The dark and cold months of later autumn and winter are bound to make you miss the warmth, light, and colors of summer, but there’s no need to despair. Avotakka Art Director Elina Henttonen put together a to-do list for Design Stories on how to really get the best out of long evenings at home. She also threw in some great gift tips for good measure.
1. Casting a long shadow
French designer Inga Sempé definitely has a flair for reinvention. After all, it’s hard to believe that the humble candleholder could be reimagined to be so classic and contemporary at the same time. This cast-iron creation is quite a sight when bare, but proves its charm underneath the gentle glow of the candles it is designed to securely hold.
In our fireplace, we burn more candles than firewood. HAY’s pitch-black Fonte candleholder turns invisible before the sooty walls of the fireplace, making the candles look as if they were floating in mid-air. And when you do want to light a real fire, having to lift out only the multi-candled Fonte is handier than removing several, mismatched candlesticks.
2. Art for art’s sake
For some time now, I have been longing for a new woolen blanket. And as soon as I saw the fabulous wool throw in Finarte’s Väre collection, I knew this was The One. Its irresistible color combination and timeless, abstract pattern won me over in the blink of an eye. I became even more enthralled when I read that Marianne Huotari, the designer of the Väre collection, was inspired by renowned Finnish painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s Kalevala-themed frescoes on the ceiling of the foyer of the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki, as well as his designs for murals that were never realized.
The throw, and the other fine items in the collection, are based on the Väre (ripple) theme that Huotari designed in collaboration with the National Museum of Finland. The dark green and peach throw is made of 100% wool and is so wonderfully soft and plush that every member of the family will want to wrap up in it. It’s also a superb Christmas gift idea!
3. Dotted delights
Iittala’s latest Oiva Toikka collection is an exhilarating tribute to a giant of Finnish design. I simply fell in love with the Helle theme – a glorious blaze of colored dots that Toika originally designed in the 1980s. These living colors look as fresh and vibrant as ever. We use Iittala’s Moomin mugs every day in our home, and the Helle mug sits beside them harmoniously. And this is no wonder, as both are based on Iittala’s classic, handily-shaped Teema mug.
Helle mugs look especially appealing on the breakfast table on a lazy Sunday morning beside plates stacked with freshly made waffles. The Helle pattern now also adorns the Fiskars X Iittala scissors, which have the same essential features as the classic orange-handled Fiskars scissors. They add a touch of vibrancy to crafts and everyday tasks. These mugs and scissors also make excellent gifts, as the Helle collection has proven its popularity beyond a shadow of a doubt.
4. Walls of salted caramel
The thought of house painting is not necessarily thrilling, but the results can be very much worth the effort. When your walls have taken on a different tone, your home will look and feel like new. At the moment, I find caramel shades of brown particularly inviting – mouthwatering, even!
And if this is what your heart desires, look no further than Finnish paint manufacturer Cover Story’s LB3 MIO salty caramel. It’s part of Cover Story’s Capsule Collection, designed by Linda Bergroth. This delightful caramel hue lies somewhere between burnt orange and warm brown, and pairs excellently with choices such as bright red, gentle coral, and light blue. Cover Story paints are made in Finland, and are also a safe choice for children’s rooms, as they are plastic-free, water-soluble, and odorless, and do not release harmful compounds into the indoor air. Who knows, maybe Santa Claus or his little helpers might be willing to lend a hand with the painting too?
5. Hem sweet Hem
Our home is built in the architectural style that was typical in Finland in the 1950s, with small rooms that require slim furniture. In my dreams, I would have the leisure in the dark autumn evenings to master the captivating art of embroidery, immerse myself in a novel, or enjoy a good movie. All of these would be simply heavenly pastimes in the comfort of a cozy armchair and footstool.
Hem’s plush Hai lounge chair has a lovely vintage feel thanks to its sleek metal tubular legs. Nonetheless, it’s a modern creation, by the Italian designer Luca Nichetto. The mottled coral upholstery is my favorite.
6. Glowing and growing
A reading light, house plant light and mini-table all in one compact package – now there’s a clever combination! The beautiful Cone floor lamp, relaunched by Warm Nordic, was designed by Danish maestro Svend Aage Holm-Sørensen in the 1950s. Thanks to its compactness, style, and versatility, this little lighting table is perfect for a small home. It fits perfectly by the window, next to the armchair.
I would fit the lamp with a lightbulb designed for house plants, such as a neutral color temperature (3500 K) that is also an excellent choice for reading light. The reversible dome is a practical as well as esthetically pleasing feature. The tabletop has just the right amount of room for a coffee mug, book, and mobile phone.
7. All the world is green
Over the summer, my house plants thrived in all directions, and have outgrown their windowsill. Due to the poorer light, however, they still need to be by the window. Ferm Living’s Plant Box is a plant stand and more: the lower level of this model can also accommodate a great stack of interior design magazines, for instance, a watering can, a spray bottle, and other bits and bobs.
The olive green would go delightfully with powder pink, salty caramel, and the other shades in my home. I might just make this my Christmas wish this year!
8. Winter’s muse
Recent times have seen the launch of many gorgeous, USB-rechargeable and portable LED lamps. Tala’s portable The Muse lamp is a witty and elegant interpretation that combines an incandescent lamp and a storm lantern in a modern yet timeless way. The elegant color options have been designed with paint manufacturer Farrow & Ball, and are said to have been inspired by the splendor of British gardens of bygone days.
This convenient, cordless lamp is suitable for outdoor use, and the battery is promised to last up to 24 hours on one charge. The lamp has a rotating dimmer. Made of borosilicate glass, aluminum, and brass, The Muse is a fabulous choice for both glazed and unlit balconies, not to mention my non-electrified country cabin. It’s easy to place even in the darkest corner of the home, where broader lamps can’t reach.
Elina Henttonen works as Avotakka magazine's Art Director. She is passionate about functional aesthetics, crazy about inexpensive flea market finds, and inspired by art exhibitions.
Text: Elina Henttonen Images: Manufacturers