[This review of the 2-book collection is a shorter summary of my two longer reviews of each book. For more detail, look at each book review separately. The collection is a good buy, at only about 1/3 more than the "Not So Big House" book alone.]
"The Not So Big House" is an excellent book on efficient use of
space and attention to detail to achieve comfort from a house design. The graphics, layout, and text are all uniformly excellent. The book only disappoints at the end, where Susanka throws together too-brief treatments on solar design, environmental concerns, and ways you might save money on your "Not So Big House". You'll notice a pronounced emphasis on Craftsman-type design in the houses depicted -- lots of natural, exposed wood. There are lots of very useful ideas (including double-duty spaces, built-in storage near the point of use, an "away room", and acoustical privacy) that most architectural books present poorly or not at all.
"Creating the Not So Big House" is a good book, but in comparison to the first book it's rather a let-down. In the first book most photos were much larger and clearer; in this book some are too small to be very useful. Also, Susanka is not a professional writer, and could have used help here like she got from Kira Obolensky in "The Not So Big House". More architectural styles are represented in this book than in the original, but there aren't many new architectural ideas if you've read the first book (although spatial layering, and themes and variations are both new and useful concepts from this book).
Summary: This is a pretty good collection at a decent price. The first book is clearly superior to the second; however, the collection price makes it a reasonable bargain. Get this if you're planning a new house design AND you can afford more attention to detail than standard builder options allow. You'll end up with a personalized, comfortable, Not So Big house with a Not So Small pricetag.