 

This newly packaged version of a Not So Big gift-giving favorite includes The Not So Big House 10th Anniversary Edition (see above for details) and Creating the Not So Big House.  These two volumes offer the perfect introduction to Not So Big, in one slipcase set.


To see descriptions of all of my books, click here



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Pocket Neighborhoods Pocket Neighborhoods
by Ross Chapin

Foreword by Sarah Susanka
Ross Chapin introduces an antidote to faceless, placeless sprawl -- small scale neighborhoods where people can easily know one another, where empty nesters and single householders with far-flung families can find friendship or a helping hand nearby, and where children can have shirt-tail aunties and uncles just beyond their front gate

A Pattern Language
by Christopher Alexander 
This 1977 classic provides a compendium of design concepts that have shaped the built environment for all of human history, ranging from city planning to house design and everything in between.  The book encourages readers to recognize their innate building sense by providing a language by which to discuss what we know intuitively makes sense.

Simply Imperfect Simply Imperfect
by Robyn Griggs Lawrence

This book is a fully revised and updated edition of The Wabi-Sabi House aimed at moving past our pursuit of stuff to finding beauty in austerity, serenity, and authenticity through living modestly in the moment, stripping away the unnecessary and finding satisfaction in everyday things.

The Energy-Smart House The Energy-Smart House
from Fine Homebuilding Magazine 

A must-have for those concerned about rising home energy costs, this book is written by builders and energy experts who are also Fine Homebuilding Magazine contributors. The insight shared from the pros will give readers the most up-to-date ways to keep costs down and become "energy-smart."


Prefabulous and Almost Off the Grid Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid
by Sheri Koones

Prefabrication offers a simple path to the green home of your dreams, and in her latest book, Prefabulous author Sheri Koones highlights the many ways of using prefabrication to create almost-off-the-grid homes -- houses that are not only environmentally friendly but often operate at nearly zero annual energy cost.


Residential Design for Aging in Place Residential Design for Aging in Place

by Drue Lawlor and Michael Thomas

Interior designers, architects, and homebuilders are increasingly asked by clients to design homes to allow for adaptation over time, and this is the definitive guide, endorsed by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).


The Accessible Home The Accessible Home

by Deborah Pierce

The Accessible Home goes beyond ramps and grab-bars to help aging boomers, or those faced with disabilities, accomplish home accessibility on a deeper level, and to create homes that restore independence and the grace of daily living.   



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Awake in the World Awake in the World
by Debra Moffitt

This book
 offers 108 quick and simple exercises to help invite soul-nourishing peace and calm into your fast-paced life. Inspired by wisdom traditions around the globe these practical techniques are compatible with any faith.

Aging in Community Aging in Community: A Third Way
Janice Blanchard & Bolton Anthony, Editors
This collection of essays -- including one from Sarah on "Not So Big Community" -- explores the cornucopia of new options that are emerging as the "aging-in-community" movement gathers a full head of steam. It takes a village to raise our children, and it takes community to care for our elders.

The Shibumi Strategy The Shibumi Strategy
by Matthew E. May

For those navigating difficult transitions, struggling to overcome internal setbacks, seeking to regain balance, or simply taking new directions, this book offers a fresh perspective on the challenges we all face at some point in work and life.

The Spiral of the Seasons by John Sullivan The Spiral of the Seasons
by John Sullivan
Although written primarily for those entering the fall and winter seasons of their lives, this book will be of immeasurable value to anyone wanting to learn more about the real meaning of life.  It's an excellent companion for The Not So Big Life.

A Year With Rumi: Daily Readings, by Coleman Barks A Year With Rumi: Daily Readings
Translations by Coleman Barks
A Year with Rumi brings together 365 beautiful translations of Rumi's greatest poems.  Join Coleman Barks and Rumi for a year-long journey into the mystical and sacred within and without.  

The Illuminated Rumi 2013 Wall Calendar The Illuminated Rumi 2013 Wall Calendar
Art and translations by Michael Green

Based on One Song: A New Illuminated Rumi, this calendar is an interweaving of poetry and art - a magnificent meeting of ancient tradition and modern interpretation that uniquely captures the spiritual wealth of Rumi's teachings.

Thich Nhat Hanh 2013 Wall Calendar Thich Nhat Hanh 2013 Wall Calendar

This calendar combines Nicholas Kirsten-Honshin's graceful paintings with the words of renowned Zen master, peace activist and author of over 60 books, Thich Nhat Hanh.


In This Issue
Not So Big Series Publications
Gifts for Not So Big House and Community fans
Gifts for Not So Big Life fans

My Facebook page has become my favorite way to keep fans up to date on my various ventures and interests.  I hope you'll join me there or on Twitter, which is connected to my Facebook page.

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter



Not So Big



The Not So Big House website


The Not So Big House site is full of useful information for people wanting to know how to build a house that favors quality over quantity. 



The Not So Big Life website


The Not So Big Life site is what I describe as the second half of the book, providing a community through which to engage your own not so big life.

The Not So Big Showhouse site has information about my Not So Big Showhouse at School Street, as well as the 2004 and 2005 showhouses.


Sarah Susanka website


The portal to all of my
 websites, also has some great resources for architects.

2011 Not So Big Showhouse entry

The qualities we long for have everything to do with taking time, building for the long term, crafting and paying attention to who we are, what we care about, and how we affect our world. The Not So Big House celebrates the beauty of daily life. With minimum means, it makes the act of living an art. It restores the soul to the structure.


~ The Not So Big House  

More from the
 Not So Big Series

Click on the book images
to order from Amazon

Inside the Not So Big House
Inside the
Not So Big House


Outside the Not So Big House
Outside the
Not So Big House

Creating the Not So Big House
Creating the  
Not So Big House

Not So Big Solutions for Your Home  
Not So Big Solutions
for Your Home 

More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home
More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home 


Shell artwork

Our lives are perfectly crafted to reveal who and what we really are.  All that's required is our presence.


~ The Not So Big Life 




 If you would like to receive my minizines and newsletters, go to either The Not So Big House or The Not So Big Life and sign up for the e-mail list there.  The sign-up page allows you to choose which news to receive.

With best wishes for a happy holiday from all of us at Susanka Studios