A historical gem gets a new life in Tampere – boutique hotel Villa Sandsund will offer effortless luxury

The history of the Tampella neighborhood in Tampere, Finland, is intertwined with the history of large industrial establishments. Hidden from view, on the Herrainmäki hill level with the roofs of the nearby apartment buildings, a new chapter is being written in the history of the area: boutique hotel Villa Sandsund, decorated by Nádor + Nádor Interior Architects, will be open for visitors in fall 2022.

Villa Sandsund in Tampere, Finland
Villa Sandsund is an Art Nouveau building designed by architect Birger Federley, and it is located in the Herrainmäki area in Tampere.

THE VERDANT HERRAINMÄKI proudly towers above the new buildings in the Tampella neighborhood in Tampere. Despite its location right next to the city center, Herrainmäki is a peaceful area.

Steep stairs lead up to a sunny hill, where the executives of the large industrial plants that operated in the area from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century built handsome homes for their families.

The exterior of Villa Sandsund in Tampere, Finland
In fall 2022 visitors will be able to get a closer look at the architecturally significant building and its many details as boutique hotel Villa Sandsund opens.

One of the five historic villas in Herrainmäki is Villa Sandsund, an Art Nouveau-style brick building designed by architect Birger Federley and completed in 1912. Villa Sandsund will soon be opened to the public as a boutique hotel.

The project was undertaken by two young couples: Hilma Ryösä and Valtteri Tuomisto as well as Laura Tuomisto and Urpo Sivula. They have an inspiring vision to breathe new life into the architecturally significant building.

Laura Tuomisto and Hilma Ryösä
Laura Tuomisto (left) and Hilma Ryösä bought Villa Sandsund from the City of Tampere. “At first, the idea was to turn the building into homes for us, but then we came to the conclusion that we now own a piece of Tampere’s cultural history that deserves to be seen by others, as well,” says Laura Tuomisto.
Villa Sandsund
The Herrainmäki area with its historic villas is located right in the center of Tampere, in the residential area of Tampella.

A vision of effortless indulgence

“Villa Sandsund is a historic gem in the middle of a quiet apartment-building area in Tampella. Our vision is to bring a bit of luxury to Tampere in the form of a compact boutique hotel. Villa Sandsund will be beautiful from floor to ceiling, and each room will offer a slightly different experience,” describes Hilma Ryösä.

“A boutique hotel must be able to surprise the customer and indulge them, which is exactly what we want to do.”

The four founders have drawn inspiration from their travels and various hotel experiences both in Finland and abroad.

“I’ll never forget the time when I was having breakfast at a hotel and was brought a small stool for my handbag. A boutique hotel must be able to surprise the customer and indulge them, which is exactly what we want to do,” says Laura Tuomisto.

Window at Villa Sandsund
As is typical of Art Nouveau, Villa Sandsund is full of gorgeous details.
Original fireplace at Villa Sandsund
Fortunately, many original elements – which will also be preserved when designing the interior of the hotel – have survived the renovations carried out over the past decades.
Old staircase at Villa Sandsund
“Villa Sandsund will be beautiful from floor to ceiling, and each room will offer a slightly different experience,” describes Hilma Ryösä.

The façade of the culturally and historically valuable building is protected, but the interior will be renovated completely – in a way that respects the past.

“Over the decades, Sandsund has been renovated many times to suit the current purpose and it deserves refurbished and restored to its former glory. We, of course, have a responsibility to succeed in this ambitious undertaking, for both the building’s history and our future customers,” points out Laura Tuomisto.

“That’s why we have hired professionals to ensure high quality down to the smallest details: the renovation will be designed by Nádor + Nádor Interior Architects and my father, architect Juha Ryösä,” continues Hilma Ryösä.

“Over the decades, Sandsund has been renovated many times to suit the current purpose and it deserves refurbished and restored to its former glory.”

The hotel will be furnished in collaboration with Finnish Design Shop’s Contract Sales. “We contacted Finnish Design Shop’s Contract Sales because we want our hotel to feature Scandinavian design that appeals to all senses. The choice proved right at an early stage, as our collaboration with Finnish Design Shop has been smooth and inspiring from the start,” elaborates Ryösä.

“Finnish Design Shop’s Contract Sales was also able to recommend Nádor + Nádor Interior Architects, which provided us with the expertise we needed in terms of materials, layout, and functionality – and to create a seamless whole,” says Tuomisto.

Villa Sandsund
“Perhaps the most interesting thing about Villa Sandsund is the fact that each room is unique: the shapes and sizes of the rooms vary, the windows in each room are slightly different from the next, some rooms feature a traditional tile stove while some will be fitted with a bathtub,” describes interior architect Essi Nádor.

Art Nouveau and modern amenities

For interior architect Essi Nádor, the project has been both inspiring and challenging. The old building, which was originally designed as a home for one family, has been altered for various purposes over the decades, and now the intention is to transform it into a hotel of seven luxurious rooms in close collaboration with the architect and technical designers.

According to Nádor, the most interesting part of the project has been the floor plan stage, during which the placement of functions and loose furniture was decided.

“It’s been interesting to see how different furniture and solutions work in each, unique room. We’re looking for furniture that reflects the building’s construction period as well as fresh, modern elements. Lamps and lighting also play a key role: it’s important to avoid choices that are too trendy to ensure that the overall appearance stands the test of time as well as possible,” describes Nádor.

“The aim is to create a boutique hotel that is memorable, unique, and cozy without bearing any resemblance to an ordinary home.”

“It’s wonderful how each room will get a distinct look – a personality, in a way. We will start the design process from the colors, details, and materials and try to make choices that reflect the building’s architecture and spirit but also feature modern technology and have a more streamlined look,” says Nádor.

Essi Nádor and team
“The building service technology will be modernized completely during the renovation. We will, however, make an effort to preserve as many of the old and historic elements as possible,” continues Essi Nádor.
Floor plan for Villa Sandsund
Engineer Sandsund built Villa Sandsund as the home of his family. Now, seven unique hotel rooms are being designed for the charming building. Image created by Konsta Ryösä.

If the project progresses on schedule, the hotel will be opened to the first visitors in early fall. The owners have a clear vision of Villa Sandsund’s future.

“This will be the first boutique hotel in the city center, and I’m sure that we’ll stand out from the competition. We want a stay in Villa Sandsund to feel easy, luxurious, and cozy and that people want to visit us again and again,” envisions Laura Tuomisto.

“Hopefully, in a year, Sandsund will be a place where customers get good service and where carefully selected details provide a touch of everyday luxury or add something special to a festive occasion,” concludes Hilma Ryösä.

Design Stories will follow the project and return to Tampere when Villa Sandsund has been opened.

See also:

Trade & Contract sales at Finnish Design Shop >
Villa Sandsund on Instagram >

Text: Mira Ahola Images: Laura Tuomisto and Valtteri Tuomisto

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