On the banks of a tranquil river at Vanhankaupunginkoski sits a charming, red brick apartment block. This mid-16th century electricity transformer station harks back to the founding of Helsinki. Here, amid a cheerful collection of green plants, porcelain objects and colorful furniture, you’ll find the home of Sanni and Asser.
Sanni, Asser and their beloved cat, Kasper feel far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city in their historic building, which was renovated at the turn of the millennium. Pink velour armchairs and a deep navy blue sofa are an invitation to relax as the decor walks the line between maximalism and moderation. It’s peaceful, yet reflects the energy of its vibrant inhabitants and, in truth, the action of the city center isn’t far away.
"If this were just Asser's home, it would certainly be more minimalist. If this were just my home, I'm sure there would be even more porcelain animals," laughs Sanni.
The couple's interior design is a joint effort, and it pleases both of them. As an enthusiastic flea market and auction hunter, the impetus for new finds usually comes from Sanni. The suggestion of a common taste in interior design amuses the couple.
"Let's just say that my first reaction might be an absolute no, when Sanni shows me her latest finds. Then a few months go by and I find myself thinking, oh, that’s so nice!" Asser confesses. That's apparently what happened with the zebra armchair, porcelain objects and chandeliers.
"I promised Asser after I bid for the zebra chair online that if he didn't like it, I would take it to my office. Which I still don't have. Luckily, he liked the chair," laughs Sanni.
Our use of color has become more playful over the years, and the color palette more relaxed.
Colors have seeped into the couple's home over the years. Six years ago, they moved into this apartment with their black furniture and painted the high wall of the living room dark gray. Now, black is mainly found in the kitchen, and the impressive six-meter wall has been painted a fresh shade of blue.
"Our use of color has become more playful over the years, and the color palette more relaxed. I used to think a lot about decor and colors. Nowadays the planning has changed to seeing something fun and getting it. Last summer we found a big, head shaped vase on a trip to Åland, and it had to be transported with us to Finland. The decor is layered with these acquisitions found over time," says Sanni.
"The pandemic and being at home all the time have influenced how I feel about home. It has made me think about what things feel good. Comfort and personal well-being are more important than the harmony of the color palette or well-considered interior design," Asser says.
Despite the initial hesitation, the choice proved to be the right one – the soothing blue accentuates the room's shapes and balances the orange-tinted parquet flooring.
The decision to go with a blue wall developed slowly over time. The rich gray-blue wall looms to a staggering height, yet it provides a calming backdrop to the spacious living room. The color adds atmosphere and somehow ties together colorful furniture and cheerful decorative objects.
"A year ago, we ordered color samples and thought we should paint the wall pink. Although pink is a great color spatially, with our pink armchairs and six-meter ceilings, we suspected it might be a bit too much. But we were stuck pondering the issue for a year before we made the call," Asser recalls.
Finally, blue won out and 016 TOVE was chosen for the living room walls. Despite the initial hesitation, the choice proved to be the right one – the soothing blue accentuates the room's shapes and balances the orange-tinted parquet flooring. The upstairs has an open balcony over the living room; lying in bed, you can watch the spring sun draw lines of light, as if painting a shifting sky upon the wall.
With the living room redecorated, the couple have turned their gaze to the other white walls of the home. Currently, the color samples can be found adhered to the upstairs bedroom and the staircase. Maybe in another year they'll find the right shade.