December 2013

TopSome Not So Big Gift Ideas
for the Holiday Season

Sarah Susanka As I do each year, I'm sending along some gift suggestions for the book lovers in your life.  A book can also be a good gift for those people on your list who are difficult to buy for.  You'll find links below to books about both house design and life design -- the topics I've become associated with because of my own writings. 

House design has pretty broad appeal, especially these days as the economy is improving and people are beginning to contemplate that much needed remodeling, or even a new home.  And for those who are living over-taxed lives, or who are trying to rethink their life's direction, a book that helps them focus on what they really care about is almost always a hit.  I've included books both by myself and by others.

I hope these suggestions help make your shopping a bit easier. 

Happy Holidays to you and to everyone on your gift giving list!

Sarah Susanka

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

 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 Life Audio Book  The Not So Big Life Audio Book

The Not So Big Life shows readers how to change the way they live by fully inhabiting each moment of their lives.  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 read the book.



The Not So Big Life The Not So Big Life

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.


From Amazon: The Not So Big Life Kindle Edition 

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



Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live 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.  Also available in paperback.



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.



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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The End of the Suburbs The End of the Suburbs
by Leigh Gallagher 

Leigh Gallagher traces the rise and fall of American suburbia, showing along the way why suburbia was unsustainable from the start, and exploring the hundreds of new, alternative communities that are springing up around the country and promise to reshape our way of life for the better.

Yankee Modern Yankee Modern: The Houses of Estes/Twombly
by William Morgan 

This book features the work of architects James Estes and Peter Twombly, whose houses have appeared in several of the Not So Big House books. Their Rhode Island-based firm, Estes/Twombly Architects, builds geometrically precise houses that are unique to their New England locale, moderate in scale and budget, and yet quietly large in ambition.

Back to the Cabin Back to the Cabin
by Dale Mulfinger 

In this new collection of 37 cabins, Sarah's former business partner, Dale Mulfinger, rekindles his love for this treasured American icon with fresh insight and seasoned strategies for the logic, utility, and beauty of cabin design.

Get Your House Right by Marianne Cusato Get Your House Right
by Marianne Cusato 
This important and much needed book helps both homeowners and professionals get back in touch with the proportioning of house parts one to another and to the greater whole.

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.

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."




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Second Journey's The Dance of Spirit in Later Life
Second Journeys The Dance of Spirit in Later Life
Edited by Bolton Anthony
This anthology of 45 writers and poets explores the "dance of spirit in later life." New essays (including a contribution from Sarah), tributes to elders whose lives have been emblematic, and "invitations to practice" accompany earlier essays from Second Journey's 2011 exploration of The Spirituality of Later Life.  
Four Quadrant Living Four Quadrant Living
by Dina Colman

With helpful tips on how to reduce stress, live mindfully, eat well, exercise more, sleep better, engage in healthy relationships, and detoxify environments, this book shows readers how to take responsibility for their own health by providing logically organized and easily implemented ideas and suggestions for nourishing the "four quadrants" of our lives.

Happiness is Growing Old at Home Happiness is Growing Old at Home
by Maria Tadd
This book offers creative, cost-effective ideas on how to help a parent grow old at home with dignity. Tadd introduces the reader to an exciting world of new, easy-to-use, high-tech devices and suggests how they can work in tandem with more traditional care. 

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 2014 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 Calendar Thich Nhat Hanh 2014 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.

Living room window

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 Susanka Studios