Estonian Association of Architects / award for a private house 2021 nominee
Vääna-Jõesuu, Harjumaa
Karmo Tõra (ROK-Projekt)
Interior architecture
Aet Piel
Structural design
Marko Tähiste
Commissioned by
Total area
Katrin Uusoja, Juta Kübarsepp


It is quite thrilling to look back on the time when we dreamed about our home as well as the entire design and construction process. We wrote a brief to architect Karmo Tõra, including the following lines: - A house for two people, more than just the current summer house. - A large terrace in front of the house along the entire living room area facing the garden. There will be flowers in the summer with the owners enjoying lazy Saturday mornings, and also guests feel comfortable there. - A living room with high ceilings, curiously overlooking the garden. - The living room and bedroom windows extend over the entire height of the space and even higher – the large windows bring the outdoors indoors. Or the entire outdoor area is a large room. - The office and guest room do not need to be large – guests are nice when they come and go, but this is a home for the two of us. - The washing area includes two showers and a toilet with a sink. The toilet does not have to be a standard space for one. It could accommodate, for instance, …. a small library? The size and location of the house were largely defined by the plot size, cardinal directions and old oak trees. As we did not agree to cutting any of them, some of the excavation had to be made manually. The size of the windows was a bit daunting at first, but the result is spectacular! Our experience with the architect: you should definitely see their earlier works and figure out if their ‘handwriting’ fits you. Trust is built in the process and there is no point in pretending to know it all as it will usually only cost dearly.

Oaks – large, powerful, old, wise, close

The sea – can be heard, felt, a five-minute walk

Road – in the north, behind the high sand dune covered with large trees

Forest – around, leafy

Neighbours – far away, no bother

Water – a lot of it, old riverbed, own water feature

Relief – present




Woman – delicate, but definitely the neck, a local

Man – enthusiastic, the head, hesitant, inquisitive, comes along

Children – grown-up, have their own lives

Life – often here and often there – at least for now

Needs – few

Expectations – average

Possibilities – sufficient

Experience – plenty

Rooms – for living, cooking, sleeping, washing, storing and one more for working and guests



Plan – extended as much as allowed by the plot

Views – obviously in every room

Shape – simple

Skin – obviously wooden

Simultaneously indoors and outdoors

Music – not merely but very good


How much is needed for the best years of our life?

How little is needed for the best years of our life?

Karmo Tõra