Taunton’s Small Houses, by Fine Homebuilding
I have to say, I probably started off on the wrong foot with this book. I was eagerly awaiting it in the post but when I opened it up, I saw a lot of photos I’d seen elsewhere. Admittedly I’m a house plan book junkie, and I collect house plan books like they’re going out of fashion (which, they probably are), but for some reason I was expecting something… new.
Determined to look past the repeat exposure to various photos, I decided to press on by reading the introduction by editor Joseph R. Provey. There-in came the second hurdle. Provey says “For decades, house design was largely market driven. You needed that underutilized dining room, fourth bedroom, and enormous centre hall for resale even if it didn’t suit your lifestyle.. [but] that’s all in the past”. In the past! Not in my universe! While they may not say it outright, I think the general population still believes that bigger = better, and that scaling down is foolish from a re-sale point of view. It’s the same with cheap clothes from China or Bangladesh – people love to shop in places that sell that stuff because they feel like they’re getting the most bang for their buck. I’m not judging that mentality – I just think that pursuing ‘largest quantity for lowest cost’ is imbued in society, and that it will take A LOT more convincing before the average person sees economic value in smaller houses.
Ok, deep breath house plan girl! Now for the good stuff. I love the way Taunton’s Small Houses is laid out – it’s got lots of easily digestable chapters with interesting stories about new builds and renovations, plus lots of big color photos and plan illustrations. When I got into it, I really enjoyed the book – especially the chapter on the ‘Urban Farmstead’ which features a beautifully redesigned Dutch Colonial, and the chapter on ‘Living Lightly on the Whole Lot’ which has a great color illustration of a 3 bedroom home nestled into its landscaping.
All in all, I do recommend this book, especially if you love small houses. At the very least, you’ll get a great summary of all the latest ideas in small home design, plus a nice range of case studies.
Taunton’s Small Houses is available at Amazon.com:
Link: Small Houses
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