A one-bedroom apartment a stone's throw from the shores of Helsinki’s Sibelius Park invites you to be at leisure. This home, the product of designers Eljas and Emmi, is easy to be in. We visited this professional couple and talked about atmosphere, conscious interior design and the difference between “wonderful” and “serene” colors.
What kind of decorators are you?
Eljas: I'm not a very conscious decorator. I carry memories with me that I’ve brought from all over the world, and they become meaningful elements of my interior design. The furniture that’s come to me throughout my life has become my "own decor". For example, this prototype armchair was designed by my grandfather's brother. I’ve learned along the way about more practical decorating from Emmi.
Emmi: Decorating has always been a part of my life, as my parents took a hands-on approach to decorating and renovating my childhood home. In that home, my sister and I got to choose a new color for one of the walls in our room every couple of years. Taking care of the house was family time. Painting was, and still is, fun; with a little effort you can renew the look and update the interior to suit the mood of the moment. I pay a lot of attention to the spaces: how the space is used, how the furniture is arranged – all this has a huge impact on mood.
How did your home decoration come about?
Emmi: We’ve got most of our furniture through someone. I also do a lot of online second hand shopping and visit recycling centres. The joy of discovery is part of decorating.
Eljas: That's what we have in common – I really enjoy searching and finding things too. Rarely do you find yourself in a situation where you need something "right now". With inspiration purchases, you can wait and keep your eyes open.
The atmosphere of a home is best created by the sum of nice places. A home is not just rooms, but places where different things are done, and which together form a whole. It's this kind of homely, communal or individual place. The happy union of places with different atmospheres.
What is the most important thing in your home?
Eljas: Solutions that work. Good, efficient use of space in a small home creates a good atmosphere. I also enjoy small mementos and art objects every day.
Emmi: The atmosphere of a home is best created by the sum of nice places. A home is not just rooms, but places where different things are done, and which together form a whole. It's this kind of homely, communal or individual place. The happy union of places with different atmospheres.
What are your favourite places here – your own favourite places?
Eljas: The reading corner of the bed. A bed with a pile of books on the bedside table next to it is a calming and relaxing place.
Emmi: Our bed is the best spot in this apartment. It has the most atmosphere. Sleeping well is the most fundamental thing about home – that's what home is for, after all!
You have a lot of great books from around the world. Tell us about them!
Eljas: Books are a big part of my life, they are entertainment and recharging for me. For me, the best thing about the suburb of Töölö, where we live, is the library across the block. I borrow a lot of books; some I like, some I browse and take back. I like to read a lot, but I don’t have the space to buy every book. The main books I buy are souvenirs from my travels. Currently, on my bedside table you’ll find Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen, Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Black Swan and Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life.
What kind of color users are you, do you have any favourite colors?
Emmi: My favourite colors are a polarisation of hectic glamour and balanced timelessness! For example, pastel shades are wonderful and captivating, but on the other hand, I long for more neutral, earthy materials to balance them out. I haven't been able to decide which color palette I prefer, wonderful or serene. In a world of just "wonderful" colors you soon run out of oxygen, but on the other hand, you can't always stay on the side of eternity.
Colors play a big role in my life. They give me a lot of emotions and joyful experiences, but it can sometimes be difficult to concentrate if, for example, something unpleasantly colored constantly catches my eye at home. Colors are their own language, and each shade speaks in its own way.
Eljas: It's really hard for me to come up with a color that is my all-time favourite. We painted our living room wall a pale yellow early this year and it turned out really nice. Colors surprise me with repetition.
How did you end up with bright yellow?
Emmi: In some situations, color calls to you. I often think that colors are a bit like emotions. There was something really inviting about bright, pale yellow. Charles is cheerful, light and fresh and goes with both wonderful and timeless colors.
You have your own clothing brand, Jouten, promoting the appreciation of endless novelty in everyday ordinariness. How is this reflected in your home?
Emmi: Effortlessness and simplicity is central to Jouten’s way of thinking, but also for me, I guess, it’s a kind of ideal for my home too. If it's easy to be idle at home, your home is what it should be – whatever that means for you. n You shouldn’t have to make an effort when you’re at home.
Eljas: Jouten is reflected in the colors of our home. It is a place where we can recharge, read, reflect on our lives and just be.