Harmony and balance – Johanna Gullichsen’s home is decorated with confident taste

Known for her timeless home textiles, Johanna Gullichsen’s home reflects its resident’s style. The uncomplicated and personal outcome is, however, the result of numerous sketches and long discussions. Take a peek inside with us!

Doris cushion cover, black
The south-facing big living room is flooded with light. On the Artek sofa there’s a mixture of cushions and a blanket by Johanna’s own company. The bookshelves in the background were previously used in the Artek showroom.

HOME IS A STATE of mind, a place for all the beautiful objects that Johanna Gullichsen has felt drawn to and taken home from different parts of the world. Modern design classics, art, books and different cultures have always been combined in Johanna Gullichsen’s homes. Also colors, harmony and balance – hunger for beauty – could be added to the list of important things.

Gullichsen started her career working with handwoven textiles. The company that carries the name of its founder is known for its woven textiles that combine traditions and modern design. The charming stores are located in Helsinki, and the majority of the products are exported.

A picture of a living room interior
The honey coloured silk rug is part of a collection made in collaboration with Kristiina Lassus.
Vitra Akari 3X table lamp
The long Aalto bench circled in relatives’ homes and finally ended up here. Johanna reupholstered the old mattress as an upholstery course project using bast fibre fabric. The bench divides the big space into living and working areas.
Alvar Aalto protype table lamp
In front of the living room bay window there’s a small table with chairs found on the street in Paris. The light on the window sill is an Alvar Aalto prototype.
Doris cushion cover, black
The table and stool are heirloom treasures, the floor lamp is assembled from a flea market find and a beautiful paper bag. In the background, the kitchen is visible. The Doris cushion cover is Gullichsen's own production.

“Working by hand using simple tools is very similar in every culture and, therefore, the end results resemble each other, whether we’re in Finland, Japan or South America. Making things by hand connects people on different sides of the world. It’s like a common language,” says Johanna Gullichsen.

Aesthetics is another main thing that connects people. Kindred spirits have the same interests, both at work, in their hobbies, and in their homes.

Johanna Gullichsen portrait
Johanna Gullichsen sits on top of the cabinet unit constructed in front of the hall window, which conceals the luggage of the frequently traveling resident.
Artek dining table
The kitchen dining set is on loan from a sister. The blue rug placed in front of the kitchen cabinets echoes the color of the backsplash.
Aalto pendant A440
The delicately gray kitchen cabinetry is enlivened by an open shelf and a blue backsplash. Behind the wooden sliding door is storage space for kitchen appliances. Johanna collects beautiful dishes from her travels. The A440 pendant light is from Artek.

Gullichsen's current home is located in the Eira district in Helsinki. She lived in it and explored the space before renovating.

“I lived in my new apartment for a while before the renovation started. I got familiar with the space, the way light moves in it and the characteristics of the apartment. I pondered on how to use the space, especially in the kitchen, in the bathroom and in the walk-in closet. I wanted the home to look like me and to have it modernized,” she says.

Even if the homeowner had relatively clear visions and aspirations, she hired interior architect Kari Lappalainen for help. The materials, the division of the space and the minimal and sophisticated details were defined in collaboration with studio Lappalainen. Kari Lappalainen made various studies of the bathroom, clothing maintenance and storage solutions. He was able to turn these necessary functions into an aesthetical and well-integrated part of the home.

Strong blue color is repeated in both textiles and the kitchen.

The meandering bathroom now has compartments for bathing and for laundry. The space leads directly into a beautifully finished walk-in closet or rather dressing room that opens into the bedroom. The sliding doors that divide the beautiful and practical spaces are often left open to add to the feel of spaciousness.

Both the homeowner and the interior architect wanted to respect the characteristic features of the old building but without shackling the remodelling. Only the front door leading to the staircase is an old one. Beautiful, simple sliding oak doors give rhythm and divide the spaces of the home. Soft white, larch floorings and the oak used in doors and cupboards are completed with light grey in the kitchen and with intense blue, a colour that is important for the homeowner. The home is timeless and bold.

An entry hall and a sisal rug
The entry to the apartment is through an impressive entry hall. The floor is covered with a sisal rug that picks up the colour of the wooden floors. Behind the sliding door there’s the bedroom and behind the closed door, the bathroom. The artwork in the foreground is by Hannu Väisänen.
An image of a wooden bed with a colorful bedspread
The bed and the Papillon Y fabric used for the bedspread were designed by Johanna. The Matisse artwork is in dialogue with the interior.
Bedroom windows and an origami lamp shade
The window wall in the bedroom has a beautiful structure. The carelessly hanging Lisa Corti curtain filters the light. The folded origami paper lamp is homemade.
An image of a bedroom and a dressing room
The sliding door encloses the dressing room as its own space. The indigo batik was brought from Japan; the classic modern wicker chair was the resident's first furniture purchase for the new home.
Dressing room with fixed cabinets
The dressing room connected to the bedroom has been executed with as much care and attention to detail as the other spaces in the home.
Piazzetta bath towel, linen
The bathroom fixtures were custom-made according to Kari Lappalainen's designs. In the foreground are the Piazzetta bath towels from Johanna Gullichsen's Pure series.

THE MAIN LINES of the interior create a classic and calm background for living. This home is not about teeny-weeny things. During the renovation even the smallest details were finished with precision. Once they have been done with care and delicacy you can forget them, but without them the interior wouldn’t be the same. Life and the layers created over time will make the minimalist space richer.

The furniture has been collected little by little and changes are made continuously. The homeowner and her sisters often swap pieces of furniture. The kitchen table and the chairs are borrowed from one sister. The bed was made according to Johanna’s own design and some exciting things have been found at flea markets or even on the street. Some pieces of furniture have been inherited, several from Johanna Gullichsen’s grandmother, Maire Gullichsen, that founded Artek. The love for art and beauty runs in the family.

Shop the style

Johanna Gullichsen
Doris cushion
Louis Poulsen
PH 5 Mini lamp
Johanna Gullichsen
Helios cosmetics bag
Stool 60
Johanna Gullichsen
Nereus cushion
Akari 3X lamp
Johanna Gullichsen
Piazzetta hand towel
Dining table 90A

See also:

All designs by Johanna Gullichsen >
Asun Homes vol. 6 bookazine >

Text: Ulla Koskinen Images: Sameli Rantanen

Featured products may not be available worldwide. This story was originally published in the Asun magazine’s issue 6.

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