December 2014

TopSome Not So Big Gift Ideas
for the Holiday Season

Sarah Susanka

Each year I send out a newsflash with links to some last minute gifts that may be of interest if you are a fan of my Not So Big House and Not So Big Life books.  As well as my own books, I like to give some suggestions for books by other authors that support the same Not So Big vision.

William Morris quote This year, in addition to these books, I've included a section of links to things that I love, and that others reading here may also find beautiful or useful, as well as a section just for calendars.  I'm placing these at the top of this newsflash, books by other authors thereafter, and my own books in the sidebar at right.  

Happy last minute gift hunting, and may your holidays be filled with joy and love in this season of giving.

Sarah Susanka

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

George Nelson Pendant Lamp Nelson Saucer Pendants
from Room & Board

These sculptural pendant lamps are designed by George Nelson and are part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

Art Glass 2400 Fahrenheit Art Glass
by artist Michael Mortara
I came upon this artist when I was in Hawaii several years ago. All of his work is stunning, but I particularly like the Mirage Series.

Yoshimoto cube Yoshimoto Cube
from the Museum of Modern Art
Naoki Yoshimoto invented the Yoshimoto Cube when he was searching for a way to divide a cube equally.  It's one of my favorite geometrical toys, and a great puzzle.

Skagen watch Skagen Watches
Skagen is a brand inspired by the contemporary Danish design movement.  I have the Grenen Women's Steel Mesh Watch, which is currently on sale.  What the images on their site do not show well is that these watches are very flat.  That's a big part of what makes them so beautiful.

Pablo Lighting desk lamp Pablo Designs Lighting
Founded in 1993 by Venezuelan-born industrial designer Pablo Pardo, Pablo Design's mission is to create designs that deepen the relationship between objects, their users, and their environments. 

Wurrkshop Woods jewelry box Wurrkshop Woods Jewelry Boxes
Handcrafted by Thomas Wurr
I received one of these beautiful jewelry boxes as a gift, and it is perfect for keeping jewelry and small treasures.  Each custom wood jewelry box is made from highly figured and exotic woods and some pieces incorporate as many as 20 different species of wood.

Paradox Pottery pot Paradox Pottery
by artist Jim Whalen    

Says the NC artist about his pots: "The patterns are like songs, each pot, a live performance...My subject matter is not of this world but rather where and how it's created."


Motawi Tile Motawi Tileworks

Designed by Nawal Motawi  

Founder Nawal Motawi started making tiles in her garage in 1992 and selling them at the local farmers market. These beautiful tiles can stand alone as art for your walls or be incorporated into your floor, fireplace, bathroom or kitchen.  Check out p. 19 of the art tile catalog for some cool house numbers. 




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2015 Rumi CalendarThe Illuminated Rumi 2015 Wall Calendar

Art and translations by Michael Green

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. 


Poetry of Rumi 2015 calendar 2015 Poetry of Rumi Wall Calendar

Translations by Coleman Barks

Art by Matt Manley

Passionate and witty, earthy and mystical, the soul-stirring poetry of 13th century Sufi poet Rumi transports us, especially when translated by Coleman Barks and accompanied by the work of artist Matt Manley.


The Enlightened Rumi 2015 Calendar 2015 Enlightened Rumi Wall Calendar

In this calendar, Rumi's simple teachings and heartfelt words are combined with images of traditional Middle Eastern art.



Heart of the Beloved 2015 Rumi calendar Rumi: Heart of the Beloved 2015 Wall Calendar

Translations by Coleman Barks

Coleman Barks' translations are paired with exquisite Persian miniatures from the 16th century in this calendar.


2015 Thich Nhat Hanh Calendar Thich Nhat Hanh 2015 Wall Calendar

Art by Nicholas Kirsten-Honshin

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


2015 Thich Nhat Hanh calendar2015 Thich Nhat Hanh Wall Calendar

Art by Adam Guan

The words of Thich Nhat Hanh remind us how to find & make peace, with reflection-inspiring art by Adam Guan.  


Lao Tse 2015 Wall Calendar Lao Tse 2015 Wall Calendar

The wisdom of Tao is expressed in carefully chosen quotations from the Tao te Ching combined with stunning images of the places where the philosophy of Tao came into being.


