The lively home of interior architect Weera Brown and her family is sure to make an impression. The insightful use of colors, playful details, and objects with interesting designs are all signs of a strong vision.
Interior designer Weera Brown, crematorium worker Marko Brown and their son Havu, 3. The home is located in Itä-Pakila, Helsinki, in a low-rise apartment building completed in 1963. There are three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a balcony. The floor space of the apartment is 80 m2.
TO INTERIOR ARCHITECT WEERA BROWN, the idea of finishing the interior of the whole home at once is utterly impossible. In her work as a designer of public spaces, she is, of course, accustomed to managing projects within the given limits. However, in her private life, within her own walls, she has the license to let loose, have fun, and dream.
Weera and her family live in Itä-Pakila, Helsinki, on the first floor of a low-rise apartment building completed in the 1960s. The lush yard, sense of community, and relaxed atmosphere immediately made an impression on Weera and Marko. “The architecture of the era has this charming down-to-earth quality about it. The floorplans are functional, and the apartments get plenty of natural light,” says Weera.
Before the family could move into the new home, the apartment underwent a comprehensive renovation in early 2020. A new kitchen was built on the other side of the apartment, the electrical connections were modernized, and the flooring was replaced. The walls of one bedroom were dismantled, which reduced the number of rooms, but significantly increased the amount of open space.
“That wasn’t necessarily a sensible solution, as it may affect the future appeal of the apartment on the housing market. However, we make the decisions concerning our home in the moment and concentrate on our own needs and desires. We prefer the loft-like feel of the apartment to a labyrinthine floorplan,” Weera says.
Ingenuity, playfulness, and Weera’s impeccable eye for color are visible in everything in the home, from the pink kitchen to the art and flea-market finds. Weera describes her interior design style as rather radical compared to the typical Nordic taste.
“In my childhood home, I decorated my room in my own style: the walls were bright pink with white polka dots, and the ceiling was a blue sky with clouds. I liked furry, inflatable furniture and admired the art of Katja Tukiainen from an early age,” says Weera.
In addition to the bold use of colors, another habit adopted in her teenage years is still strongly reflected in Weera’s interior design philosophy: many of the objects in the home have been bought second-hand. “I might browse the selection of online flea markets on a daily basis just to relax. Old furniture often features clever solutions.”
“Old furniture often features clever solutions.”
If an interior item is to be bought new, it must be somehow special. A good example of this is Ligne Roset’s luxuriously soft Ploum sofa from Skanno. Weera had been dreaming of it for a long time and finally also got Marko excited about the long-term investment. “The sofa has a curious shape, but it’s really comfortable and soft. In furniture, I find these kinds of unusual things appealing,” says Weera.
According to Weera, Marko also has an open mind about her more peculiar interior design ideas. He has only objected strongly to one item, a 1990s coffee table with wheels that Weera had found at a flea market. In the end, however, that too found its place in their home. The item that Marko holds most dear is the modular shelving system in the living room, housing his extensive vinyl collection. As long as that is left as is, Weera can make all the experiments she wants.
“I enjoy playing with colors, making arrangements, and investing in cheerful details. It provides a nice change to my work as an interior architect, in which I have to play it safe, make compromises and often design rather minimalist spaces,” says Weera.
Weera draws inspiration from nature and all the life happening around her. Her work immerses her in colors, patterns, contrasts, and various materials. “I decorate my home intuitively. If I see a nice product in a store or at a flea market, I may buy it on a whim. Our home is full of impulse purchases.”
“I enjoy playing with colors, making arrangements, and investing in cheerful details.”
Ever since she was a child, pink has been one of Weera’s favorite colors. In this home, pink is featured exceptionally prominently. “Since the kitchen is connected to the living room, I thought about its color very carefully. I ended up choosing a pink tinted with gray because I knew that it would go well with the rest of the interior.”
The kitchen, which is located at the end of the lounge area, is like a gem that matches the rest of the home perfectly. “Pink is a great choice to go with dark colors, such as blue, brown, and gray,” points out Weera. There is more of pink to come when it is time to renovate the bathroom. Pink microcement has already been selected for the walls of the wet room. For contrast, the floor will be dark blue.
The most important thing for the family is to make the home a place that is full of life. Having the courage to do things differently results in a home that is both practical and enjoyable to live in. A home that is full of wonderful objects and colors.
The safe and active community that has the feel of a small village is an added bonus. “I love the idea of this place giving Havu strong memories that he’ll cherish for the rest of his life. Later when he’s an adult, even the smallest of details may remind him of a good everyday moment in his childhood.”
Text: Maria Rautio Images: Pauliina Salonen
The story was previously published in Avotakka magazine 3/2022.