In the Helsinki suburb of Laakso, the peace of nature meets the hustle and bustle of city life. On the seventh floor of a mid-20th century apartment, Jirka and Lauri's new home is full of color and atmosphere. In their home, a mixture of distinctive found objects complements design classics passed down through generations.
Perched above the leafy but bustling Helsinki suburb of Laakso, the home of visual designer Jirka and graduating lawyer Lauri feels cozy. There are flowers on the table and glimmers of autumn light filter through the apartment. Everything seems to have its place – yet the home is full of color, shapes and life.
Jirka and Lauri explain the feel of their first home together as being born out of both respect for each other and a fusion of their differences. The two different interior design personalities found their common ground when the couple moved together last summer. Lauri's design classics, gifted from his grandmother, live now in harmony with Jirka's wild finds from the recycling centre.
When they moved together, Jirka was nervous about how Lauri, who has a more minimalist style, would handle his experimental flea market finds and peculiar furniture dreams.
"I wasn't at all prepared for the fact that I could actually have this princess’s dream," says Jirka, pointing to a pretentious glass table designed by Mikhail Loznikov. "To my surprise, Lauri had the same decorative vision, which is both loyal to functional-classicism but also a bit sprawling."
They had similar thoughts about what the building and location needed, explains Lauri, and also shared their views on how this should interact with the apartment itself.
“We have a lot of things here now that I wouldn't have originally thought of myself, but as the vision came alive, I started to see the possibilities,” he adds. “I've started to crave more big lines and showiness. Even an Italian feel."
The dome of Helsinki Cathedral and the miniature towers of Uspenski Cathedral can be seen on the distant horizon. With a bit of imagination, you can see the sea in the skyline. On the other side of the apartment, the view opens up to the forest of Helsinki’s Central Park. The home’s paint shades echo the environment, the atmosphere and the era of the building.
The edifice was looked at and listened to when choosing the paint colors – the façade of the building is a mustard yellow, the balcony niches a sage green. White walls were not an option when designing the home’s interior. From the windows of the apartment, you can see the evergreen pine trees, the sky and the cold, mossy cliffs and, with clever use of color, the atmosphere flows from the outside to the staircase and then inside the home.
The home color palette has also been designed to move from kitchen to bedroom with the rhythm of the daylight. The living room-kitchen has a soft linen ambience that is welcoming in the morning and during the day. The morning sun shines directly onto the dining table, and from there you can watch the city wake up. The elegant green shade of the piano room invites you to relax, and the sage green suits the mood of the setting sun as the last rays of evening light hit the walls.
"We wanted different atmospheres in our home. Now that we no longer live in studio apartments, we wanted to create a cohesive aesthetic made up of the color schemes and moods of the separate rooms," says Jirka.
The blue bedroom is for relaxation. This room’s three-tone scheme was inspired by public spaces, hotel rooms and the stairwells of old buildings. Before moving in, the combination of dark blue, pale beige and burgundy raised some doubts for the pair, but now the bold combination has become familiar and homely.
"The fact that the idea and inspiration came from public spaces that are meant to please everyone made our decision easier. In the end, it didn't feel so wild. It's classic and neutral, but at the same time different and interesting," says Jirka.
A few weeks after painting, his mother sent him a picture of her stairwell – a two-tone white and blue wall with a burgundy stripe.
By now, bright day is becoming late afternoon, the light melting towards the darkness of a northern evening. Now would be the time to move to the inviting green atmosphere of the piano room. Lauri will sit at the piano, Jirka in his Artek armchair as the rhythm of a busy day ebbs into the stillness of the night.