Emilia’s family home has room for design experiments: “If you like colors, don’t be afraid to use them”

The Tampere-based family lives surrounded by sweet pastels in an apartment building constructed in the 1960s. The clear floor plan and large windows of the momo home provide the constantly-evolving interior with a lovely framework.

Emilia has a bold and playful way of using colors. HAY’s low Woody shelf is placed under the window, the pendant is Flowerpot by &Tradition. Emilia made the base of the coffee table by herself.


Emilia and Joni Kokko and Saima, 3. Their home is a 91-square-meter apartment with four rooms in a building completed in 1965 in Tampere, Finland.

The first-floor apartments in the building built on a hill include a small yard next to a vast field of grass.

A FEW YEARS AGO, Emilia and Joni Kokko were looking for a new home in the familiar neighborhood right in the center of Tampere. Surprisingly enough, the most interesting apartment on sale was located a fifteen-minute drive away from the city center.

“We fell in love with the apartment and area at first sight. We went to see the apartment on this beautiful summer day when everything was looking its best. We’re both from a small town, so we immediately felt at home here,” says Emilia.

The suburban architecture of the 1960s and 1970s, which is cozy and down-to-earth in Kaukajärvi, gives the area a special atmosphere. There is plenty of space between the buildings, and the landscape is lush and green. It has been said that the advanced neighborhood was also once of interest to the nation’s decision-makers. Important people, such as the famous president Kekkonen, came to see the architecture in the area at the end of the 1960s.

“The true gem of the area is the wonderful, clear spring-water lake that is located within a walking distance from our home. In the summer, we spend a lot of time on the beach,” says Emilia.

The pink sofa is decorated with Artek's Zebra and HAY's Dot Soft cushions. Emilia has made the tiled side table.
The red-brown pendant is Flowerpot by &Tradition. Emilia regularly buys bouquets of fresh flowers from the flower shop Opuntia. The shelf is a second-hand find.
For the kitchen, Emilia selected cabinet frames by Ikea and doors and pulls by A.S. Helsingö. The light-yellow color on the wall is Tikkurila’s G395. Artek’s table and chairs have been purchased second-hand.

The three-story home building of Emilia, Joni, and Saima rises on the edge of a large park. The kitchen window offers a nostalgic view of the block yard, and in the other direction, there is nature. The apartment itself represents the typical architecture of its time: modern and modest. The concept of a ”momo” home is derived from these words.

“This style appeals to me. In this home, it was particularly the large windows and clear floor plan that caught my eye,” describes Emilia.

Even though the apartment was in the original – and a rather shabby – condition at the time of the purchase, Emilia, who works as an interior designer, was able to see great potential in it.

The renovation began right after the sale was concluded. The first room to be modernized was the separate kitchen, which had last been renovated in the 1980s. Emilia decided to furnish the space with Ikea’s cabinet frames and gray doors by A.S. Helsingö. The open shelves, white square-shaped tiles between the countertops and cabinets, as well as the light-yellow color of the wall pay homage to the apartment’s original spirit.

The nightstand and headboard are made by Emilia. On the nightstand, there is HAY’s playful W&S Chubby vase. On the bed, there is HAY’s Mega Dot bed cover and Marimekko’s Vuosirenkaat throw.
The pine cabinets are painted white. The slender chair is a second-hand find and makes for a perfect companion for the black-framed mirror. The bedroom walls are painted with the T1529 tone by Teknos.

Another great undertaking was the dismantling of the wall between the hallway and living room. Emilia’s father built an impressive wooden slat partition based on her daughter’s design. This gave the home its big, bright heart.

“We’re also planning to furnish the hallway with cabinets suitable for outerwear and shoes. At the moment, the space is a bit too impractical, especially for a family with a child,” points out Emilia.

“For me, the home has always been the place where I can express myself freely.”

In the rest of the home, all they had to do was paint the walls and sand and varnish the original mosaic parquet flooring. The bathroom is yet to be renovated, but Emilia has already started making plans for it. A colored tile joint could be a nice touch.

“For me, the home has always been the place where I can express myself freely. The smallest of everyday details inspire me, as does traveling, and I trust my intuition. At the moment, I’m particularly interested in Danish design. Winter, however, is a challenging time for me, because I see so much beauty in the play of light and shadow,” says Emilia.

Saima’s room is quite the pink dream. The walls are painted with Tikkurila’s color X477. On the left side of the poster by Paper Collective, there is a colorful painting made by Emilia.
The cute furniture in Saima’s room is purchased second-hand. The rug is Tie by Finarte.
The mirror and lamp in the hallway are second-hand finds, and the Moroccan vintage rug is from Etsy.

Emilia has a knack for using colors. This is reflected in everything from her clothing to the delicate shades in the home. The powdery tones in the interior provide a setting that allows stronger colors and interesting furniture shapes to stand out. The home feels like a carnival where everything is sweet and tempting.

“The stories behind objects and furniture fascinate me. I spend a lot of time in antique stores admiring unique items. I have also bought many of my clothes from flea markets,” says Emilia.

The furniture created by Emilia gives the home character. For example, the stylish coffee table is not from a design store but a unique item made by Emilia. She got the inspiration for it after buying a recycled table with a marble top. She kept the tabletop but replaced the base with a new, sturdy one made of semicircular painted slats.

Emilia's versatile use of colors is reflected in everything from her clothing to the delicious tones in the home.

Emilia is not one of those people who like permanence and sure choices. In this home, she can make all kinds of experiments without having to worry about failing. Wall colors change whenever she feels like it, and the order of furniture is by no means set in stone.

“The most important thing is to be able to feel good and calm at home. In my opinion, the interior is never finished but evolves along with life and new objects. If you like colors, don’t be afraid to use them.”

What is a momo home?

  • Momo refers to an ordinary apartment building or terraced house built in the 1950s, 60s, or 70s. Such buildings can be found all across Finland, from large suburbs to small rural villages.
  • The term “momo” comes from the words “modest” and “modern”.
  • In Finland, mainly 5-8 story element apartment buildings with strips of large windows were built in the 1960s.
  • At the beginning of the 1970s, the floor plans of element buildings were standardized to suit mass production.
  • A typical momo home features a fairly low ceiling height and large windows.

Get inspired:

Flowerpot VP1 pendant
Zebra cushion cover
Mega Dot bed cover
Aalto 66 chair
W&S Chubby vase
Tie rug
Colour crate
Paper Collective
Stacked Lines

Text: Maria Rautio Images: Maria Putaansuu

The story was previously published in Avotakka magazine 1/2022.

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