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Mindful : June 2016
useful beauty. Think of a well-designed window seat. If it’s beautifully crafted, it invites you to sit there. It’s small, but it becomes the treasure of the house. It’s a place you really want to be. It’s a place between inside and outside. It’s charming, and it makes you want to sit down and relax. And I’m trying to make houses that make you want to say, “I’m safe. I’m sheltered. I can sit and enjoy the views. I’m home.” What do you mean when you talk about “rightsizing”? Contrary to what people expect, rightsizing doesn’t start with a notion of size, but with the question, “ What do I need? What do I love?” What grows out of that is rightsized. Your quality of life is based on how you are in your space, not the size of it. So, when I say, “not so big,” it’s got a paradox right in the name. Because what I’m really trying to get people What do you strive for when designing a house? When I’m designing a house, I try to make sure every square foot is lived in every day. I also try to help the house become an expression of In the late ‘90s, acclaimed architect Sarah Susanka made a radical suggestion: Maybe we should build houses that are not so big. In the nearly two decades since, that idea has become common sense, thanks largely to Susanka and her Not So Big series of books. Susanka argues that the key to happiness isn’t a palatial house filled with hordes of stuff; rather, happiness comes from finding inspira- tion in the little things. We talked to Susanka about how to create a fuller life by having less. 1 Make a List Make a list of the rooms in your home, along with their approximate square footage and the activities that take place in each. Estimate the frequency of each activity and—if you live with others— MAKE IT YOURS GET TO KNOW WHAT WORKS You don’t need to buy a new house or make substantial renovations to get more from your living space. These three tips from Sarah Susanka will help you to take a second look at the spaces around you so you can better tailor your home to your life. who par ticipates. Then rank the rooms in order of most used to least used. The point is to identify how you occupy your space so you can better tailor your home to your needs and create meaningful, uplifting spaces. 38 mindful June 2016