Franckly Friends: Pirkko’s family home makes room for wood surfaces, play and pre-owned design classics

A couple who work with wood live with their children in the Maununneva district of Helsinki. At first glance, you wouldn't guess from the art gallery-like space that many of the items in the home are pre-owned – and that it’s a place for spontaneous ball games.

A living room view and a Marimekko Umpu vase
Pirkko’s family home draws inspiration from the space of art galleries. The cut flowers in Marimekko’s Umpu vase happen to be in the same shades as Linda Linko’s painting. The burl bowl once belonged to Pirkko’s aunt.

Hi, Pirkko! When you walk in, you immediately notice that wood has been used with great skill in your home. Could you tell us about it?
“Wood is one of our favorite materials. My husband is a carpenter by second trade, and we both work in the carpentry industry. Wood provides a gentle contrast to white walls and also improves the acoustics. I don't think I’ll ever get tired of our oak flooring, which is not only durable but also adds a great deal of coziness. This is the third house we have built for ourselves, and we have had a wooden floor in all our homes.

My husband also designed and built the oak batten partition and dining table top downstairs. We like the nature, durability and versatility of wood: the top of a worn-looking dining table can be sanded if necessary.”

A joined dining room and living room area
The downstairs area was originally a single space, but a space divider was needed between the kitchen and the living room. Pirkko’s husband designed and built the batten partition from natural-colored oak.
Made by Choice Kolho dining chair
The level made from Lundia sideboards serves as a display platform for favorite items, but can also be converted into a workstation if required. The Kolho chair is from Made by Choice and is pre-owned. The A910 wall light is from Artek.
Paavo Tynell 9602 floor lamp
The family moved to their current home in summer 2019. During the dark seasons, light is provided by Vitra’s Akari lamp hanging from the heights, and Paavo Tynell’s 9602 floor lamp. Harry Bertoia’s Diamond chair is another pre-owned find.
MENU Plinth marble table
Elements made of natural materials of the same shades but different textures form an installation-like whole. The Plinth marble table is by MENU, the divan by Adea, and the paper-thread braided blanket by Woodnotes.

They say that the bigger the bag, the more you put in it. This may often be the case with homes too. However, you have a lot of empty space in your home – how have you managed it?
“As an esthetician, I definitely recognize this problem. I’m really careful about what I accept into our home. I don’t usually go around inventing needs, and for new purchases I always sleep on it and think about whether the item would be a long-lasting investment. When designing larger interior elements, such as surface material solutions, I collect clippings to help work out my own preferences. After a while I’ll then go back to the clippings and see if I still like the same ideas.

“A well-functioning order can change constantly. I can change the position of objects and furniture very frequently.”

I enjoy the gallery-like spaciousness and empty space, which allows for a wide range of interior designs. I might even change the location of furniture or a single item every week. This is also a great way to change the atmosphere of your home without having to buy anything new. We have three boys, and we wanted this home to have enough space for footballs and toys to whizz around freely.”

MENU Plinth marble table
Pirkko, who works as a marketing manager in the carpentry industry, wants her children to have room to play in their home. The marble tables in the living room can handle all the ball games.
&Tradition Lato table
The rubber fig in the living room is one of Pirkko's latest finds – you can find just about anything pre-owned! The wall lamp is a Lamp de Marseille designed by Le Corbusier, and the Lato table with a marble base is from &Tradition. The grey wool carpets are from Woodnotes.
Kiki bench by Artek
Ilmari Tapiovaara’s Kiki bench was found in an online store for pre-owned design and reupholstered. On top of the Kiki is a striped Annala Fabrics tube cushion.

Rather than having things brimming over, I like the idea that homeliness can emerge from empty space and allow you to indulge in something spontaneous, like ball games. Do you feel that family life has also inspired other interior design decisions in your home?
“Having children, we appreciate quality even more. We buy items that we can repair, service or resell if they no longer work for us. That’s why we have a lot of natural materials in our homes.

We have always liked white walls, but they are also practical as they can easily be repainted. We want to keep the downstairs space open for esthetic reasons, but also to provide space for the children to play. Once the toys are tucked away, the downstairs is a place for us to enjoy the calm.

Upstairs, the children’s rooms are their own space, which they can decorate as they like and put posters on the walls. Children should have a say in their own home. They are usually the first to notice if we have something new in the home!”

Armi Teva Naamat ceramic piece
The wooden surfaces downstairs create a cozy milieu. There’s no need to be afraid of empty space – it can help make even the smallest detail play a big role, like the ceramic face of Armi Teva, which echoes the colors of the staircase.
Fredericia J39 chairs
The dining area, demarcated by a jute mat, is graced by a combination of oak and ash. Translucent curtains provide privacy. The table top was made by Pirkko’s husband, and the J39 chairs are from Borge Mogensen. On the wall is a textile artwork by Sini Villi.

