Tag Archives: modern design

Contemporary House Plans from Estonia

Talent — and Modern Living — from Tallinn

I am excited to introduce house plans by Andrus Elm and Oliver Kangro of Concept Home, a company from Estonia on the Gulf of Finland with wide engineering, architecture, and development experience across Southern Europe and Scandinavia. Concept Home is the newest member of our Signature Studio, which also includes plans by architects from Australia, Brazil, India, Ireland , and Italy. I’m drawn to Concept Home’s open and adaptable layouts, wide range of plan types, and warm contemporary style. Plan 537-9, for

example, which has 1,487 sq. ft., would work well for a ski chalet or a country getaway, with its strong

indoor-outdoor connections (terraces on two sides) and upstairs balcony leading

to two bedrooms, which lets the upper level share views out the tall living room window wall. 

With its shed roof, vertical board siding, and

window wall, Plan 537-17 recalls classic modern designs like the Sugar Bowl Ski

Lodge of 1939 designed by architect William Wurster (photo courtesy 2729

Hyperion.com) and a mid 1960s house like this one at Sea Ranch by Joseph Esherick (photo courtesy Sea Ranch Escape). The layout of Plan 537-17 is

carefully thought out with a multi-functional island — for cooking and dining —

separating the kitchen from the living area, a large storage closet near the kitchen, and terraces at front and rear on the ground floor and deck above. The aim of Concept Home is to design houses that are flexible, functional, full of

natural light (this is Plan 537-4), and inexpensive to build. They feel natural and warm. And, according to Concept Home: “Most of our houses can be adjusted to passive house principles in a great variety of geographical locations. We believe that a modern house must be energy-efficient.” Bravo.

So welcome home, Andrus and Oliver — or should I say it in Estonian: Tere tulemast kodu!!

Modern Living At Bat

Hitting Home

The approaching World Series makes me think about connections between baseball and contemporary home design. Themed decor is an obvious overlap and a brief web search produces an array of examples. 

 Baseball wall murals

baseball_fl_top mural from wallpapers, murals, blinds, and more!

like this 9- by 15-foot example from Classic Wallcoverings, Inc., might suit a media or family room. (Bring out the garlic fries!) 

Naturally every front doormat

FireShot capture #252 - 'HOME PLATE MAT I Home Plate Mat Welcomes Baseball Fans at Your Door I UncommonGoods' - www_uncommongoods_com_item_item_jsp_itemId=15042

is really home base. The one shown above is from Uncommon Goods.

Interestingly, the baseball diamond makes a useful house plan diagram. For example, if I rotate Plan 48-415 slightly,

48-415mf-1891 mascord plan

home base becomes the front entry; first base: bedroom 2; second: the master suite; and third: the kitchen. The dining area makes a good shortstop — for a short stack? — and the great room is a natural infield. Of course the back yard becomes the outfield and maybe the garage is the dugout. (You can’t do this with football.) The point is that a simple way of organizing a home is to think of it as a malleable baseball diamond. The tricky part is adjusting the space between the major rooms, er bases. You can borrow space but there’s no stealing.


Baseball has other connections to home design. My wife and I were in Buenos Aires earlier this year, visiting our daughter on her semester abroad. She had a room in the elegant early 20th century house of a remarkable woman named Diana who had raised three children there after her husband suddenly died. A plant-filled front hall, high ceilings — some a little crumbly and patched but full of character and style — welcoming dining and living rooms, and a roof deck were key features. Diana spoke very movingly of the house as “my partner in raising the children.” The roof deck was especially important as a protected place for them to play in that particularly dense section of the city. In other words, like a dependable catcher, a good house is a team player, working with you as life throws new challenges, allowing you to live not just more comfortably, but more fully.

Outfields of Dreams

The roof deck-as-team-player is worth considering for houses on tight lots with little yard space. The deck can be at the top of the house

431-8alt2-2386 for roof deck

as in Gregory La Vardera’s Cube House, Plan 431-8, or to one side

472-7e-1905 for roofdeck

shown here over the carport in Plan 472-7, or


above a detached garage as Plan 64-195 shows. In all of these cases you just have to be sure your decking is over a gently sloped, well drained, and permanently sealed (often with an elastomeric membrane) roof.

Another way to to make sure your chosen plan is a team player is to customize it by building in a little flexibility; for example, by making sure there’s a ground floor bedroom and bath for when stairs become a problem. A good house plan can accommodate the seventh inning stretch.