Soft, light colors give this hundred-year-old apartment in Helsinki, Finland, a beautiful, modern look. Extensive renovations transformed the space into an elegant yet relaxed home for a family with children without erasing the signs of the past.
THE SPACIOUS APARTMENT, built in the first half of the last century, underwent a thorough renovation. While being modern, the apartment respects the past and charms anyone who enters it. The home of Riika and Patrik Wikberg is an interesting combination of very different things; it provides a carefully detailed high-quality setting for relaxed family life.
The apartment itself is elegant and features soft, light tones. Yet it provides a perfect setting for the family’s active toddlers. The winding tracks of the train set or the cities made of building blocks on the living-room floor do not break the atmosphere. Instead, the whole remains balanced. This home proves that even when you have children, it is not necessary or even desirable to compromise on style.
As Riika points out, genuine, high-quality materials can usually be repaired, whereas worn-out imitation materials cannot be saved by any means. According to the residents, who are accustomed to renovating apartments, it is advisable to carry out the renovation carefully to create a harmonious whole. High-quality materials are worth investing in, especially if they feel important for the result, since they bring joy even if the apartment is not supposed to be yours for the rest of your life.
High-quality materials and skilled renovation professionals guarantee a good result.
Riika and Patrik did not make any compromises, even though this apartment in southern Helsinki, which is their third consecutive completely renovated home, is unlikely to be the family’s last renovation project.
In the capable hands of the couple, the once run-down space was transformed into an incredibly beautiful home that is stunning already as is, even without any furniture or objects. The crown moldings and skirting boards that reflect the building’s construction period add the finishing touch to the high-ceiling spaces. The ceiling medallions of the ceiling lamps, the old panel doors with their wide, beautifully crafted moldings and handles, as well as many other elements that either are or look original give this home an elegant look that respects the past. The new, modern patterned parquet creates an exciting connection between the past and the present.
The carefully designed home is like an elegant jewel and beautiful as is, even without any furniture.
The apartment’s floor plan was simplified by knocking down cupboard walls next to the hallway, hall and kitchen to make the apartment brighter and less labyrinthine. Now light can flow freely through the apartment from both directions, and the combined kitchen, dining room and lounge area opens up from the entrance. The layouts of the living room and bedroom were left as is.
Design and interior decoration are a passion for Riika, who is interested in interior architecture. It is something where Marimekko’s Chief Business Development Officer can apply her love of aesthetics. Colors, shapes, spaces and moods inspire and titillate her with their possibilities. This is also visible in Riika’s Instagram account, @coterieofficial, which focuses on interior design.
The harmony, tranquility and beauty of the home balance out the hustle and bustle of everyday life, making its residents feel good.
“It’s interesting and challenging to outline the potential of the space and the future atmosphere. I design the whole interior from the smallest detail to the big picture, and we try to carry out the plan from start to finish in as short a period as possible,” says Riika. “That’s why the places of lamps and various functions have to be decided at an early stage. We are, however, in no hurry to get the furniture, the select few items may gradually find their way to our home, where less is more.”
The carefully detailed 121-square-meter apartment is flexible and can be modified to meet current needs. The rooms of the children and parents have already changed places a few times, and the living-room furniture has visited other rooms at times.
The spacious kitchen has become the family’s favorite spot, since it hosts a few comfortable and sculptural armchairs in addition to the dining table. Carefully selected objects form various combinations in this home where light tones are the common denominator.
Text: Ulla Koskinen Photos: Sameli Rantanen
This story was originally published in Asun magazine's issue 32.