Finnish Design Shop’s seasonal photos capture the magic of the holidays with honest materials, the glowing embers of a fireplace, and the soft twinkle of candles. We asked the photo shoot’s stylist, Hanna-Katariina Mononen, to share tips on decorating a serene holiday feel.
Hi Hanna-Katariina! How is your early winter going? Have you already started soaking in the holiday mood during your free time?
“We have recently moved into a new home, which takes up a big part of my spare time. During a time of year when sunlight is scarce, decorating the new house introduces a pleasant tone and makes the dusky evenings go by much faster. Setting a laid-back mood for all the senses, with candles, incense and essential oils, is present in everyday life throughout the fall and the entire time leading up to the holidays.”
Finnish Design Shop’s seasonal photos were taken in Ruusuniemi, located on a tip of a marine cape in Helsinki. What were your thoughts behind the styling?
“As the location itself was already so atmospheric, it was effortless to picture a festive setting. The venue’s bold surfaces of wood and red brick offered plenty of options to try out different arrangements. A distinctly modern object might not match with its backdrop in terms of style, but together they create a harmonious whole.
I wanted to bring a sense of serenity into the visuals and highlight genuine materials – if an item appears woollen, it is actually made of wool. For me, the holiday season is a time for authentic experiences.”
Do you have a favourite product in mind from the holiday shoot?
“Merging Finnish design and Japanese tradition, the Iwatemo VK kettle delivers on what its appearance promises – the sturdy cast iron kettle is a real treat for the eyes. The brand’s tableware does not necessarily reveal its intended purpose, but rather invites you to explore its functionality. For example, I use the Kobukura bowl for drinking coffee and tea, but from time to time, it takes centre stage as a vessel for olives, almonds, or salt flakes. In addition to the ceramics, Vitra’s Akari lights have a special place in my heart.”
“Tidying up is an essential part of preparing for the holidays: airing out the home invites you to settle into the holiday spirit.”
What kinds of seasonal decor tips would you give to our readers?
“When it comes to table settings, I’m particularly fond of taking liberties with creative combinations – it can prove beneficial to see what you already have, and perhaps introduce select new items you have been dreaming about for a while already. It’s the simple things, like a freshly ironed tablecloth and homemade place cards, that elevate the look of a festive table. Tidying up is another essential part of preparing for the holidays: airing out the home invites you to settle into the holiday spirit.”
How does your own holiday decor look?
“With the holiday season fast approaching, now is a great time to invest in little things that make you feel good to the core. We tend to choose the most beautiful linen textiles for the sauna and pay close attention to the ideal tableware for festive feasts. Our holiday decor is made up of twinkling candles, fresh flowers, and delightful table settings.”
Do you have any must-have holiday traditions?
“To me, the holidays are not only a time for simple, joyful things, but also a moment to consider the past and start making wishes for the future. The holiday sauna, rice porridge, and venturing out during hours of daylight are among our must-have traditions. Conventions of time do not apply to the festive period: it no longer counts which day of the week it is, and you can simply sit back and dwell in that blissful feeling.”
Text: Eero Nurmi Images: Otto Virtanen Styling: Hanna-Katariina Mononen