A Helsinki home celebrating patterns and play

In the home of textile designer Eri Shimatsuka and architect Jussi Kalliopuska, Finnish architecture meets Japanese aesthetics, joy and playfulness.

Eri Shimatsuka and Jussi Kalliopuska's Helsinki home
Eri and Jussi only want to decorate their home with furniture that they want to use for a long time. The Danish vintage sofa is a find they made in Helsinki Secondhand. The shade of the iconic Akari lamp is made of washi paper, and it filters light beautifully.

Residents:

Textile artist Eri Shimatsuka, architect Jussi Kalliopuska, and daughter Aila. Their home is in an apartment building in Herttoniemi, Helsinki.

Jussi Kalliopuska, Aila and Eri Shimatsuka
The home of textile designer Eri Shimatsuka, architect Jussi Kalliopuska and their daughter Aila has enough space for play.

JAPANESE ERI IS a textile designer and Finnish Jussi is an architect, and they both have contributed to creating a beautiful home for their family. The fixed wooden furniture designed by Jussi provides a framework for the interior. It gives the space structure and character and makes you think of Japanese wood architecture.

“I have always liked both modern and traditional Japanese architecture. When we moved here, we wanted to give the space a nice flow and decided to dismantle all intermediate walls. To replace them, I designed light-colored wooden shelving structures that divide the space into smaller areas with different functions. When I was planning how to divide the space, I read many Japanese architecture and design magazines that gave me several ideas. Those magazines inspired me, for example, to use light-colored wood, create soft shapes and provide the space with a clear structure,” reflects Jussi.

Eri Shimatsuka and Jussi Kalliopuska's Helsinki home
Finnish, Mäntsälä-based Taitopuu manufactured the fixed wooden furniture according to Jussi’s drawings. The shelves do not extend all the way to the ceiling, so that light can flow freely from one space to another. Finarte’s Terttu rug and cushions were designed by Eri.
Eri Shimatsuka and Jussi Kalliopuska's Helsinki home
The bookshelves also have room for keepsakes and decorative objects. The blue and white Church Bell is the work of COMPANY.
Eri Shimatsuka and Jussi Kalliopuska's Helsinki home
Eri designs textiles for both Finnish and Japanese companies. She also makes her own textile collections that she sells directly to consumers.
Eri Shimatsuka and Jussi Kalliopuska's Helsinki home
Eri and Jussi enjoy good food and cook every day. That’s why they put special effort into designing a functional kitchen for themselves. Arabia’s vintage GA teapot is by Ulla Procopé. The bouquet is from Pellonreunan Puutarha, a garden specializing in cut flowers that is owned by Eri’s friend.
Eri Shimatsuka and Jussi Kalliopuska's Helsinki home
Jussi grew up in Rovaniemi, Finland, in a terraced house designed by Alvar Aalto, and he became a fan of the work of Alvar and Aino Aalto already as a child. There are more Artek chairs and tables in the storeroom, and they are brought home whenever necessary. The Lucia candleholder is from Artek.

The wooden surfaces make the space feel cozy and calm, which is just what the couple was looking for. The surfaces also bring a touch of nature into their home.

“Nature has always inspired my work, but during the pandemic, nature and the time spent in nature have become even more important. Nowadays, it’s so important for me to also have natural elements at home,” describes Eri.

Eri’s textiles feature plant motifs and various natural shapes, and she often plays with the subtle juxtaposition of complementary colors. Self-designed textiles also add a splash of color to the interior of her own home.

“Interesting color combinations add depth to the interior and help create the desired atmosphere.”

“Colors are really important to me. They affect my mood, and I need them around me. Especially in the fall and winter, when it’s dark outside, colors can feel therapeutic. Interesting color combinations add depth to the interior and help create the desired atmosphere.”

In Eri and Jussi’s home, textiles are changed according to the seasons. In winter and autumn, a warm color scheme creates the desired coziness, and in spring and summer, bright, cool tones give the home a fresh look. The Japanese take on patterns is reflected in the way Eri mixes different motifs. The casual yet sophisticated approach has given the space a visually interesting and harmonious look.

Eri Shimatsuka and Jussi Kalliopuska's Helsinki home
The Pikku Metsä pattern in the blue curtain is by Eri, and the colourful Onni duvet covers were designed by Fujiwo Ishimoto for Marimekko in 1975.
Eri Shimatsuka and Jussi Kalliopuska's Helsinki home
The multi-purpose piece of furniture made by their Japanese carpenter friend, Yoshimasa Yamada, moved with the family from their previous home. It serves as a bed, sofa, table and a chest of drawers.
Eri Shimatsuka and Jussi Kalliopuska's Helsinki home
On the other side of the living room’s bookshelves is storage space and a compact desk for work and crafts.
Eri Shimatsuka and Jussi Kalliopuska's Helsinki home
The fixed wooden furniture gives the space structure and provides a framework for the interior. The veneered birch cabinet separates the sleeping area from the kitchen.

“Although we want to surround ourselves with peace and tranquility, we don’t want our home to look too serious. Our home is the place where we can unwind and be ourselves. The most important thing is that we like it here and that this is a cozy nest for us all,” summarizes Jussi.

“Although we want to surround ourselves with peace and tranquility, we don’t want our home to look too serious.”

That’s why Eri and Jussi also thought much about the comfort of their daughter Aila when planning how to divide the space and what functions should be included in the designs. They wanted Aila to be able to run around in the house, through the bedroom and hallway to the living room. Thus, their child’s running route became one of the criteria for good living in addition to beauty and functionality.

Get inspired

Finarte
Terttu cushion cover
Vitra
Zoo Timers wall clock
Artek
Aalto chair 69
Vitra
Akari 55A pendant
Finarte
Terttu rug
Artek
Lucia candleholder
Artek
Aalto table 80A
Gestalten
Handmade in Japan book

See also:

Products designed by Eri Shimatsuka >

Text: Selina Vienola Photos: Paavo Lehtonen

This story was first published in Asun magazine's issue 32.

Previous story
Next story