Most homeowners, says author Sarah Susanka, know what they want in a house. What they need, she says, is a language in which to articulate their desires.

In her new book, Home By Design, the architect and not-so-big house proponent attempts to provide that language, clarifying for homeowners what she says many intuitively recognize: that is, the arrangement of light and space that make a house feel like a home.

"You have in most people a sophisticated sense of what feels good to be in and what doesn't," Susanka says. "But it doesn't get applied."

The book focuses on how an individual perceives order, light, and space and explains how architects and designers manipulate those elements to create a desired atmosphere or mood. In providing an architect's perspective, Susanka says, she hopes to alert consumers to the potential in any given space.

"There's a lack of understanding about what space can be," she says. "People don't realize how pliable space is and how much can be done with a little tailoring."