Jirka Väätäinen trusts his intuition in interior decoration: “Items that please me will fit together and usually find their place in my home”

When social media influencer Jirka Väätäinen engages in interior decoration, he is driven by inspiration and experimentation, not practical issues. The first home he bought strengthened his identity. Now he has the courage to trust his instincts.

Jirka Väätäinen home
Random items decorate the top of the dark cupboard. A few dishes and vases are stored in it as well.

Resident:

Graphic designer Jirka Väätäinen, 29. Jirka's Instagram account is @jirkavinse. His home is a 37-square-metre studio in Vallila, Helsinki, in an apartment block built in 1922.

Jirka Väätäinen
Jirka seldom cooks at home, enjoying him meals at restaurants. He takes pleasure in throwing get-togethers and having guests over at his place.

“ITEMS THAT PLEASE ME will fit together and usually find their place in my home," say Jirka Väätäinen, who has learned to trust his intuition and taste. Interior decoration is an inspirational process that springs from his subconscious. He enjoys the creation of larger sets and landscapes.

Jirka was looking around for a whole year to buy his first home. He wanted it to be personal, with a clear floor plan and centrally located in Helsinki. When he found that the apartment in Vallila online, it felt intuitively like his own right away. It was charming and to his tastes already when he moved in in October 2017, so all it needed was a lick of paint before bringing in the furniture.

The first impression is the relaxed atmosphere. Jirka buys furniture and other items rarely because he needs them, but primarily because they inspire him. Of course there is some need, too, and he tries to justify his purchases with the need, especially the more expensive purchases.

Jirka Väätäinen home
The top of the dinner table served as a coffee table in Jirka's previous home. One guest thought it might be originally from a cigar factory. The Viennese chairs are from a Facebook recycling group and the leather chair from a Reuse Centre in Vantaa.
Jirka Väätäinen home
Jirka acquired the dark cupboard from a Finnish e-commerce site as storage space specifically for this home. It has shoes and clothes in it.
Jirka Väätäinen home
Jirka likes the kitchen, which the previous resident redecorated. The white basic tile gives a nice pattern to the wall without cupboards above it. The wooden floor in the kitchen has been painted white. The dark caulking makes the white basic tile look like a graphic grid and adds depth to the surface.

You like to go to flea markets. Why's that?
“Going to flea markets became a hobby for me already as a teenager. I think it's based on some hunting instinct and the thrill of making potential bargains. You can find something unique at flea markets and recycling centers, something you never imagined finding, and something that can inspire you in surprising ways. The fact that second-hand items are cheap enables this somewhat trial-and-error approach to buy stuff and try whether it will fit in. Occasionally I go to interior decoration shops, although mainly only to get inspiration or to browse.”

“In my home, I trust that white walls create an empty background where I can put in any colors.”

How does your work as a graphic designer affect your interior decoration?
“I'm naturally interested in a variety of visual worlds. My sources of inspiration and ideas are therefore not only limited to what I see in interior decoration magazines and other people's homes. I am used to organizing things and solving visual problems in my work. I approach the decoration of my home as a pleasant way to practice and challenge my eye. Different colors enchant and work in different contexts and uses. In my home, I trust that white walls create an empty background where I can put in any colors.”

Jirka Väätäinen home
Back in the day, Jirka got the secondhand leather couch online with his ex. He bought the wooden wardrobe from the previous owners of the apartment. He keeps clothes and bedding here and there: for instance, behind the couch in boxes. A large portion is stored in the basement storage because of lack of space.
Jirka Väätäinen home
The blue armchair and wooden rack are from a flea market. The glass candlesticks and bowl on the glass table are from a flea market as well, the flower vase all the way from Budapest. The wooden container is a Monsun room diffuser.
Jirka Väätäinen home
In the rack, there is Oiva Toikka's glass art, which Jirka got from his grandma, Seletti's banana lamp, and flea market finds, such as a brass wall sconce, deer antlers, carafes, artificial roses, a disco ball, and a small globe.

What does the home tell about you?
“It shows my visual preferences. My interior decoration is more based on creating the right kind of landscape and visual image than practical issues, although the space is also practical. My approach to decorating my home tells a lot about me. My home shows how I like to experiment in my life situation, finding myself and shaping my identity. My home is a place where I can stop and charge my batteries. I sit down and take it easy, and take some time for myself. I enjoy watching TV series and following social media. I travel a lot and there are times when I only pop round quickly at home. That's why these are important things to me. I also enjoy when my home challenges, inspires, lives and reflects my own life style.”

“I enjoy when my home challenges, inspires, lives and reflects my own life style.”

What are your favorite items or pieces of furniture?
“My favorite pieces of furniture are a red clothes cabinet that I bought from the previous owner, and a sofa table made of brass and glass that I bought in an online flea market. It was nice to create a bigger landscape around these items. I bought them for my first home with the idea that they will probably follow me to my next home. There's also the brass box I bought in a flea market in New Zealand that I want to keep. It's a treasure to me, found during a trip lasting more than a year around the world, when I was ready to come back to Finland and settle down.”

Jirka Väätäinen home
The brick stove covered with sheet metal cannot be used, and its repair would be a large expense. The Lavitta lounge chair was bought at a showpiece sales of the Finnish brand Poiat.
Jirka Väätäinen home
You need to be creative with storage in a small home. There is a coat rack for light coats in the hall.
Jirka Väätäinen home
The small bathroom has been furnished efficiently. White porcelain furnishings suit the old building.

You are a popular social media influencer. Does it create any pressure on how your home should look like?
“I admit that there may be some pride or pressure to create a home that matches the personal brand I have built in social media. Of course it's nice when I share something about my life and people admire it. But I don't think I've built my home with a perfect Instagram image or hope of acceptance in mind. It all comes from my genuine needs and desires. The best thing about my home is that it feels like it's mine. My home has strengthened my identity and feeling that I can trust what enchants and inspires me.”

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Text: Piia Kalliomäki Photos: Pauliina Salonen

This story was published originally in the Avotakka issue 5/2019.

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