A complete home makeover in Ullanlinna, Helsinki: “It began with choosing the right designer”

To Petri Ylivuori, the labyrinthine layout and poor condition of the old house did not pose a threat, but an opportunity to renovate a dream home for his growing family. The uncompromising goal was to create an aesthetic home that would also accommodate the everyday life with small children.

TON Chair 14 in black
The round dining table seats eight people comfortably. The classic Viennese chairs are by Ton, and the large piece of art is Jukka Rusanen’s Kultakausi from Helsinki Contemporary.


Real estate developer Newil & Bau’s CEO Petri Ylivuori, 35, his doctor wife and children August, 4, and Alfred, 2, as well as baby Astrid. The home is located in Ullanlinna, Helsinki, in an apartment building built in 1911, and it has four rooms, a kitchen and a utility room. The total floor space of the apartment is 164 m².

Petri Ylivuori
Petri and his wife had the chance to realize some of their housing-related dreams in the thorough renovation of their home. As the CEO of real estate developer Newil & Bau, the theme of combining beauty with everyday practicality is close to his heart.

WHEN THE SECOND CHILD was on its way, Petri Ylivuori and his wife realized they needed more space. The family had lived in the quiet neighborhood of Ullanlinna in Helsinki for ten years, and the couple could not even imagine moving elsewhere. After a long search, they found a new home in the neighboring building. The apartment was about to undergo a major renovation, during which the layout of the dwelling that had been divided into two apartments had to be redesigned.

Petri already knew from experience that careful design is essential for successful renovation. That’s why Petri and his wife also started this renovation project by hiring Antti Rouhunkoski, Head of Interior Architecture at Poiat Studio, whose work they had become thoroughly acquainted with. That made it easy for them to trust the designer who provided the apartment with a functional floor plan, a color scheme and a suggestion for furniture placement according to their wishes.

“In my company, Newil & Bau, home design starts with choosing the right designers. I have also applied the same principle to the renovation of our homes,” says Petri.

Adea Baron sofa

Luxurious dark tones

Petri and his wife wanted the apartment to reflect the building’s architecture and have a distinguished atmosphere with a modern touch. The dark mosaic parquet was sanded and matte waxed, and dark tones were chosen for the furniture. Adea's low, graceful Baron sofa functions as a room divider. The custom-made carpet that glistens in the light is large enough to bring the sofa set together. One of the closed doorways in the hall was equipped with a shelf for books and decorative items.

Focal point

The dark dining room cabinet, purchased from Bukowskis, is a good place for making arrangements of photographs and objects that are important to the family. The lamp is Artemide’s Laguna. The ceramic sculpture was made by an old art teacher of the family’s mother. The couple’s wedding photo was placed above the cabinet.

Iittala Nappula candleholders

Art bar

The size of the opening on the living room side of the kitchen was reduced and equipped with a bar. The wide counter in the bar corner provides a great deal of work and serving space. The barstools are by Ton, the bar cart is from Bukowskis, and the Nappula candleholders are by Iittala. The technique used in Riku Mäkinen’s works is silk paper on aluminum. Petri appreciates insightful techniques in art.

The compact U-shaped kitchen doesn't feel cramped or dark thanks to the new convenient bar.

Jalo Helsinki Oiva fire extinguisher in a gray kitchen

Kitchen at the heart of the apartment

The kitchen, which is located in the middle of the apartment, opens into the hall and living room. The layout was functional and the frames of Puustelli's lower cabinets were in good condition, so the couple decided to keep them. With the aid of the old drawings found in Puustelli’s archives, it was easy to order new upper cabinets and redo the cabinet doors. Their shade is warm dark gray NCS S 5502-Y. The black faucet and handles, as well as the marble countertop, make the kitchen look distinguished. The white Oiva fire extinguisher is by Jalo Helsinki.

Color-coded home library

Color coding in the guest room

“We are book people, and it is important to us to have books at home,” says Petri. The combined TV and guest room was furnished with a sofa-bed and a sturdy, custom-made bookshelf in a neutral color. Instead of the previous alphabetical order, the books were organized by color. Music books and biographies were organized by theme on the lower shelves. The cover of the old Boknäs table was stained to match the tone of the floor.

A light-colored bedriim with black and red accents

A stylish way to hide clothes

During the renovation, both bedrooms were placed on the side of the quiet courtyard. In the parents’ bedroom, a walk-in-closet was built behind the head of the bed. The atmosphere in the room remains very calm and clear when all unnecessary items can be hidden from sight. Jakke Haapanen’s piece Palaa yhteen hangs above the bed.

A corner for meditation

Muurame's low cabinet and Kuutti Lavonen’s large piece of art have always been together in the family's homes, and in the new home, they found their place in the bedroom. The Skaala chair, designed by Yrjö Kukkapuro and manufactured by Avarte, provides a peaceful place for reading and meditation. To keep the overall look harmonious, all the walls are painted with S1002-Y and ceiling surfaces with S0502-Y by Teknos.

Flos IC F1 floor lamp in brass

Art plays a key role

The couple chooses art based on their preferences but also to match the interior of their home. The expressionist piece is Jenny Carlsson’s Aftonstjärna. The red velvet chair is from Gubi’s Beetle collection. The IC F1 floor lamp designed by Michael Anastassiades is made by Flos and the Lato side table by &Tradition.

Black sideboard, red bicycle and a large portrait

Always a tidy hallway

The main entrance opens into a spacious hall overlooking the lounges and kitchen. Some of the six doorways in the hall were closed during the renovation to give the space a more harmonious look. To make the hall stylish without any everyday clutter visible, the former servant’s entrance was replaced with a hallway for taking off and storing shoes and muddy children’s clothes. The chest that matches the floor is by Helsingö, and the artwork above it is Rauha Mäkilä’s Ebba.

To create a harmonious atmosphere, all the furniture doors in the kitchen, hallway and bathroom were painted with the same shade.

Bathroom with marble and gray tones

A room-like feel

The couple did not want their bathroom to look like a traditional washroom. The room-like feel was accentuated by painting the walls light and only tiling the shower area that gets into direct contact with water. The bathroom mirror cabinet and the floating, wall-mounted bathroom vanity provide ample storage space. The bathroom features the same tones, marble countertop and black handles as the rest of the apartment.

Brown leather lounge chair

A soft surface for games and play

Petri and his wife also wanted the children’s room to reflect the history of the building in some small way. The chair for reading fairy tales, received as a gift from Petri’s parents, also served as inspiration for the interior. The large cabinet was purchased from Lahden antiikkitukku for clothes. The wall lamp is by Örsjö. Gymnastic rings by Suomen Voimstelutuote were placed over the soft, oriental rug for the small boys to play with.

Get inspired

Lato coffee table
Nappula candleholders
Chair 14
Design House Stockholm
Block Lamp
IC floor lamp
Jalo Helsinki
Oiva fire extinguisher
Georg Jensen
Alfredo kitchen roll holder
Klaus Haapaniemi
Cushion cover

See also:

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Text: Irene Wichmann Photos: Jaanis Kerkis

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