Creativity is key in Kirsikka Simberg's summery table settings

Kirsikka Simberg's summer includes dining al fresco, tending the garden, and bicycle trips – with a side of ice cream of course. Design Stories visited Simberg's summer home and got the best tips on what to bring as a gift to the cabin and for creating a summery table setting.

An image of Kirsikka Simberg leaning over a summery table setting.
Design Stories was invited to visit the cottage of momtrepreneur Kirsikka Simberg. Kirsikka is known for, to name only a few, the Tuplakääk and Hei Baby podcasts and Studio Plenty, founded together with Anna Pirkola.

Hello Kirsikka! How's your summer going?
“In the summer, we spend as much time as possible at the cottage, do gardening, swim in natural waters, and go boating. I have eight cultivation boxes in which I am growing herbs, corn, butternut squash, zucchini, cucumbers, beans, and eggplant this year – all that is missing is a greenhouse for tomatoes and a plot for potatoes.

A large part of the summer is dedicated to tending the garden, as it is my favorite pass time, but also because preparing meals from self-grown produce is a particularly wonderful part of summer."

Your summer cottage is charming and packed with ambiance. What kind of summer delicacies are created in its kitchen?
“A few years ago my spouse, Tuukka, gifted me with a selection of string beans and props for them, and since then I have planted a selection of beans every summer. They are eye-catching and beautiful when they grow tall. The flowers of scarlet runner beans are edible, and they produce a generous crop with minimal effort – which is wonderful. Beans taste delicious perfected with a bit of butter and finger salt. Our kids love them too!”

An image of a summery table setting, as part of the summer cabin decor.
Wild flowers and herbs bring a mood boosting joie-de-vivre atmosphere to the table setting.
A product image of HAY's Yellow Juice vase.
HAY's bright yellow Juice vase is also available in blue.
An image of Kirsikka Simberg and their kids enjoying strawberries at the patio.
Kirsikka Simberg's summer table settings are all about creativity and a laid-back attitude – if you can't find napkins, use tea towels! The wooden Raami serving tray and Essence beer glasses are part of Iittala's selection.
An image of a summery table setting, as part of the summer house decor.
Ordinary ice water turns into an elegant summer drink when served from a beautiful carafe and decorated with flowers. Georg Jensen's HK pitcher was designed by Henning Koppel.

You are a skilled stylist. What are your best tips for a beautiful and carefree summer table setting?
“Setting the table outside in the summer is wonderful! Any small gathering feels more festive outside, and it's easy to put together a centerpiece of grass, branches or flowers straight from the garden. You can create a new flower arrangement for each meal if you want, and you can also decorate the food with wild herbs and edible flowers.”

When at the summer cabin, it's such a treat to use all the different pieces of tableware that you don't have at home. Creativity is key! For example, I often iron some tea towels to double as napkins.”

“You can create a new flower arrangement for each meal if you want, and you can also decorate the food with wild herbs and edible flowers.”

An image of Kirsikka Simberg creating a laid-back table setting.
“Setting the table outside in the summer is wonderful! Any small gathering feels more festive outside,” Simberg rejoices.
A product image of HAY's olive green Palissade chair.
HAY's Palissade chair is designed to withstand all kinds of weather, making it particularly suitable for the cottage as well.
An image of HAY's olive green Palissade chair next to Vaarnii's Osa outdoor table.
Food from your own garden always tastes better – and it is also a lovely gift! “The harvest from the garden can be packed in baskets or wrapped in a beautiful kitchen towel in furoshiki style,” advises Simberg.

Finns love cabins, but year after year they struggle to find the answer to one question: what to bring as a gift when visiting a summer house?
“I think a bottle of good olive oil or champagne is always a wonderful option. I also often bring bouquets of herbs or flowers from my own garden – the bouquet can also be accompanied by a matching vase. In the fall, self-grown fruits and vegetables can be packed in baskets or wrapped in a beautiful kitchen towel in furoshiki style.

HAY's silicone ice cube mold or glass straws are also an excellent summer gift, we also use them a lot at home. Plain ice water becomes a refreshing and luxurious summer drink when enjoyed through a beautiful glass straw!”

“I think a bottle of good olive oil or champagne is always a wonderful summer gift. I also often bring bouquets of herbs or flowers from my own garden.”

What is your favorite summer product from our selection?
“A difficult choice, but on the other hand also an easy one – I choose the pinewood Osa patio furniture by Vaarnii, they are absolutely stunning in their bare simplicity. I can't wait for the long summer evenings and the autumn mushroom-prepping moments at the table. Pine furniture made for outdoor use turns gray over time, as probably will I! That's a nice thought.”

An image of Kirsikka Simberg sitting at Vaarnii's Osa table, sipping ice water.
Osa outdoor furniture designed by Danish designer Henrik Tjærby is made of Finnish, heat-treated pine.
A product image of Vaarnii's Osa outdoor furniture.
Vaarnii's simple yet striking Osa collection includes a table in two sizes and matching benches.
An image of Vaarnii's pinewood Osa table and benches at a summer house patio.
“Pine furniture made for outdoor use turns gray over time, as probably will I! That's a nice thought,” Simberg ponders.

Kirsikka's TOP 3 tips to experience Finnish summer

  1. KEMIÖN SAARI is an unforgettable destination in summer. Källarvinden, located in Kasnäs, is only open during the summer, but I am not exaggerating at all when I say that it is one of the loveliest restaurants in Finland. The owner works as a sommelier at Savoy in the winter and runs a restaurant in the summer – needless to say, the wine list is excellent, and the menu often includes fresh perch caught by their own grandmother. On the way, you can stop at markets, flea markets, and various thrift stores: just follow the signs!
  2. ICE CREAM! You can get Italian artisanal ice cream from Jädelino in Teurastamo, Helsinki in the summer: taking a bicycle trip there is always a good choice. In addition, I heard that Söderlångvik, i.e. the farm of Amos Anderson's home museum, is launching its own ice cream this summer – made from the farm's apples! Söderlångvik is a nice destination anyway but locally made apple ice cream sounds wonderful. The ice cream is available at the farm, but also at Glasspalatset in Helsinki city center.
  3. ALL MARKETS and market halls. Hakaniemi hall's Lentävä lehmä cheese shop, all the colorful vegetable stands at Kauppatori, Tammisaari's summer market, Stadin puutarhuri in Tammisalo, and all the small stalls and stands around Finland. I always buy something if I happen to pass by. I wish there were farmer's markets in the winter too!

Kirsikka's wishlist 

ferm LIVING
Lull umbrella
Vaarnii
009 tray
HAY
Palissade dining bench
Artek
Midsummer Dream vase
Lapun Kankurit
Usva table cloth
HAY
Splash vase
Nikari
Periferia sauna stool
HAY
Colour Crate

See also:

Follow Kirsikka Simberg on Instagram @kirsikkasimberg
All products at Finnish Design Shop

Text: Design Stories Images: Kirsikka Simberg

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