Zen 2015 Wall Calendar Zen 2015 Wall Calendar

The Zen 2015 Wall Calendar features beautiful tranquil imagery paired with inspiring quotes, which will put you in a Zen frame of mind.    




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Meditations On Design by John WheatmanMeditations on Design
by John Wheatman

John Wheatman's first book
is a sumptuous study that applies his design principles to every kind of interior. Each idea is based on the philosophy that a living space should be functional and comfortable and should enrich the lives of its inhabitants.

A Good House is Never Done by John Wheatman A Good House is Never Done 
by John Wheatman

This follow-up to Meditations on Design shows readers how to work with their homes as living spaces that change and evolve as their lives do. Organized around six activities people conduct in their homes - sleeping, bathing, working, cooking, dining, and playing - the book suggests ideas for creating spaces that are both functional and beautiful.


Patterns of Home Patterns of Home

by Max Jacobson, Murray Silverstein and Barbara Winslow

In this book, the authors present the ten essential patterns that shape and define a well-crafted home. Patterns explore the presence of light, the relationship between indoors and out, the flow through rooms, and the feel of one space as you are sitting in another.


Welcoming Home by Michaela Mahady Welcoming Home

by Michaela Mahady

In this book, Sarah's former business partner Michaela Mahady delves into the psychology of how humans experience built places, in order to identify those characteristics that make us feel welcome, protected, comforted, and happy.


Small Spaces by Azby Brown Small Spaces

by Azby Brown

Tokyo resident and architect Azby Brown assembled dozens of creative solutions to space and storage problems for this book about living comfortably and using space wisely.  Small Spaces will be a lifesaver for all those with growing families, shrinking resources, and limited room to grow, or anyone who wants to transform a cluttered environment into an orderly, attractive living area.


The Very Small Home by Azby Brown The Very Small Home

by Azby Brown

 The Very Small Home surveys the creative design innovations of small houses in Japan. Eighteen recently built and unusual houses, from ultramodern to Japanese rustic, are presented in depth, giving home owners, designers, and architects a fascinating new collection of ideas.


Just Enough by Azby Brown Just Enough

by Azby Brown

In Just Enough, Azby Brown turns to the history of Japan to find lessons on living in a sustainable society.  This book depicts vanished ways of life from the point of view of a contemporary observer, and presents a compelling argument around how to forge a society that is conservation-minded, waste-free, well-housed, well-fed and economically robust.  This is one of the most eye opening books I've ever read on what it means to live sustainably - a pivotal book for me. 


Wright-Sized Houses by Diane MaddexWright-Sized Houses

by Diane Maddex

 In the only book on Frank Lloyd Wright to focus on "the house of moderate cost," Wright expert Diane Maddex takes the reader inside a selection of his small houses from across the country, turning the spotlight on Wright's ingenious solutions to make these homes look and feel large.


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

by Sheri Koones

This book 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. Profiling more than 30 of the most energy-efficient homes in the United States, this book reveals how homeowners can achieve similar results in their own homes.   


Back to the Cabin

by Dale Mulfinger

In this 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. 


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.

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.



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The Alchemist The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

This book tells the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. The story teaches us, as only a few stories can, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, above all, following our dreams.


The Holographic Universe The Holographic Universe

by Michael Talbot

 Michael Talbot's classic treatise on the latest frontiers of physics reveals a revolutionary theory of reality, explaining the paranormal abilities of the mind, the unsolved riddles of brain and body, and the true nature of the universe. 


A New Earth A New Earth 

by Eckhart Tolle

In A New Earth, Tolle shows us how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world. This book is a profoundly spiritual manifesto for a better way of life-and for building a better world.

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.

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.

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.   
In This Issue
Sarah's Favorite Not So Big Things
Inspiring 2015 Calendars
Book Ideas for Not So Big House fans
Book Ideas for Not So Big Life fans
Books From the Not So Big Series

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 


Books from the
 Not So Big Series

Click on the book images  
to order from Amazon, or go to the Books Page to learn more about each book.
Home By Design
Home By Design

The Not So Big Life paperback 
The Not So Big Life

The Not So Big Life Audio Book
The Not So Big Life
Audio Book (iTunes)

Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live 
Not So Big Remodeling

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

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

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 


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  





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.

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