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Designer Sarah Susanka to Work on SchoolStreet Homes’ Architecture

For the first time Sarah Susanka, FAIA, architect and best-selling author of the Not So Big House book series, has agreed to design a house for a major development – SchoolStreet Homes in the Village of Libertyville, Ill., 35 miles north of Chicago.

Susanka and SchoolStreet Homes recently announced that Susanka’s Not So Big show house will open in the fall of 2011.

SchoolStreet Homes in Libertyville, Ill

To celebrate the news, Susanka and SchoolStreet Homes will host a public meet-and-greet event along with a book signing on Thursday, Nov. 18 from 6-8 p.m. at the Libertyville Civic Center, 135 West Church St., Libertyville, Ill.

“Working with Sarah provides an unprecedented opportunity for homeowners,” said John McLinden, developer, SchoolStreet Homes. “She has never before agreed to undertake a project like this. We’re delighted to work with such a like-minded visionary to bring a Not So Big house to this New Urban lifestyle neighborhood in Libertyville, the quintessential American village.”

An accomplished architect and a much sought-after speaker, Susanka is someone who is highly regarded for her “build better, not bigger” approach to residential architecture. Just over ten years ago, Susanka’s message from her first book The Not So Big House, became the rallying cry for professionals and homeowners seeking houses designed with quality, character and sustainability in mind, rather than sheer square footage. Since then she has written eight additional books, with her series selling more than 1.2 million copies. Susanka has helped readers, homeowners and professionals alike understand that we feel “at home” in our houses when where we live reflects who we are in our hearts.

“Libertyville is grounded in a strong sense of community. It has that magical quality that so many of us long for in the place we call home. I knew immediately that this town was the perfect setting for a Not So Big house,” said Susanka, “And School Street, which is right next to Libertyville’s thriving main street, Milwaukee Avenue, is an ideal neighborhood for my design. The presence of the houses on School Street will strengthen the vitality of Milwaukee Avenue. In return the everyday bustle of this main street will lend its vibrancy to the new residences. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Susanka’s Not So Big house for SchoolStreet Homes will emphasize quality, character, energy-efficiency, sustainability, comfort and beauty. It will be designed for the way we really live, with unused formal spaces eliminated and the remaining spaces tailored to fit today’s more informal lifestyle.

“What’s so appealing about the SchoolStreet houses is that they’re filled with the character and detail that most builders today leave out. By using the same pallet of high quality materials in each of the 26 houses, SchoolStreet Homes is able to bring a semi-custom house to the marketplace at a reasonable price point. I believe SchoolStreet is a model for how to offer high-quality, architecturally designed homes with a custom-made feel to mainstream America,” Susanka added. “It promises to be the homebuilding equivalent of the designer label in the clothing industry.”

SchoolStreet Homes
SchoolStreet’s Front Porch Revival homes blend almost seamlessly with the historic turn-of-the-century homes in the neighborhood. Each house design offers an updated floor plan with classic architectural style including American Craftsman and Bungalow. The development features 26 lots – 16 of which have already been purchased by eager buyers – along with a historic school that will be transformed into 15 urban lofts. The development is located a block from a vibrant downtown and blocks from a commuter rail train station. Houses start at $489,000.

“SchoolStreet houses are designed to align with a cultural shift in how homeowners truly want to live – more soulful designs, filled with detail, that are sensitive to the environment and connected to a pedestrian friendly, vital community. For decades, Sarah has been espousing the benefit of such houses. Few people have had as great of an influence on the American home and lifestyle as Sarah,” McLinden said.

The Village of Libertyville
The Village of Libertyville is an “All-American Town” and recipient of a Great American Main Street award. It has a population of about 22,000 people and is located 35 miles north of Chicago with convenient commuter rail service to the city. It is part of the larger North Shore community and is home to a vibrant downtown with quaint shops, world-class restaurants and charming turn-of-the-century houses. Money magazine designated it one of the top places to live in the United States. Newsweek magazine ranks Libertyville High School among the top four percent of all public high schools in the country.


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