Iida Lappalainen, the founder of vintage store Curated and an expert in sustainable clothing, lives in Helsinki with her boyfriend Antti and dog Kaapo. Iida’s new home made her realize that the way she decorates her home has something in common with the way she dresses: carefully selected pre-owned treasures and colorful patterns.
Hi, Iida! I just have to ask about the rather unique way that you have used colors in your home. Could you tell us what made you choose these colors and what kind of a process led to this result?
“When I set up the showroom for my vintage store, I made it completely green, including the walls, after finding a green sofa and armchair at an online flea market. The light lime green look at work gave me a tremendous amount of energy every day and, inspired by that feeling, I told my boyfriend Antti that our next home won’t be white.
I had put together a Pinterest board, and some of the pictures featured rooms with many colors, also on the ceiling. We chose the colors together based on our favorites. Choosing the colors from hundreds of tones was difficult, and surprisingly enough the most difficult color to choose was the beige tone for the kitchen that we thought about long and hard. Now I see that the colors we chose for the walls of our home are also colors that I could choose for my clothing.”
Combining colors really isn’t easy. What color combination is currently your favorite?
“Red and blue! Bright red combined with light blue. When renovating our home, I would’ve even wanted to paint the bedroom walls with two colors, so that the top section would’ve been blue and the bottom section red, but Antti made me reconsider and we ended up going with another solution. Nevertheless, I’m really happy with the result!”
What inspired you to establish Curated, a store selling second-hand clothing?
“I’ve been interested in clothes, fashion and vintage ever since I was young, and I have also worked in fashion. At some point, the continuous production of new products started to bother me and made me wish that all those beautiful items could be bought used. As a result, I ended up founding a vintage store in 2020.
Curated is a vintage store offering, as its name implies, a curated selection online and at the showroom located in Kruununhaka, Helsinki. For the store, I look for fairly timeless high-quality pieces that are made of good materials. The idea is for the clothes and accessories to withstand use for decades. In other words, I hunt for treasures for a living!”
Both clothing and interior design are, in a way, about making your environment more beautiful, don’t you think?
“I’ve only just realized how decorating my home brings me similar joy, inspiration and insight as clothing. After purchasing our home, we started the renovation that lasted for a few months, and now that it’s finished, I can see that our home features many of the same elements that I would wear. I’d use the same colors and combine the patterns in the same way. I like combining different things. I create contrasts by combining masculine with girlish, using contrasting colors and mixing and matching patterns. Things that are somehow not quite right are the most interesting ones. Combinations work when something about them is a little bit ‘off’.
I have many old clothes and accessories, and I keep coming up with new ways of combining them. Similarly, we have many decorative items and pieces of furniture that we’ve had since our first apartment. As I was decorating our new home and putting everything in place, I noticed that some of the items had, in a way, lost some of their charm in their previous environments. But bringing them to our new home, into a new environment, made me see them in a completely new light – something that also often happens when creating new outfits with old clothes.”
“I’ve only just realized how decorating my home brings me similar joy, inspiration and insight as clothing. I’d use the same colors and combine the patterns in the same way.”
You described your work as treasure hunting of sorts. Does the same also apply to your home and decorating?
“Now after moving to this home, I’d have to say yes, increasingly so! I’ve gotten pretty good at finding great pre-used items, although it can take up a great deal of time, too. At lunch, I may just browse all that is on sale on my phone, continuing from where I left off the previous time. At the moment, I’m looking for a new dining table. I’d also like to find a nice armchair for our living room and, now that the weather is getting warmer and warmer, some furniture for our balcony.
Already for our first home, I bought most of the furniture and decorative items used, because we were on a budget. Looking for used items just keeps getting more fun and rewarding. When you finally find what you’ve been looking for, it feels really special. You put extra effort into finding the desired pre-owned item, and once you find it, you take care of and get attached to it in a completely different way compared to a new item, because you know that you won’t find another like that anytime soon. You feel that you want to cherish the find.”
Old items also often come with many stories and memories. Can you think of a background story for an item to share with us?
“Yeah, and already the trip to get a pre-owned item you’ve just bought can be memorable! My grandparents have given me some old items, which are always wonderful gifts and feel really special.
After persistent asking, my grandma had gotten a set of beautiful green glasses from her mother. One summer, I was at the cabin with a friend, and we came up with the idea of drinking the wine from fancier glasses. There were none at our cabin, but I knew where to find some. We went to my grandparents’ cabin using my key and got the green glasses from there. However, one of the glasses broke when we were washing them. I sent a message to my grandma, telling how sorry I was about what had happened and asked her where I could find a replacement for the broken glass. Grandma told me how she had gotten the glasses from her mother and was sure that I couldn’t find a replacement. I felt really bad about the whole thing.
Later, grandma gave the rest of the glasses to me as a gift. Grandma said that she thought I would probably have more use for them. That was a lovely surprise.”
You have now been living in your new home for a few months. How does it feel?
“It’s great that we moved here when we did, in early spring, so that everything around us is gradually waking up as the amount of light increases. If we had moved here just before winter, I’d probably feel quite different. We spend a lot of time outdoors in the nearby area that hosts, for example, a community garden, forest track and seashore just a short walk away.
We’re already planning to take morning swims in the summer. This home gets beautiful natural light; the sun rises on the living-room side and moves across the apartment to the kitchen and bedroom just to end up back in the living room in the evening. The evening sun is amazing here. It lights up our whole home.”
Iida’s wishlist from Franckly
Text: Hanna-Katariina Mononen Images: Suvi Kesäläinen Video: Joni Tuominen