Interior architect Maija Rasila talks about her favorite products and styles in Design Stories’ Favorites of the Month column. Rasila creates a balance in her new home with classic, timeless elements lightened up by modern choices.
“DESPITE BEING A LOVER OF modern Scandinavian style, I’ve always been drawn to old milieus and residences. I’m due to move into a 19th-century wooden house in September, and the decor is something that hugely inspires me. As well as cherishing the past, I want a dash of modern freshness. I’m trying to create a balance between old and new by combining classic and modern elements. Besides, the most interesting combinations are often based on blending styles in this way.”
Different wall tones create a pleasing link between a classic framework and more modern decor. Even somewhat unconventional tones can suit an old house. In the picture, the furniture stands out beautifully against the terracotta wall. A simple Artek table is a good match for soft and round details, the table’s dark tones creating a refreshingly novel look. I'll at least be adding the Raami wine glasses by Iittala to my shopping list. Their unassuming shape goes well with tableware of all kinds.
A jewel of a lamp
The atmosphere is often based on carefully selected details, for highlighting chosen aspects of your home. The beautiful 5321 table lamp designed by Paavo Tynell in 1941 is a perfect fit for an elegant old house. The lamp is now part of the Gubi brand’s Tynell collection launched in 2018, which is brimming with options — one more attractive than the next — for lovers of classic styles. Onlookers are captivated by the details of this lamp, with its rattan stem and patinating brass. It is, without a doubt, one of my dream lamps, and would look wonderful on the windowsill of my new home.
Creating a reflection
Mirrors are easy and handy interior design elements, that can be used— with an open mind — in any room. I particularly like mirrors with a twist in terms of their design, color, or material. Such products often serve as strong links between a classic atmosphere and a more modern design. The Nimbus collection by Menu combines a delicate brass frame with a simple mirrored surface. The effect is both dignified and suitably expressive and perfect for both old and new homes.
Checks and stripes
I've recently become a fan of checked and striped patterns, which both work well in an old house. The cushions in Ferm Living's Calm collection were inspired by traditional patterns, but are implemented in a freshly contemporary manner. A relaxed atmosphere is accentuated by the lovely fringes on these cotton-linen-blend cushions. My favorite is the long cushion, which I would throw onto a bed to add character to the covers.
Danish style always works
Would a Danish classic be out of place anywhere? I don't think so. Evergreen furniture created by Hans J. Wegner or Borge Mogensen is just as at home in modern interiors as in older, decorative ones. It is the last word in timeless, successful design. Now produced by Fredericia, the BM62 chair by Mogensen is excitingly versatile: this graceful armchair easily finds its place at the end of a dining table, or as a single chair in a hallway or bedroom.
New sofa style
Hay is offering the most exciting new sofa designs of the fall. The manufacturer, constantly collaborating with international top designers, recently launched the new Arbour Eco sofa collection, created by Andreas Engesvik and Daniel Rybakken. The exposed wooden frame and clean, minimalist lines of this sofa draw inspiration from past decades. In terms of the materials used, the sofa, which has the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, prioritizes ecology and duration: if a repair need arises over the years, the parts can be separately repaired or replaced. Long-term thinking of this kind is always gratifying and helps to create a sustainable home.
An eye for detail
I believe in taking account of a home’s style in small things, such as table settings and dishware. Cutlery from Hackman's Linnea collection, which beautifully combines elegance with modern simplicity, can be found in my kitchen drawers. The small knob on the handles was inspired by traditional Sorsakoski cutlery, and the design prioritizes good ergonomics and grip. This timeless cutlery is suitable for both everyday and festive use.
Nuura of Denmark is a fairly new manufacturer of lights but has launched a wide range of interesting models in just a few years. Founded in 2017, the company is known for its understated luxury lamps, which add a classic touch to a home. The shades of the three-part Anoli pendant are shaped like water droplets, bringing pleasant softness to modern table arrangements. For lovers of a classic style, this is a brand worth bearing in mind.
In this column, interior architect Maija Rasila picks the most inspiring products, objects, and issues of the month from novel and classic items. She spices up modern Scandinavian style with plenty of details, surprising colors, and personal touches.
Text: Maija Rasila Images: Timo Pyykkö and manufacturers