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Bigger Isn’t Al By Heidi Powell The American McMansion dream may have taken a hit during the recession, but this isn’t entirely a bad thing. Whether building new or remodeling, careful planning can provide more thoughtful, creative, and meaningful spaces. So if you’re getting ready to add onto your home, keep an open mind; you may not need as much space as you think.

is an awkwardness about them. For some reason you don’t choose to read there nor do guests tend to gather.

Now think about which rooms you use and enjoy most? Are you drawn more to smaller, more personal spaces than to larger, more expansive ones? At parties, why do you spend more time in the kitchen and family rooms than you do in the formal Often homeowners are thinking in terms living and dining rooms? of how much square footage they can add, instead of thinking about the usefulness People are naturally drawn to alcoves, and feel of the space that they are reading niches, or what I think of as adding. Consider for a moment that less “creative” space. Smaller, interestingly is sometimes more. A room or a home can designed areas have an architectural charisma that draws us to them. indeed be too big. Conversely, areas of the home that are too You’ve probably had the experience, large, and in some cases formal, tend to go perhaps even in your own home, of certain unused. If conversation circles are too big rooms that just feel uncomfortable. You guests only talk to the person next to them can’t quite put your finger on it but there and not to the person across the way.

Architect and author Sarah Susanka helps homeowners define their needs in terms of space requirements by how they actually live. Her series of books on The Not So Big House, including Not So Big Remodeling, focuses on today’s lifestyle and the quality and soul of one’s living environment, rather than its quantity of space or square footage. She emphasizes comfort, beauty, high levels of detail, and design strategies to utilize every square foot. Smaller rooms with details such as built-in cabinetry, elaborate trim, coffered ceilings, and varying ceiling heights can make your home more welcoming. Susanka reasons: “More rooms and bigger spaces do not necessarily give us what we need in a home. A house is so much more than its size and volume, neither of which has anything to do with comfort. Comfort is born of smaller scale and beautiful

Willamette Living June / July 2016  

Our second annual "Best of the Valley" issue with reader's favorites, health & fitness tips from the pros (even a Navy SEAL!), plus all the...

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