Pekka Jylhä’s 1960s home was decorated gradually to reflect the building’s architecture

Sculptor Pekka Jylhä thinks that his home is at its best in the afternoon when the sun shines in at the right angle. He approaches home decoration the same way as artistic work. Take a home tour with Design Stories!

Artek  Aalto day bed 710
The material of the oak wall in the living room is by Wooden. The sofa is Artek’s day bed 710, the Akari 10A floor lamp is from Vitra.

CALM AFTERNOON LIGHT shines in through the large wall-to-wall windows, reaching a piece made of enormous crystal balls, hung behind the dining table, and playfully casting the colors of the rainbow on the living-room ceiling.

Sculptor Pekka Jylhä thinks that his home is at its best in the afternoon when the sun shines in at the right angle. It is easy to share his opinion, although the balanced interior of his home is also sure to look beautiful at other times of the day.

Pekka Jylhä sitting in his living room
Pekka Jylhä in his living room. Red roses are a link to Jylhä’s piece Vita Nuova, a cast bronze vase and red roses on a majestic scale. The piece can be admired on the yard of the New Children’s Hospital in Helsinki, Finland.

Whether decorating his home or creating a piece of art, Pekka often concentrates on getting a feeling of the space.

“In sculpture, I’ve always been interested in finding the right solution for each space. When I decorate my home, I reflect on the materials and nature of the space, and I also use the same approach when creating art for a specific environment,” describes Pekka.

“When I decorate my home, I reflect on the materials and nature of the space.”

The interior of his home has been shaped gradually over the years to reflect the building’s architecture.

“We moved to this apartment in a 1960s terraced house about ten years ago. During the first year, we didn’t renovate or buy anything new, because we wanted to let the building tell us what goes best here,” says Pekka.

Artek  Siena cotton fabric, 150 x 300 cm, white - black
The enviably impressive porcelain flower climbs all the way up to the living-room ceiling. Pekka traded one of his own creations to get Jussi Heikkilä’s piece Kaksi puuta, made of olive wood. The Siena curtains are from Artek.
A living room in a 1960s apartment
The two-story apartment with about 160 square meters is located at the end of a terraced house that was completed in 1964. The architect who designed the building, Bror Söderman, lived at the other end of the building after its completion.
Artek 444 armchair
The Artek 444 armchair was designed by Ben af Schultén in 1967.

It seems that the building has stated its opinion clearly and that it has been listened to attentively. The new wooden surfaces, such as the oak wall in the living room, blend seamlessly with the original materials, and the proportions of the furniture and the selected textiles are a perfect match with the 1960s architecture.

“The amount of wood in our home has increased slowly but surely. We chose oak, because it goes well with the building’s architecture and its tone and grain patterns appeal to me. I’ve never made art using wood, but living with wood is good for you. Wood is a warm, living material, and touching it feels therapeutic,” sums up Pekka.

The proportions of the furniture and the selected textiles are a perfect match with the 1960s architecture.

Living close to nature is important to Pekka, and it also has a great impact on his art. His small yet jungle-like and lush yard gives him joy every day.

“I often take a nap outdoors and listen to the rustling of the leaves. I grew up in the country, and I couldn’t even imagine living in a city, surrounded by all that concrete and without the sound of trees,” describes Pekka.

Nikari Arkitecture dining table
The apartment was renovated to reflect the building’s architecture. The floor is original. Nikari’s Arkitecture dining table is surrounded by white Bertoia chairs by Knoll. The Seinän rukous crystal piece hung on the wall is made by Pekka.
An oak kitchen drawers.
The oak kitchen is custom made by the Finnish brand Saari.
Pekka Jylhä reading a book on his terrace.
Large windows bring the nature indoors. The small yet lush yard gives the family joy every day.
Madagascar jewel house plant
Each room is brimming with healthy house plants. The Madagascar jewel thrives in the bright apartment.

During his walks on the beach, Pekka has made great finds, such as tree trunks patinated by the sea, which he has placed downstairs to serve as columnar coat racks.

“The 1960s architecture provides a great setting for many kinds of things, including house plants that, as living organisms, give the space a distinctive feel while purifying the air. My wife Sanna takes care of our plants and all I have to do is enjoy them,” says Pekka.

A driftwood used as a coat rack indoors
The driftwood, faded by the sun and sea water, is a perfect match with the minimalist 1960s architecture and makes the space look cozier.
Artek  Aalto high chair K65, birch
“I’ve always tried to avoid buying items on an impulse, as they are typically things that you quickly lose interest in,” says Pekka Jylhä. The chair K65 is from Artek.

When buying new furniture, Pekka and Sanna want to make choices that stand the test of time.

“We’ve had the Nikari dining table and the chairs for twenty years, and they are as old as our youngest child, Ilmari. Furniture made of wood can be repaired if it breaks, which is also good for the environment. We make many of the choices concerning our home intuitively but carefully. I’ve always tried to avoid buying items on an impulse, as they are typically things that you quickly lose interest in. When you invest in quality, you often have to save money, which gives you time to think whether the item is something you can live with for a long time,” says Pekka.

“We spend a lot of time at home, and its importance keeps growing, which is why it is essential for us to make it a place where we feel good.”

Get inspired

Artek
444 armchair
Johanna Gullichsen
Doris cushion cover
Artek
A810 floor lamp
Elementa
Klorofyll 150 pot
Artek
Aalto day bed 710
Artek
Siena cotton fabric
Vitra
Akari 10A floor lamp
Nikari
Arkitecture trestle legs

Text: Selina Vienola Images: Unto Rautio

This story was originally published in the Asun magazine’s issue 20.

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