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Tiny Houses

Alison Lurie decodes the messages that buildings send in The Language of Houses

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Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alison Lurie proves once again that her view of the world is sharper than most with her latest book, The Language of Houses ( Delphinium Books, September). The book comes 30 years after its predecessor, The Language of Clothes, applying that book’s method of thought to houses in Lurie’s trademark crisp, smart prose style. But it’s not just houses that Houses examines. The Language of Houses thoughtfully considers the messages sent by all of the types of buildings, structures, and abodes that humans occupy—including schools, malls, office buildings, prisons, restaurants, and hotels. Lurie sees each of these “houses” as an accumulation of information meant to suggest particular moods and expectations and to elicit certain types of behaviors…

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The ultimate downsizing: Can you live large in a tiny house?

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For many of us, springtime is synonymous with cleaning. The sun peeks out behind the clouds, and we notice that the windows need to be washed. Once the glass is clean, we get a better view of all the dust on our windowsills, and the scuffs of dirt on the floor. Or we go to pack up our sweaters and notice how disorganized all those closets are. For an increasing number of Americans, including Dee Williams, author of the new book The Big Tiny (Blue Rider Press, April), this time spent on home maintenance and upkeep is one great reason to make the shift to tiny living. Williams was inspired to join the ranks of the Tiny House Movement after…

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