Book Review: “Yankee Modern: The Houses of Estes/Twombly”

Text by Paula M. Bodah

Howard Mansfield, the New Hampshire–based writer who penned the forward to this new book from Princeton Architectural Press, calls the houses of Newport architects James Estes and Peter Twombly un-Mansions. By that he means to contrast them with McMansions, those mega-houses that proliferated in that heady last decade or two of the 1900s, when volume, all too often, seemed to prevail over quality. It’s true that Estes/Twombly houses tend to be modest in size and free of superfluous adornment. They’re deceptively simple-looking with their weathered shingles, white trim and occasional use of rugged New England-quarried stone. But stop and look at the homes featured in Yankee Modern: The Houses of Estes/Twombly and you realize these not-so-big houses are enormous examples of ingenuity, efficiency and intelligence. With photos by a number of New England photographers (including Warren Jagger, whose work graces the cover) and essays by William Morgan, each of these ten homes gets its due as a marvelous example of how beautifully the traditional and the contemporary come together for what Mansfield calls a “regional style that works both practically and spiritually.” $40. AVAILABLE FROM PRINCETON ARCHITECTURAL PRESS, WWW.PAPRESS.COM, AND AT AREA BOOKSTORES —Paula M. Bodah

Click here to see a house designed by Estes/Twombly, as featured in our March/April 2011 issue.

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