Yankee Modern

Princeton Architectural Press, ISBN: 1568988176
William Morgan
Foreword by Howard Mansfield


Yankee Modern features ten elegant houses in Rhode Island and Connecticut that are moderate in scale and budget yet quietly large in ambition. For Estes/Twombly, each building site, whether responding to a view, a neighbor, or the terrain, requires a unique solution. Through careful integration of site and design, the architects create enough natural heat and ventilation to defy the rugged New England climate and extend the warm seasons.

“Their houses are modest and the materials are familiar – shingles weathered gray, white-painted trim. The results are liberating. With oversized windows and open interiors, their houses seem to float,” Howard Mansfield writes in the foreword. “But what is most pleasing about their houses is their intelligence. The designs are fresh; the houses are awake. Nothing is done here by rote, whether it is modern or traditional. The houses are like a conversation rejoined, a conversation about building within a tradition in a way that is true to the times. Each design is an honest answer to the old question: What is a house?”

Sumptuous photography, charming drawings, and detailed plans fully illustrate Estes/Twombly’s commonsense design solutions. Author William Morgan’s opening essay traces the firm’s development and situates their work in both regional and historical contexts. William Morgan is an architectural historian and a photographer based in Providence and the author of The Cape Cod Cottage.

Yankee Modern is a welcome return to the simple pleasures of modest, innovative architecture, sensitive to its site and clients’ needs.