Small Homes Guide

Sarah Susanka, the bestselling author of  The Not So Big House  series of books, uses the phrase "Build better, not bigger" to help us think about smart house design. Her philosophy has reached millions and has had much to do with the anti-McMansion movement over the last ten years.

As you’ll read in this collection of articles from Fine Homebuilding, a smaller house makes good sense; you can afford a higher quality home that’s not so big, and one that treads more lightly on the earth. While a Not-so-big house won’t necessarily cost less, because the house is smaller, you’ll be able to build a higher quality home.

Essentials

Big Ideas for Small Houses
Multiuse rooms, built-in furniture, and carefully orchestrated sightlines are just a few of the tools that can help you to get the most out of the space you have
Energy-Smart Cottage on the Prairie Online Membership Required
Studio, dining and living areas share a lofty, light-filled space crafted to a modest budget
Living with Only What You Need
A small new house in a historic neighborhood makes the most of its 1100 square feet
A Big Little House on the Ridge

From 800 - 1250 sq. ft.

A Big Little House on the Ridge
Nestled among cedars and firs, this cabin packs multiple levels, a fireplace nook, and plenty of room for guests into 800 sq. ft.

Living with Only What You Need
A small new house in a historic neighborhood makes the most of its 1100 square feet

The Small HouseOnline Membership Required
Three generations of an Oregan family build an affordable, comfortable home

A Little House in the Big WoodsOnline Membership Required
A roof-wide skylight brings light and drama to a small house inspired by a Pacific Northwest Indian village  

Comfort and Delight on a Low Mortgage
How one family got the house they wanted for less than $100,000

A Low-Budget, High-Impact House

From 1300 - 1800 sq. ft.

A Low-Budget, High-Impact House
A design/build team delivers a custom house with copper counters, oak floors, travertine stairs, and a great outdoor space for $126 per sq. ft.

Tight Lot, Tighter Budget
In San Francisco, simple materials artfully arranged doubled the size of this small row house

Energy-Smart Cottage on the PrairieOnline Membership Required
Studio, dining and living areas share a lofty, light-filled space crafted to a modest budget

Brooklyn Carriage HouseOnline Membership Required
Turning a 19th-century garage into 21st-century living space

A Courtyard House in Old MexicoOnline Membership Required
In a historic village, two California architects build a two-story refuge that wraps around an outdoor living room

Ranch Makeover, Bungalow Style

From 1850 sq. ft. to 2500 sq. ft.

Ranch Makeover, Bungalow Style
Eight signature design elements transform a brick ranch

A Rustic Design for a Rugged ClimateOnline Membership Required
Tailored to emphasize the surrounding views, this open floor plan executed in durable materials is sheltered by insulating concrete walls

Red HouseOnline Membership Required
In Wyoming, an updated version of an old farmhouse adds up to an affordable home for a young family

Under a Steep RoofOnline Membership Required
A Craftsman-inspired house made of inexpensiive, durable materials suits a family of four

Big Ideas for Small Houses

Small Home Advice

Big Ideas for Small Houses
Multiuse rooms, built-in furniture, and carefully orchestrated sightlines are just a few of the tools that can help you to get the most out of the space you have

Not so big!
When it comes to houses, bigger does not necessarily mean better

Smaller House, Better Investment
Whether you’re planning for retirement or looking to live life to the fullest right now, buying a small house might be the best way to achieve both goals