Here's (above) an interesting book: Susan Susanka's "Creating the Not So Big House." Actually, the kind of houses she's talking about aren't small, they're just not as big as most in their price range. She believes space is wasted in most new homes and people would be happier with a more compact and complex design for the same price.
The smaller and better-designed house would feel larger than it is.
A word about fireplaces: they're very controversial these days. They're inefficient at heating but they're a powerful symbol and a home just doesn't seem like a home without one. Modern architects often make them freestanding, allowing for access to other rooms on their sides.
This Craftsman-influenced design reminds me how much I prefer American wooden architecture to what Europeans were turning out after 1920. Bauhaus has to be the most overrated architectural movement in history. Who wants to live in a concrete house that looks like a factory? That's a dumb idea. Americans combined German, English and Japanese influences to create our own version of cozy, comfortable, and meaningful.
Unfortunately Susanka misses as often as she hits. This Libertyville house she designed (above) is full of design flaws. The kitchen lacks character and the master bedroom is awkward and unimaginative.