In this column, Avotakka’s editorial staff present their favorite products and interior design solutions that have proved functional. Art Director Elina Henttonen selected seven small yet versatile products that fit in her tiny, 12-square-meter summer cottage and on its terrace.
1. Memories of childhood summers
“When all our holiday plans got canceled last summer, I started to long for a summer home for the first time in my life. On a whim, I went and bought a tiny summer cottage in Helsinki, less than two kilometers from my home. According to city regulations, the maximum size of the summer house is 12 square meters, and it may also have a 7-square-meter terrace. Thus, there is need for slender and versatile furniture that can withstand holiday-home conditions year after year.
Hem’s Last Stools are made of enameled metal, so they remind you of the nostalgic enamel mugs that definitely belong to the summer home. The metal stool is versatile, as it can be used as a coffee table, seat or additional surface for placing objects, and it can be slid under a table when it’s not needed. If necessary, it can be carried to the terrace, and it even withstands some rain.
Since it doesn’t have thin legs, as so many other chairs, it remains stable despite the gaps between the terrace boards. The forest-green color is perfect, as well! I wonder if this stool could be used as a paper or storage basket during the winter if it was turned upside down.”
2. Cordless light
“There is no electricity at the summer home, so rechargeable LED lamps are really needed. We use Fatboy’s handy Bolleke lamp as a night lamp in the children’s room at our home during the winter, and we take it to the holiday home for the summer. My child loves making huts and always takes the Bolleke lamp to light the latest hut.
The lamp, which can be recharged via a USB cable, is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and it can, for example, be hung from a tree branch or placed at the center of a table setting. The ball-shaped plastic lamp is light to take home for charging, hanging from a bicycle handle. Fatboy also offers other excellent outdoor products, which are suitably humorous and imaginative and have ingenious features.”
"Fatboy also offers other excellent outdoor products, which are suitably humorous and imaginative and have ingenious features."
3. Dreaming of slow mornings
“All winter, I’ve been dreaming of leisurely, sunny summer mornings on the terrace enjoying a cup of good coffee and reading a riveting paperback. It’s possible that my lively 5-year-old and nice summer-home neighbors make sure that there is no time for such moments, but good coffee is luckily something one can even enjoy at a summer home that doesn’t have electricity.
Chemex Coffeemaker brews 6 cups of coffee, enough for some guests, as well. The carafe is so beautiful that there’s no need to hide it in a cabinet. Making coffee this way may be a bit slow, but it also offers an aromatic mindfulness experience while the coffee is brewing. In addition to the Chemex carafe, you need Hario’s kettle for boiling the water and pouring it slowly in the right kind of circular motion.”
4. Portable flower bed
“It’s forbidden to plant anything in the yard of the summer home since the environment must be kept as a natural forest. I am, however, excited about getting something green, and Bacsac’s fabric pots solve the problem. I don’t yet know what I’ll plant in the fabric pots, as I’ve heard that roe deer have a habit of eating everything growing near the summer homes. I’d like to try growing summer flowers that could be picked and put in a vase in the fall or rhubarb in a bigger pot. I’ve already started planning what to plant by googling ‘what do deer not eat’”.
"I’d like to try growing summer flowers that could be picked and put in a vase in the fall."
5. Suspended garden
“The tiny kitchen in my summer home doesn’t have many surfaces for putting things on, but the windows are large and face three directions. Thus, sunlight floods in, as they often say in the interior design magazines when describing a home.
I could hang a Tuokko hanging shelf by Verso Design in front of the window and grow herbs in it. I’d have the most use for cilantro and mint, perhaps also for parsley and dill. I think I’ll buy a few verdant pots of fully-grown herbs from a grocery store and test their success in my little paradise!”
6. Twice the scent of the forest
“The summer homes are not equipped with plumbing, so all water used for washing ends up straight in the soil. That’s why I always choose a hand soap that’s as environmentally friendly as possible, biodegradable and made of natural ingredients.
The liquid hand soap by Hetkinen, which looks Japanese but is completely Finnish, smells of resin, pine and pine needles, making it perfect for a summer home located in the middle of a forest. This also makes for a lovely gift when visiting the summer homes of others.”
"The liquid hand soap by Hetkinen smells of resin, pine and pine needles, making it perfect for a summer home located in the middle of a forest."
7. For lumberjack work
“There’s been much use for an ax since a huge tree was felled in the yard. The neighbors took most of the logs out of our hands, but some were left for chopping into firewood. After a storm, there might be need for cutting some branches. The ax must, of course, be functional, reliable and made of high-quality materials, and a stylish look never did anyone any harm. Additional points for the fact that the Fiskars axes are made in Finland.”
Elina Henttonen, Art Director of Avotakka magazine, is passionate about inexpensive flea market finds. She would like to live in Palm Springs, California because of her fascination with 1950s style, architecture and pastel desert aesthetics.
Text: Elina Henttonen Images: Suvi Kesäläinen and manufacturers