Contemporary design in Japan and across Scandinavia share some affinities: A love of natural materials; a hewing to a minimalist aesthetic that lets natural materials take center stage; a cool simplicity. So what happens when an architecture firm marries those two similar spirits in a new-build house in a Tokyo neighborhood? This lovely home, by Swedish architecture firm Elding Oscarson. Slotted into a tight lot, the two-story, 1,065-square-foot (99-square-meter) Nerima House has a facade marked by alternating horizontal bands of vertically laid timber panels and Bauhaus-style glass windows. The light-filled interiors comprise airy open-plan spaces. To help create a sense of intimacy inside, the architects built the ground level a bit below grade, creating a sunken living room vibe of the whole entry level.