Speaking of new purchases – if one didn’t know, you probably wouldn’t guess that much of your furniture is pre-owned. Can you tell us about your best finds and how you went about making them?
“In our home you can find pre-owned chairs, lamps, blankets, decor items and even potted plants! My favorite finds are Santa & Cole’s Cesta table lamp in our bedroom and Paavo Tynell’s rattan 9602 floor lamp, which is now being manufactured by the Danish company GUBI.

I recommend curated, professional online platforms where the curation is done on behalf of the customer and the condition and authenticity of the items is guaranteed. These are good places to start looking, and you’ll find plenty of good-as-new items. A good tip is to browse only one category at a time, or even just the latest items.

“When I’m looking for something for our home, I usually wait to see if I can find it pre-owned.”

However, there is a lot to choose from, so before you start browsing it’s a good idea to be clear on your preferences and use them as search terms. A simple search for “ceiling light” can result in thousands of hits. Personally, I search by item name or set up a continuous search to avoid constant searching for the same thing. My dream is to find a bright green Flos Snoopy lamp that would also be a work of art in our home.”

Santa & Cole Cesta table lamp
Tero Kuitunen’s yellow ceramic sausage, left lying on a surface in the bedroom, is a fun surprise amidst the classic elements. Santa & Cole’s Cesta lamp is one of Pirkko’s best finds. The painting in the oak frame is by Tiina Kivinen.

What other criteria are important when buying things for your home?
“There must be room for carefree living and the traces it leaves. So the usability of items is really important. Our sofa has removable covering materials and many of our furniture components can be washed, replaced or exchanged.

We bought the red-upholstered chairs for our dining table with a little risk considering our current life situation, but the beautiful separate seat cushions will protect the seat parts for the time being. I think a lot about the resale value of items, and that’s usually a good reason to invest in a timeless design classic.”

A bedroom with an oak batten wall
Wood brings warmth to the upstairs bedroom in the form of an oak batten wall. The cotton bed cover is from Matri.
A wooden bench
The elements that have proven to work for Pirkko’s family – wood and white walls – create a foundation that can be transformed in many ways to suit different life situations.

You have a delightful wealth of art in your home, which stands out when they are sparsely arranged. Unlike many other purchases, when it comes to art, decisions are primarily driven by emotion. Would you say so?
“Yes, absolutely! We have not planned our art purchases or searched for them – the works have found us. For example, I fell in love with Armi Teva’s ceramic face by chance while walking around the city, before I even knew who the artist was.

Sometimes I have gone to the studio of an artist I admire, planning to buy a piece in the neutral palette of our home, but ended up leaving with a bright red piece. That shows how emotional purchases are. For example, the bold use of color or texture often enthralls me. Linda Linko’s painting and Sini Villi’s textile artwork are good examples of this.

I want the artworks to be surrounded by the space they deserve. In this way, you can make even a small artwork play a really big role.”

Made by Choice Kolho dining chair
When the weather permits, the living room expands into the yard. “I’m the one in our family who enjoys being in the yard the most. I watch the nature around me slowly come back to life, and the grass starts to turn green.”

What ways do you have to reinvigorate your mind and your living environment?
“I find myself picking up moods from the nature around our home. In our home, winter nature is reflected in calmer colors, while in spring, when the tulips come out in the garden, I long for colorful details indoors too, for instance in the form of artworks, textiles and rich bouquets of cut flowers.

Many things in our interior design are in a constant state of flux. As the seasons change, I go back to my cupboards and dig out the things that suit the mood of the moment. After having had a short break, they feel like new again. You achieve the same objectivity when you have been away from home for a while. Randomness can often lead to something new and interesting – that’s why it’s a good idea to move things to new places with an open mind, even if you don’t yet know what the end result will be.”

Get inspired

Made by Choice
Kolho chair
Akari 15A pendant
Umpu vase
Ikon shelf
Akademia chair
Nemo Lighting
Lampe de Marseille
Ponte sofa
Lato LN8 table

See also:

More pre-loved design treasures at Franckly >
Follow Pirkko on Instagram >

Text: Jenna Kiuru Images: Jenna Kiuru and Tuomas Pajuniemi

Previous story
Next story

Sign up to Finnish Design Shop’s newsletter and enter a monthly gift card prize draw!

Sign up

For the love of design

Design Stories is Finnish Design Shop's own online magazine, that takes you to beautiful Nordic homes, introduces new products and beloved icons – and much more!

Go to the Design Stories front page

Shop Nordic design

Design Stories is provided by Finnish Design Shop, the world’s largest online store specialized in Nordic design.

Discover our selection

Buy & sell authentic vintage is a curated online marketplace for pre-owned design maintained by Finnish Design Shop.

Find treasures at Franckly