The Not So Big Showhouse to be unveiled Nov. 19

  • The rendering of the Not So Big Showhouse, a concept home being built in Libertyville.

    The rendering of the Not So Big Showhouse, a concept home being built in Libertyville. Courtesy of SchoolStreet Homes

  • SchholStreet Homes is developing a "walkable" neighborhood near Libertyville's downtown.

    SchholStreet Homes is developing a "walkable" neighborhood near Libertyville's downtown.

Posted9/10/2011 12:01 AM

SchoolStreet Homes said the Not So Big Showhouse, a concept home in Libertyville designed by acclaimed architect and author Sarah Susanka, will open to the public Saturday, Nov. 19.

The showhouse, 138 School St., will then remain open to the public on weekends for the next six months.


SchoolStreet development combines the Not So Big house design within a walkable community, showing how "better, not bigger" architecture works with a well-thought out neighborhood to create a vibrant community and housing success.

A guided video tour of the showhouse under construction is available on the home page of

"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. This is the first time I've designed a showhouse that's located within an existing small town and in a new walkable community that's just off the town's main street. In many ways this combination reflects the heart of what Not So Big is all about," Susanka said. "The opening of the Showhouse will give homeowners and professionals an unprecedented opportunity to experience how Not So Big can apply to every level of design -- from the smallest detail inside the house, to the street, neighborhood and community as a whole. When all these ingredients are mixed together, the experience is truly more than the sum of its parts."

The showhouse features all the hallmarks of Not So Big: quality and character, comfort and beauty, energy efficiency and sustainability. Gone are the unused formal rooms in favor of spaces that offer double-duty function, tailored to fit today's more informal lifestyles.

The home features many of the principles of Not So Big design as described in Susanka's eight residential architecture books including: ceiling-height variety, light to walk toward, reflecting surfaces, visual weight and interior views. It is designed to meet the new, stricter proposed standards of Energy Star 3.0 and Indoor Air Plus by minimizing the energy required to heat and cool the house, while maximizing the efficiency of the heating and cooling system.

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The house is also prewired for the addition of photovoltaic solar panels and other renewable energy generation.

"Even before we've opened the doors, the showhouse design and the entire SchoolStreet community have been met with great enthusiasm from the public. We've been experiencing phenomenal success and are bucking national housing trends," said John McLinden, developer, SchoolStreet Homes.

In fact, SchoolStreet sold 21 of 26 homes in under a year, and five of the 15 lofts within the first eight weeks of being released to the public.

"We look forward to welcoming the nation on Nov. 19 to experience how Susanka's Not So Big approach and SchoolStreet's innovative infill neighborhood are sparking a much-needed paradigm shift in housing," McLinden said.

SchoolStreet brings high-quality, architecturally designed homes to the marketplace at value-driven prices. The Front Porch Revival homes blend almost seamlessly with the neighborhood's existing early 20th Century homes, along with a historic school that is being transformed into 15 urban lofts.

Each design offers a tailored floor plan with classic architectural style including American Craftsman and Bungalow. SchoolStreet is connected to Libertyville's vibrant, pedestrian-friendly downtown and is just blocks from a commuter rail train station.

"What's so exciting about SchoolStreet Homes is that they introduce a more tailored product to the mainstream residential housing market," Susanka said. "By 'tailored' I mean a core home plan with a preselected palette of materials that allows homeowners to adjust certain aspects of the layout and customize finishes to meet their individual needs -- much as they might do when visiting a tailor. As SchoolStreet has shown, this approach offers people good design at a reasonable price. In my experience, this is ultimately what homebuyers are looking for."

The Not So Big Showhouse will be released for sale on the grand opening weekend. In addition, three other versions of Susanka's design for SchoolStreet are available to interested buyers, each featuring a unique exterior street elevation. Floor plans and perspective drawings are available online at