Nashville Real Estate

Efficient Home Design from Best-Selling Author Sarah Susanka

Sarah Susanka, architect and best-selling author of the “Not So Big House” books, has just finished her newest example of building a right-sized home.

The home, in the School Street neighborhood of Libertyville, Ill., is 2,450 square feet on two floors and sits on a small and narrow lot, 29 feet wide by 100 feet long. The home’s interior spaces are lined up in a row; each has a west-facing window that lets in plenty of sunshine on cold winter days.

Sarah Susanka FAIA traditional
The home’s Arts and Crafts aesthetic helps it fit into its surroundings. And the front porch gives back to the neighborhood, allowing the home to engage in the public sphere.
Sarah Susanka FAIA traditional
The living room, to the left after you enter the house, is made special and spacious with a raised ceiling that incorporates indirect lighting. The screen wall keeps the room open to the stairs while providing enough of a barrier to ensure the space has its own integrity. In the view down the hall, a piece of artwork is displayed in a lighted niche.
Sarah Susanka FAIA traditional
The kitchen is visible from the entry area and circulation spine. A unique feature of the layout is the kitchen’s location at the front of the home, ideal for preparing a snack while watching for the kids to make their way home from school. Also, the front of the house receives the most sunlight so having the kitchen here gives this heavily used space a lot of natural light.
Sarah Susanka FAIA traditional
At the top of the stairs is a laundry/crafts room. This room provides plenty of storage space and counters for folding. A sink provides a handy cleanup spot for crafts and home projects.


The plans show how the home’s linear plan of one room deep spaces is positioned to gather as much light as possible. This approach allows some passive heating of the house during those cold Illinois winters, reduces the home’s carbon footprint, and saves on energy bills.

Sarah Susanka FAIA

Click here for more images from the tour of Sarah Susanka’s newest right-sized house on


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