I have a favorite non-fiction author, Sarah Susanka, who is an architect. She developed the "Not So Big House" concept a number of years ago and has written a series of The Not So Big House books about it. She calls it "a Blueprint for the Way We Really Live" and it makes so much sense. If you are remodelling or planning to build a house, you owe it to yourself to check it out. I believe with the change in the economy, the uncertainty of the world today, and the Green movement, her designs are especially relevant. She challenges the McMansion style of the last 20 years with all the wasted space and non-functioning space within them. Oftentimes there are rooms never or rarely used and the design keeps the family physically apart instead of together. Mark and I definitely wanted a smaller house for the two of us in retirement and our cottage is perfect - it is small and lives very well. It also fits in with some of her concepts and I love the coziness & functionality. I hope more builders come around to this concept in the future.
Sarah also wrote a wonderful book called The Not So Big Life - making room for what really matters. Another of my favorite non-fiction authors, Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, said about her book, "This not so big book will help you find your human scale and a life that suits you. It's practical, inspiring, and brilliantly conceived." I couldn't agree more. I hope you look into them; at least browse through them the next time you are in a book store or check out her website at: http://www.notsobighouse.com/. or http://www.susanka.com/