Nothing extra – the interior design of this home started with a clean slate

When Johanna and Tomi sold their detached house, the buyers also wanted to buy their furniture. Why not, they said, and started from a clean slate when decorating their new home for two.

Asplund  Palais Royal dining table, 130 cm, white stained oak
The dining area in the kitchen has an Asplund Palais Riyal table, an Astep Model 2065 pendant lamp and chairs from Bolia.


Interior designer Johanna Taskula and Tomi Taskula, who works in the construction industry. Their home is a two-bedroom apartment in an apartment building from the early 20th century in Eira, Helsinki. The floorspace of the apartment is 106 m².

Johanna Taskula
Johanna Taskula has decorated her home with light tones. For her customers, she has also designed grand spaces with powerful colors.

WHAT A VIEW! The living room window overlooks a park, and beyond it the seaside boulevard and the sea. However, this was not the main reason why Johanna and Tomi Taskula gave up their large detached house they had built in Kirkkonummi to live in an old apartment building in central Helsinki.

“We had built a total of three detached houses and once all the children had reached adulthood, we began to wonder how we’d like to live next. My husband had the added benefit of getting back to his childhood neighborhood, as that’s the part where he used to play when he was a few years old,” says Johanna.

The couple also left behind almost all furniture and the interior decoration textiles. The new owners wanted to buy it all, and Johanna and Tomi said yes without thinking much about it. All they took was an oriental mirror, which is now in their hall.

A wooden cupboard by Bolia
Previously, the Taskulas did not have much art on their walls. For this home, Johanna and Tomi searched for items that would fascinate them for a longer time. The painting in the kitchen is by Carolina Grunér. The kitchen cupboard is by Bolia.
Nemo Lighting  Lampe de Marseille Mini wall lamp, white
The kitchen’s old cabinets were still usable, which saved both time and money. The Lampe de Marseille Mini by Nemo Lighting can be used for work, as a spotlight and to create atmosphere.
MENU  Afteroom bar chair, black
A breakfast table at the kitchen window was custom made during the renovation. The stone counter is by Edelstein. The upholstered Afteroom bar chairs are by MENU.

BUT CHANGE DID NOT happen overnight. Even finding their new home was a stroke of luck, because the apartment was not on public sale. A friend of theirs knew they were looking for a new home and told them about an apartment that had not been lived in for years. So Johanna started thinking what two socially active adults really needed and what kind of an interior decoration style would fit a century-old house.

The apartment’s style, with the veneered flush doors and floor materials did not quite appeal to her. The floors, in particular, were a mixed lot of parquet, laminate and plastic. The kitchen, too, like in many old city apartments, was very small in the furthest corner.

Now part of the kitchen is in its original place, with an expansion into what used to be a bedroom. More than an extra bedroom, Johanna and Tomi needed room for a dining table and a lounge. The change was a major one, and yet they were able to keep the cupboard frames. Only the doors are new.

“I had a round bar table made next to the window, where it’s nice to sit down for a cup of coffee in the morning.”

“There were so many angles in the space that it was difficult to fit in everything. Should we have a kitchen peninsula? Or an island? I went through many alternatives, until the pieces fell into place and I placed cupboards on three walls but at a convenient distance from each other. Instead of going for an island that would have made things cramped, I had a round bar table made next to the window, where it’s nice to sit down for a cup of coffee in the morning.”

Other “basic improvements” included the construction of a sauna and a dressing room. The necessary space for a sauna for two was obtained by making the bathroom smaller, while the room for the dressing room was obtained by making one of the bedrooms smaller. This smaller bedroom now doubles as a TV room and guest room.

GUBI  Gravity table lamp, large, grey marble
Natural forms and materials like stone, gas and gypsum dominate the home’s style palette. The Gravity table lamp with a marble base is by GUBI.
&Tradition  Little Petra lounge chair and pouf, Sahara sheepskin - walnut
An eye-catching artwork in the living room is ‘Coastline’ by Niina Kratz. The Arum floor lamp is by ferm LIVING, the Epic coffee table by GUBI, and the Little Petra lounge chair and pouf by &Tradition. The carpet is from Maricken.
&Tradition  Palette JH9 desk, black
There is room in the bedroom for a very delicate table that doubles as a work and dressing table.
GUBI  F.A. 33 mirror, 54 x 80 cm, black brass
The Palette JH9 desk is by &Tradition and the small chair by MENU. The classic F.A. 33 mirror was designed by Gio Ponti and manufactured by GUBI.

THE UNDERLYING THEME was in the apartment’s fittings. Timeless materials affect the feeling. In line with classical architecture, Johanna replaced the intermediate doors that did not fit the period the house was built with mirror doors tailor-made by a carpenter. She also had made plaster skirting boards and cornices. The cornices in the living room and bedroom have been designed with indirect light in mind. A similar solution has been created in the kitchen with a dropped ceiling. The indirect lighting is supplemented by spotlights.

Timeless materials affect the feeling.

For the sake of consistency, they put in the same oak parquet in every room. It is laid at 45-degree angles both left and right, creating a succession of V-patterns.

GUBI  TS coffee table, 40 cm, black - black marble
The source for the gentle coloring in the bedroom is a painting by Jeaninne Karlsson. The painting is also the right size considering the cornices. The TS table next to the bed is from GUBI.
GUBI  IOI wall mirror, 80 cm
For the bathroom, Johanna designed a solid-wood wash basin cabinet, built by carpenter Juhan Mikone. The faucet is by Vola and the large IOI mirror by GUBI.
Black Tapwell shower and a sauna
The renovation included adding a sauna into the apartment. The shower is by Tapwell. All pipes are hidden discreetly in the structures.

The color palette glides from one room, piece of furniture and textile to the next is soft and hazy fashion, which Johanna says creates a soothing effect.

“Neutral tones also make our home airy. This time I even had the courage to buy a white sofa. As we have carefully chosen every piece of furniture to fit in with the rest, we have nothing extra here. This is all the stuff we will ever need.”

Friends of the Taskulas know that they always have some project in the pipeline. When they’re finished with one, they always start another one.

“No, we are just going to take our time to enjoy this. Fortunately we get our fair share of renovation and construction in our day jobs,” says Johanna and switches on her computer. She shows photos of a kitchen she has designed for her customers. There is no white at all, but plenty of rustic brown, green, black, and copper.

Get inspired

Palais Royal table
F.A. 33 mirror
Little Petra lounge chair
Model 2065 pendant
Afteroom bar chair
Gravity table lamp
Palette JH9 desk
Nemo Lighting
Lampe de Marseille Mini

See also:

New arrivals at Finnish Design Shop >

Text: Kari-Otso Nevaluoma Images: Esa Kapila

The story was previously published in Avotakka magazine 9/2022.

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