Before Sarah Susanka began her talk as part of the Cazenovia Forum lecture series, she complimented the people of the village of Cazenovia for the strong sense of community she found evident during her visit.
"If we could bottle what you guys have here, this would be a much, much better country," she said.
The bestselling author and architect spoke before a full house and standing room-only audience at Catherine Cummings Theater on the subject of "The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters."
Susanka gave her talk on Thursday March 11 and first spoke about the "not so big" house, which she said has more to do with quality than quantity in terms of comfort and beauty.
The "not so big" house, Susanka said, is better instead of bigger, built to last and meant to inspire the inhabitant, with quality and character. It is not about the size, but about how to use the size sufficiently.
"We need to design for the way we really live," she said. "We need a new blueprint to fit how we live."
Susanka noted that people often incorporate formal spaces, such as dining rooms and other rooms that go unused, simply as a way to keep up and impress others. However, she said, people need to build to ensure they feel at home in their house.
"We're not looking for awe in our living room," she said. "If you don't design your house your own, you're never going to feel like you belong."
The "not so big" house also includes details, such as tiles and bookshelves, that are built into the house and give it a personalized touch through inexpensive craftsmanship.
"These kind of things add a lot of character," Susanka said. "That beauty keeps speaking of you."
It is not just homes that are too big though, Susanka said, as she began talking about the "not so big life," which incorporates aspects similar to those of the "not so big" house."