The joy of finding the perfect item second-hand can last for a lifetime, whether it’s a garment or a piece of furniture. But Kiira and Jussi never dreamed they’d find their perfect home in a Facebook Recycling group. Their one-bedroom apartment amid the peaceful wooden houses of Helsinki’s trendy Puu-Vallila is now home to the couple and their beloved Veli-cat.
Jussi and Kiira’s charming wooden house is nestled in the narrow streets of a quaint, traditional quarter of inner-city Helsinki. It is an inviting home, filled with eclectic colors, objects and furniture that amplify the homely atmosphere. Since moving in, the couple have been hard at work improving the dwelling, and when deciding on styling or decor, the landscape architect and graphic designer draw and design together.
"We’re 'DIY' people,” says Jussi. “We don't have an interior design ideology, but the whole has evolved over time, with stuff collected here and there that gives our home our unique touch.
”We don't have a clear style, but we have certain preferences that kind of accidentally fit together,” adds Kiira. “We subconsciously make choices that form the style.”
Their designer and maker personalities complement each other. Jussi admits that it’s hard for him to make plans because he’s always changing his mind. A few years ago he was doing a kitchen in rose. It turned out black.
If Jussi is really passionate about something, he'll eventually just get on with it with an ‘I'll just do it myself’ attitude.
As a graphic designer, Kiira also has strong instincts when it comes to color, yet at first the color of the walls didn’t seem like an urgent concern for her. Then she realised that color would be a really effective mood setter.
“If Jussi is really passionate about something, he'll eventually just get on with it with an ‘I'll just do it myself’ attitude. Jussi was thinking peach at first, but then the graphic designer in me started looking at the shades and realised that peach gives me a migraine," she laughs.
The inspiration for change often comes from Jussi. "Our last couple of years have been really busy – we've designed and built a cottage on Lammassaari Island, made a new kitchen, fixed up the toilet and built a bedroom closet and sideboard partly from recycled materials. Then Jussi said he wanted a new paint color for the walls in the kitchen-living room,” says Kiira.
The choice of shade was inspired by the emerald, early 20th-century tile stove that adorns the corner of the room. This jewel of the home felt detached and lonely amid the white walls.
"Green was the obvious choice," says Kiira. Now, the impressive tile stove is juxtaposed with soft pale green walls that really hold the space together. "As soon as we painted the walls, we felt that this is how it should be.” The green paint is calming and creates a cozy atmosphere, yet the serenity is secondary for the couple.
“It’s important to me that we have fun in our home. Our home is not super stylish, but it has personality. And maybe a little bit of weirdness," says Kiira. “The home is filled with objects, memories and furniture found over the years at flea markets and recycling centres – a collage of homemade, DIY, friends' gifts and tinkering.”
The couple love that the interior is constantly changing as objects find new places. The latest flea market find, a cross-stitch embroidered cushion, has found its place on the sofa.
"We were browsing flea markets and found this funny football club cushion. My first thought was that the colorful cushion would match the 027 Hermann shade perfectly," says Kiira.
There is a sense of community among the house's residents – it's like a small village in the middle of the city
For Kiira and Jussi, the home is more than just a cozy one-bedroom with wood plank flooring. In summer, neighbourhood life extends into the courtyard of the wooden house, as neighbours move to the communal yard to spend bright summer evenings together. On the staircases of the two-storey wooden house, Christmas lights and rag rugs welcome guests.
"There is a sense of community among the house's residents – it's like a small village in the middle of the city," says Jussi.