Two-bedroom apartment spiced with pink in Helsinki

A 60-sqm, two-bedroom apartment in Käpylä, Helsinki, was converted nicely for five, when the father who got enthusiastic about interior decoration came up with some creative solutions.

Two-bedroom apartment spiced with pink in Helsinki
Seela and Katri like pink. The poster that suits the color scheme is from Amsterdam. The tiled wall with gray joint filler is a trendy combination with the Tikkurila X337 Peony.


Event producer Katri Hyvärinen ja sound engineer Tomi Rajala and Iiris, 12, Seela, 10, ja Hermanni, 5. The family’s two-bedroom apartment is situated in an apartment block in Käpylä, Helsinki, designed in 1939 by architect Hilding Ekelund. The floorspace of the apartment is 60.5 m².

Two-bedroom apartment spiced with pink in Helsinki
Tomi’s extensive vinyl record collection is in modular shelves. The Siro table lamp is by Himmee.

TOMI RAJALA LEARNED a lot about interior decoration as he worked as the sound engineer for the Huvila & Huussi interior decoration TV program.

“I realized that the residents’ attention was always first drawn to a bold detail or color,” says Tomi.

In their home in Käpylä, the eye-catching elements are the wallpaper with green flowers in the living room and the pink wall in the kitchen. The light rose-colored wall in place of the lively wallpaper was beginning to feel too bland to Tomi, especially as the sofa was in the same color palette. As Tomi was wavering between color alternatives, the answer came to him in an Amsterdam art museum.

“The Van Gogh Museum is our favorite. Inspired by the paintings, Tomi started to consider wallpapers and found some fine Van Gogh ones in the hardware store. I made the final choice,” says Katri Hyvärinen.

Two-bedroom apartment spiced with pink in Helsinki
The view from the windows shows birches and a school. The streamlined sofa is by Oot-Oot Studio. The brass-based floor lamp is a vintage piece.
Two-bedroom apartment spiced with pink in Helsinki
The wallpaper collection based on details by Van Gogh paintings inspired the couple to cover the wall with the floral painting of their favorite artist.
Two-bedroom apartment spiced with pink in Helsinki
The family dine in the living room. The Artek HK012 table is surrounded by birch benches. The polished copper pendant is vintage, and so is the patinated piano. The painting is by Elina Kral. The end of the alcove has been built with handy sliding door cupboards.

The family moved to the village-like Käpylä from Alppiharju a decade ago when there were only three of them. This green part of the city is known for its 1920s wooden houses and the apartment buildings built in the late 1930s. There are very few two-bedroom apartments in Käpylä for families with children, and they are sold ‘through the grapevine’, so to speak.

“I was in the park with our firstborn, when I heard from a friend that a two-bedroom apartment in good condition was becoming available in Käpylä. We got lucky and managed to get this place,” says Katri.

Two-bedroom apartment spiced with pink in Helsinki
The narrow counter was placed near the window, because the front of the radiator had to be left empty. Tomi painted the wooden stools with Tikkurila K319 Flamingo tone. The oak parquet is by Meister. The home renovation was carried out by Runtu Works.
Two-bedroom apartment spiced with pink in Helsinki
The brass pulls fit perfectly together with the kitchen's color palette. The classic 6-cup coffee maker is by Chemex.

As the family grew, the equation of three children and two bedrooms had to be solved by dividing the space differently as the children grew. The firstborn, Iiris, wanted to have a room of her own. Fortunately, Tomi is a deft hand at spatial planning. In his first conversion plan, the kitchen would became part of the living room, with the kitchen becoming a room for the youngest two.

“Transferring the kitchen was so challenging both technically and financially that we abandoned the idea.

Then Tomi had the idea that the bedroom next to the kitchen could be divided into two with a partition. Iiris got her own room, and the parents got an alcove wide enough for their double bed. The end wall of the living room was opened to put in a double door.

“We have the same tone in pretty much every room. It’s kind of the decoration theme that runs throughout the apartment.”

“I’m good at coming up with ideas, but when it comes to the actual work, I thought it wisest to let the professionals take over,” says Tomi. The kitchen was fully renovated, too, giving Tomi good reason to get rid of the top cupboards. They were the first things he got rid of also in their previous kitchen.

“We’ve had a fair amount of discussions about top cupboards. Katri sees the practical side of things. She’s the more sensible one,” admits Tomi. Despite their differences of vision, Katri likes her husband’s interior design ideas, such as the wall, half covered in tiles and half painted pink.

“We have the same tone in pretty much every room. It’s kind of the decoration theme that runs throughout the apartment,” says Tomi with a laughter.

Two-bedroom apartment spiced with pink in Helsinki
The walls in Hermanni and Seela’s room are painted with Tikkurila X337 Peony. The bunk bed is by Ava Room.
Two-bedroom apartment spiced with pink in Helsinki
The stall bars and rings are by Suomen voimistelutuote.

He’s into interior decoration, reading domestic magazines and following things on Instagram. Hunting for interior decoration ideas comes and goes. He gets keyed up when there’s a need to change something in their home.

“At the moment I’m interested in paneling. I was given permission to put finger panels on the alcove wall. When I get a vision, I have to try it out.”

The home of a family with children must withstand the effects of playing. We have a pair of gymnastic rings in the living room and stall bars for climbing. Katri and Tomi like clear interior decoration and a feeling of space. The children must have room to play in.

Two-bedroom apartment spiced with pink in Helsinki
The alcove wall has tinted finger paneling. Poster by Roy Lichtenstein. Handy storage boxes under the double bed.
Two-bedroom apartment spiced with pink in Helsinki
The apartment buildings built for the 1940 Olympics were released for residential use as the Olympics were canceled because of the war.

Tomi and Katri have bought both new and second-hand furniture. Their latest acquisition is a small sofa, replacing the 1970s faux leather sofa, from Tomi’s grandmother, re-upholstered with a turquoise wool fabric. “We got a feeling that our home needs a fresher sofa,” says Tomi.

From the living room balcony, you can see the school yard. The decibels rise quite a lot during breaks. “I’ve been working from home for 12 months, and I love to listen to the children out there. I can meet my children during breaks,” says Katri.

According to Tomi and Kati, the sense of community is the best things in their neighborhood. The children play with their friends in the yards and families meet around the common barbecue area.

Get inspired

Arbour Eco sofa
L-1 desk lamp
The Wrong Shop
Drawing 7 poster
Classic coffee maker
Compose sofa
Dot Soft cushion
Gymnastics rings
Botanical Family pot

Text: Anna Aromaa Photos: Antti Rintala

The story was first published in Avotakka's issue 6/2021.

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