Not So Big® Showhouse Featured in EcoHome

Ecohome is a magazine of the American Institute of Architects and focuses on green products and technology.

Sarah Susanka Opens Not So Big Showhouse in Illinois

Walkability, healthy indoor air, and attractive design appeal to small town buyers.

ByRick Schwolsky

The SchoolStreet Development in Libertyville, Ill., includes architect Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big Showhouse.

The SchoolStreet Development in Libertyville, Ill., includes architect Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big Showhouse.

Credit: Courtesy SchoolStreet Homes

Architect Sarah Susanka’s latest project is a showhouse demonstrating many of the architect’s design solutions for maximizing lifestyle within reasonable sqare footage—an approach she has famously coined as the “Not So Big House” architectural pattern. The showhome, which opened to the public this month, is part of a 26-home infill development built by SchoolStreet Homes on a Libertyville, Ill., “redfield” site—a term that refers to a financially damaged and dormant site, joining “brownfield” and “greenfield” in the lexicon of our industry.

“With all the challenges in the housing market, it’s clear we need a new vision for the way we design our homes, our communities, and even our lives,” Susanka says. “This is the first time I’ve designed a showhome that’s located within an existing small town and in a new walkable community that’s just off the town’s main street.”

The 2,450-square-foot home was designed to meet the new Energy Star for Homes 3.0 performance levels, as well as EPA’s Indoor Air Plus requirements, and is pre-wired for subsequent installation of rooftop PV panels.
The SchoolStreet development includes a historic school that’s being transformed into 15 urban lofts that will be available starting in the second quarter of 2012. It is within blocks of downtown shops and restaurants as well as a commuter rail station 30 miles from Chicago. “Even before we opened the doors, the showhouse design and the entire SchoolStreet community have been met with great enthusiasm from the public,” says John McLinden of SchoolStreet Homes. “We’re bucking national housing trends with 21 of the 26 homes sold in less than a year and five of the 15 lofts sold within the first eight weeks of being released to the public.”

Rick Schwolsky is Editor of Chief of EcoHome.

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Room and Board Furniture Delivered for the Showhouse!

We are so excited to have Room and Board design, furnish, and install the furniture for the Not So Big® Showhouse!

The furniture was installed today and looks even better than imagined. We would love to show you photos, but it is top secret for the time being… so you will just have to wait and see for yourself at the Grand Opening on November 19.

Room and Board has also sent out their own invitations to the open house:

SchoolStreet Featured on Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch!

Watch the fantastic story featuring StreetScape’s John McLinden, Sarah Susanka, and our happy residents:

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Sarah Susanka to Speak Tomorrow in Mount Prospect

Author and architect of School Street’s Not So Big® Showhouse, Sarah Susanka, is in town to speak in Mount Prospect. Sarah will be speaking about sustainable lifestyles and communities tomorrow, September 21.

More information and details at:

Sarah Susanka to Speak with Bill Moller on WGN Radio

Be sure to tune in to WGN radio from 9-11:30am tomorrow morning. At about 11am, Bill Moller will be talking with architect Sarah Susanka about her Not So Big® Showhouse and School Street.

Make sure to pass the word, and we would love you to share your comments of the broadcast.

You can listen on AM 720, or stream from

Not So Big Showhouse Staircase Photos!

Construction of the central stairwell in Sarah Susanka’s, Not So Big® Showhouse, is underway!