Architecture guided Joanna Amemori’s home renovation – the end result is enchanting and timeless

Interior architect Joanna Amemori and specialist dentist Masamitsu Amemori’s home exudes the original atmosphere of the 1950s building. In this family home in Helsinki, the present and the past intertwine and engage in an intriguing dialogue.

Joanna Amemori home facade
The renovation, which lasted for a couple of years, extended to the building’s facade. The copper cladding was commissioned to match the original design. The protected courtyard pine tree is an important part of the home.

A SMALL STONE HOUSE built in the 1950s stands by the sea in Kulosaari district in Helsinki. The human-sized scale and versatile use of natural materials evoke the cozy fifties. Interior architect Joanna and special dentist Masamitsu Amemori fell in love with all that, wanting to preserve it when Joanna started planning the renovation of the home a few years ago. The aim was to preserve the original charm as much as possible without sparing effort to expenses.

“I want to design the interior with respect for the building, no matter whatever era it is from. For me architecture is always at the core of my design. Still, I’m not purely period-loyal. I find it inspiring to bring elements outside the construction era into the whole alongside solutions specific to it. These elements make the space interesting and bring joy to it,” Joanna says.

Joanna Amemori, portrait
Joanna Amemori runs her own design studio bearing her name and works as an interior designer at Artek.
1950s staircase in a private home
The 1950s-style light, surface-railing staircase with wooden steps and handrails connects the four levels of the home.
Vitra Noguchi sofa table, walnut
The living room, dining area, and kitchen are situated on the same level. A characteristic feature of the era, a ribbon window, spans the entire sea-facing facade.
Vitra Noguchi coffee table, walnut
The living room décor is a combination of new and old. On the Vitra Noguchi coffee table sits a sculpture by Joanna’s father, the sculptor Philippe Gueissaz.
Ikea 1970s vintage armchair
The windows offer a magnificent sea view. A pine-framed 1970s vintage armchair is one of Joanna's latest acquisitions.

DURING THE TWO-YEAR-LONG renovation, the wooden roof beams were both planed and stained. Furthermore, the veneer on the inner doors was restored. The wooden steps of the staircase connecting the four levels of this family home to each other were also renovated with care. Joanna chose the new surface materials carefully in line with the original spirit of the house. However, she solved many things more intuitively.

“Designing your own home differs in many ways from the client projects. I chose the color shades for all the bedrooms purely because I happen to like them. They also serve as a good backdrop for our artworks,” Joanna explains.

In her own home, Joanna solves many things intuitively, painting the walls with colors she likes and selecting furniture with the same mindset.

Joanna takes a similar approach towards new furniture and lighting purchases. “I like the idea there is also room for intuition.” The intuition creates contrasts Joanna cherishes. The aluminum bookcase in the library corner or Lars Soncks Art Nouveau chair both give depth to serene charm of the interior.

Aalto pendant lamp A333, white - brass
In the kitchen, the walnut cabinets by Blau complement the oak floor and pine ceiling beams. The A333 pendant lights are from Artek.
Armi Teva ceramic artwork
The ceramic artworks on the kitchen wall are by Armi Teva.
An open kitchen and a Knoll dining table
Joanna would like to see more boldness in the field of interior design, so that everyone dares to make decisions that reflect their own style. “I don't care much for the old rule that dictates sticking to only one type of wood in interior design,” she says.
Astep VV Cinquanta pendant, black - white
The sculptural design of the Knoll Tulip table and Maruni Tako chairs engages in dialogue with the sleek architecture. A painting by Lukas Götman was acquired from Helsinki Contemporary. Alongside it hangs a graphic work by Matti Kujasalo. The VV Cinquanta lamp is from Astep.

THE HOUSE DRAWN by Ola Hansson sets the framework for a family home that lives and breathes in the present time. The architecture of the building guides visitors from the modest small-windowed street facade into the foyer and further into the spacious living room, which is bathed in light.

“The layout of the house is well-designed. I enjoy having shared spaces where we can spend time with family and friends. There is enough space in the living room for children’s huts and trick tracks. At the same time, there is space for everyone to retreat and calm down.”

Unexpected combinations and solutions make the space interesting and bring joy to it.

The sea view from the large windows of the living room brings a sense of calm year-round, even when the waves hit the pavement during autumn storms. After a storm, Joanna has a habit of walking along the shore, looking for driftwood. With a collage-like approach, she crafts seats and sculptures from them, scattered throughout the yard.

Brick-red tiling in the foyer floor
Joanna carefully selected the new surface materials for the house to match the original spirit of the home. The foyer floor is covered with beautiful, brick-red tiling.
Interior paint, 3,6 L, 030 VIRGINIA - straw green
A unique rug adds depth to the bedroom and pulls together delicious color combinations into a cohesive whole. The straw-green walls are painted in Cover Story’s Virginia shade.
Cover Story Virginia interior paint
The color scheme of the home is softly pastel. A few dark accents, modern art, and unexpected furniture combinations make the overall look intriguing.
Cover Story Anais paint
The children's room features a Vitra Standard chair and a Santa & Cole Cesta lamp. The walls are painted in Cover Story’s Anaïs shade.
Cover Story Albert interior paint
The Bonbon ceiling light in the second children's room is by HAY. The light turquoise Albert shade is from Cover Story.
Bathroom with a sea view
In the fixed solutions, the Amemoris aimed to stay faithful to the style of the building era. The paved path with soapstone tiles leads to the shore, where steep stairs descend to the waterline.

FOR THE FAMILY, who previously lived in the city centre of Helsinki, nature is now closer than before.

“The journey back home has become even more important to me. When walking through small groves and local parks, my mind shifts from work to leisure. I’m also practicing gardening and dreaming of creating a sprawling garden around our house over the years. Although right now, things are good as they are.”

Get inspired

Armchair 400
Santa & Cole
Cesta lamp
Noguchi coffee table
VV Cinquanta lamp
A333 pendant lamp
Bonbon lampshade
Stool 60
Standard chair

See also:

Asun Homes vol 6 bookazine >

Text: Selina Vienola Images: Paavo Lehtonen

Featured products may not be available worldwide. This story was originally published in the Asun magazine’s issue 45.

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