In 1998, Sarah Susanka, a soft-spoken Minneapolis-based architect, stormed the starter castle.
Her book, "The Not So Big House," became a surprise bestseller, galvanized a movement for sensibly sized, well-designed houses and turned the not-so-big concept into an enterprise.
Ten years and six not-so-big books later ("Creating the Not So Big House," "Outside the Not So Big House," "The Not So Big Life" ...), Susanka is widely credited with revolutionizing home building. She has been honored as an innovator, awarded for her contribution to society and featured in media outlets from "Oprah" to the New York Times.
"It's been a pretty heady experience," said Susanka, who now lives in North Carolina. "I knew that book had the potential to shift people's perceptions. What I couldn't have seen was the magnitude of that shift."
To celebrate the book's 10th anniversary, Taunton Press has released a special edition of the original "The Not So Big House," with a new cover, a new introduction and an added chapter that summarizes the principle of not-so-big design.
While Susanka admits that the battle against supersized, copycat homes hasn't been won, she firmly believes that "bigger-is-better is losing its glow. The goal is no longer to knock the socks off the neighbor," she said. "It's about living well in a home that suits you to a T."
Susanka will continue to write about homes and how we live in them. In fact, her first remodeling book is due out this spring. As for the title? Well, you can bet it'll include at least three words: Not So Big.
Connie Nelson • 612-673-7087