Inside Joanna Laajisto’s home: A showcase of subtle elegance

When a professional oversees the entire project, even the smallest detail is purposeful and meticulously refined. Timeless, soft, yet minimalist and modern – this is the home of interior architect and designer Joanna Laajisto and photographer Mikko Ryhänen in Helsinki’s Töölö district.

Louis Poulsen AJ Floor lamp
Balcony overlooking the quiet courtyard is the crown of the living room. During the surface update of the flat, all mouldings and connecting doors were painted in the same shade of grey. Joanna’s Lumme floor lamp stands in the foreground, the AJ lamp is by Louis Poulsen.

“THIS IS A POSITIVE plumbing renovation story and a prime example of how such a renovation can be handled well”, Joanna Laajisto answers when asked about the recent completed surface renovation of her, spouse Mikko Ryhänen’s and their now teenage daughters home in the Töölö district, Helsinki.

In just over ten years, a lot has happened in the apartment and the lives of its residents. What started as a home for a family with toddlers now accommodates parents and their teenage children, who make use of the storage, cooking, and bathroom spaces.

There was no need to touch Joanna’s previously designed room layout, but it was obvious that the family needed more storage space. Since ecology and recycling are at the core of all Joanna’s spatial design work, same values were also followed in the renovation of her own home. Everything that could be obtained was either stored or recycled.

“In the end we got both extra space and more storage space doing relatively minor changes, for example by moving one interior wall.”

PH 3 1/2 - 3 pendant light
When planning the renovation, it was clear that the spacious vestibule, typical of the building’s era, would be put to practical use. Joanna designed the current dining area in the hall, which has direct access to the kitchen. She also managed to fit in it a utility room.
PH 3 1/2 - 3 pendant, metallised black
Joanna brought the Bertoia chairs from Los Angeles, where she studied and worked as interior designer before moving back to Finland. The PH 3½-3 lamp is by Louis Poulsen.
Wooden, SJL dining table
The SJL dining table, designed for Wooden, can be extended to accommodate up to 10 people.
Roots Living, Wicker rug
The Wicker rug designed by Joanna is part of the Roots Living's collection. The photograph on the wall was taken by Mikko.

SINCE JOANNA AND Mikko knew a long time in advance the housing company’s upcoming plumbing renovation, Joanna’s careful planning work with smooth and close cooperation with the renovation company enabled all the family’s wishes and needs to be fulfilled. For example, storage furniture previously located in the flat’s common areas was recycled into the daughter’s bedrooms, while also new storage furniture was installed. Some of the fixed bookshelves were also demolished. At the same time the bathroom was expanded to give space for one more toilet bowl.

The 100-square-metre flat, which covers four rooms and a kitchen, is located on the fifth floor of the housing building from the late 1920s. Windows facing three different directions make the premises bright all year round. Natural light was a particularly important criterion for Joanna and Mikko when they were looking for a new home more than ten years ago. At the same time, there were also hopes for a balcony and a bathtub.

The home’s surfaces and color scheme were also updated during the plumbing renovation. The end result is serene and cozy.

Even back then, the flat was thoroughly renovated. Now it was time to upgrade not only the bath and toilet facilities, but also the other surfaces of home. For example, Joanna’s custom-made kitchen fixtures were updated with new furniture doors.

“Soft-light cabinet doors, a new floor-to-ceiling tiled rustic wall, a wonderfully warm wooden floor and original mouldings steeled in light grey make the space even cozier than before.”

Joanna Laajisto kitchen
During the building's plumbing renovation, the frames of the kitchen's fixed cabinets, appliances, and the light marble backsplash and countertop were preserved, with only the cabinet doors being replaced. At the same time, the color palette and ambiance were softened.
Fritz Hansen, Dot bar stools
Light marble was also chosen for the countertop in the corner that serves as a quick refueling spot for the family's busy mornings. The Dot bar stools are by Fritz Hansen.
Joanna Laajisto kitchen detail
One of the kitchen walls was tiled throughout with tiles conjuring up an artisanal feel, which are surplus from the interior of Hotel Runo in Porvoo, Finland.
Joanna Laajisto kitchen, detail
The renovation made the home softly more colorful than before.

EVERYTHING ORIGINAL, such as mouldings and connecting doors, was preserved or restored when the family moved in. In the current surface update, they were all painted grey to add a soft edge to the premises. The old fixed bookcase was dismantled to make the dining area more spacious. The floor-to-ceiling and custom-made storage closets were added to the living room. They were painted with the same tone of grey as the mouldings and connecting doors of the home.

“Since we had previously preserved and only painted the original wood floor of the flat, it was possible to install new floor on top the old one. In this way, all pipe drafts could be hidden in the structures under the new plank floor. With such proactive planning the flat does not have a single enclosure or pinch,” Joanna says.

The interior of Joanna and Mikko’s home relies on natural materials. Their furniture is allowed to have a patina as well.

The new parquet floor is a beautiful Punos designed by Joanna for Timberwise. As with Studio Joanna Laajisto’s design, Joanna and Mikko’s home is trusted and relies on natural materials: wood, stone, metal, ceramics, wool, glass and linen. Home furniture can have patina on the one hand and modern functionality on the other.

• Read also: The modern leisure home of Joanna Laajisto and Mikko Ryhänen invites to unwind >

Oluce, Spider table lamp
The master bedroom has a luxuriously large bay window. The Spider lamp is by Oluce. The walnut bench is a vintage find.
New Works, Lantern lamp
The wardrobes in the master bedroom were replaced with new, softly tinted models. The Lantern ceiling lamp is by New Works.
Joanna Laajisto home
The headboard upholstered in light grey bouclé fabric is from Dedar Milano. A touch of cocoa brown on bedding and linen in combination with a metal-trimmed bedside table create a restful ensemble.
Joanna Laajisto home
During the plumbing renovation of the housing building, the flat’s compact and functional bath and toilet facilities were renovated throughout. To the bathroom with window, Joanna chose large elegant tiles from ABL-Laatat.

JOANNA LAAJISTO IS known as a designer who masters the use of softly extinguished colors. Even in her own home with its light atmosphere, the rare color spots are subdued and folded: cocoa brown on the bedding, a touch of blue on the flower vase or a signal green lamp on the bookcase. The interior is also characterized by the graceful and graphic lightning fixtures, often laced in black.

“The balance of the whole is created by many things, for example, the fact that the ceiling color of the premises is darker than the shade of the walls. At the time of renovation, I was also designing a color palette for Milieu. So I was able to try the shades right at my own home. I ended up with a greenish Elusive Green on the ceiling and Afternoon White on the walls. For me balance means not only material choices, but also the composition of things and, for example, lighting. The space must feel good, while being practical and looking beautiful,” Joanna says.

Shop the style

Studio Joanna Laajisto
Lumme lamp
Klaus Haapaniemi
Crane cushion
Fritz Hansen
Dot bar stool
SEES Company
Liquid soap
Roots Living
Wicker rug
SJL table
Spider table lamp
Louis Poulsen
PH 3½-3 lamp

See also:

Joanna Laajisto’s designs >
Asun Homes vol. 6 bookazine >

Text: Jaana Sarkki Images: Mikko Ryhänen

Featured products may not be available worldwide. This story was originally published in the Asun magazine’s issue 5/2023.

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