The apartment in a 1960s terraced house in Vartiokylä, Helsinki, evolved into a bright home that both reflects the spirit of the era and functions in the everyday life of a family with children.
Interior architect Asli Ufacik, spouse, and 13 and 4-year-old daughters. The home is a 112-square-meter apartment in a two-story terraced house in Vartiokylä, Helsinki, built in 1968.
THROUGH THE CLIMBING VINE you can see brown boards, a white plastered wall and blue window frames. The rectangular terraced house from the 1960s blends into its surroundings effortlessly while creating a fun contrast with the abundance of natural organic shapes.
Interior architect Asli Ufacik and her spouse fell in love with the view five years ago when they were looking for more space for their growing family. Asli’s “almost compulsive need” to keep track of apartments on sale led her to this gem in the area she was currently living in. The run-down condition of the apartment did not scare Asli away, as she had a clear vision of the outcome even before signing the deed. Fulfilling the vision took two major renovations within five years, the first of which involved the modernization of the kitchen and the downstairs floor plan. Later, the bathrooms were renovated during plumbing replacement and the upstairs floor plan was modified.
Now the old-fashioned wallpapers, poison-green stairs and 80s kitchen have evolved into an airy, colorful interior that reflects the spirit of the 60s.
The large windows typical of the 60s let plenty of light and greenery into the living room. A fiddle-leaf fig and money tree provide the interior with height variation, and some of the plants have been mounted on the wall next to the TV in Kekkilä’s flowerpot holders. Hakola’s sofa was bought used online, and it is sufficiently large for the whole family to spend time together reading and watching TV – at the moment it is waiting for a new, more colorful upholstery. The minimalist 1960s ceiling lamps are also from an online flea market. The vibrant African basket was bought in Loviisa in a shop called Karamaloo.
The original open fireplace separates the dining area from the living room, making the space beautiful and functional. Original parquet flooring was sanded and varnished during the first renovation.
Asli fell in love with the soft pink tone of Formica’s laminate countertop and wanted Helno’s kitchen to be tinted in the same shade. The floor looks like concrete but is in fact, as Asli calls it, “poor woman’s microcement”; screed that has been sanded and varnished. Since the screed is not designed to be visible, there was no guarantee of the final color, but the risk paid off. Brabantia’s stylish pedal bins function as the home’s recycling hub.
Asli thought that pink and pine formed such a fun combination that she had to try it. The pine cabinet is also by Helno. The shiny zellige-style tiles have been laid casually without grout. When Asli first saw the wall lamps by Sammode, she immediately knew she wanted them for her kitchen.
Around the same table
A doorway was made between the dining area and kitchen to increase the amount of light and facilitate access. Asli has bought the Danish chest of drawers in an antique store in Tattarisuo, Helsinki, and she has already had it in many apartments before this one. The lithograph on the wall is by Oiva Toikka. The spindle-back chairs are by Hakola, and the dining table by HAY has lived together with the family in three different homes.
The impressive spiral staircase is Asli’s favorite thing in the entire home. Usually, such staircases typical of the 1960s are seen in the stairwells of apartment buildings from that era. The shoe cabinets hide the spouse’s numerous sneakers and the children’s shoes. The works of art adorning the wall above the cabinets are spray paintings by Jussi TwoSeven and a clay piece made by the older daughter.
One end of the large living room hosts Asli’s workstation, for which she found a suitable desk from Tori, a Finnish online marketplace. There was no room for the Plaano office chair by Yrjö Kukkapuro at Asli’s brother’s home, so it ended up at Asli’s after being reupholstered. The leftover upholstery fabric was used to make cushions for the sofa. Asli got the painting by Saija Starr from her friends for her 40th birthday. The slender book cabinet was made-to-order by Helno for the family’s previous apartment.
From mother to daughter
The room of the 13-year-old daughter offers a lush view in the direction of the wide balcony. Asli loves house plants, and some of them have also found their way into the room of her teenage daughter. The tall fiddle-leaf fig is from Asli’s mother and the old velvet armchair from her grandmother. It has been matched with a rug seat cushion bought at the Habitare fair. The desk was bought used.
Embraced by soft colors
The room of the four-year-old daughter is decorated in pink. Asli buys almost all the furniture second-hand, and several pieces have found their way into her home from online flea markets. Muurame’s Jolla bed and Lundia’s nostalgic chest of drawers are vintage finds. The painting on the wall is a gift from a friend of Asli’s mother who made it for Asli when she was one year old.
Floor plan in order
Asli says that she drew many different versions of the upstairs floor plan. “I wanted a bathroom with a window and a spa and whatnot, and I just couldn’t make any decisions. Finally, I asked help from a colleague who then gave the idea for the final floor plan. It was a bit absurd not being able to solve the problems concerning my own home even though this is what I do for a living,” says Asli and laughs. The painting on the wall was made by Asli during her studies, and it is based on Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. The painting above the stairs is by Jenni Rope.
Dark and white chocolate
Asli wanted a dramatic tone for the bedroom and was inspired by the name White Chocolate of Forbo’s linoleum flooring. As a result, a delicious chocolate-brown color, exuding the spirit of the 60s, was selected for the walls. Asli restored the original upstairs layout by dividing the large bedroom back into two smaller rooms. In the second renovation, one of these rooms was turned into a utility room. To serve as a placeholder for the next art acquisition, Asli stretched a wrinkled cotton fabric on a frame. The surface of the fabric goes perfectly with the tone of the wall.
Room for colors
Bold use of colors is typical of the 1960s, and Asli chose the home’s bathrooms and toilet to capture that spirit. In the downstairs bathroom, ochre yellow plays the main role, whereas in the upstairs toilet, subtle pink takes the stage. The bathing facility, on the other hand, features turquoise tiling. During the first renovation, the hallway with four doorways was turned into a bathroom and a shower.
Text: Katri Keihäri Images: Vuokko Salo
The story was previously published in Avotakka magazine 5/2022.