A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones

Vilja and Kasperi are seeking perfect harmony in their first shared home, located in the Haaga district of Helsinki. While the paint tones may vary, for decor items the key principle is small quantities but high quality.

A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones

The residents:

Visual merchandiser Vilja Jääskeläinen, 25, Seaman Kasperi Jääskeläinen, 26, and their dogs Alvar and Salli. Their home is a 54 square-meter, one-bedroom flat built in the 1960s in Haaga, Helsinki. You can follow Vilja's interior design activities via her Instagram account @hurmaavaharmaa.

A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones
"I'm really careful about what we buy for our home. We don't buy anything spontaneously,” says Vilja. Vilja and Kasperi hunt for furniture and objects until they find the right ones. Cost is another factor in their cautious approach. They only buy new items once they are clear about the change in space and mood created by the previous purchase.

THE PLANS WERE CLEAR at the time of purchase: the two-room flat, which was partly in 1960s condition, had matte lacquered oak parquet and lots of fresh, light-colored surfaces. Vilja Jääskeläinen is an aesthete with a keen eye for form and tone. Her spouse, Kasperi, who was originally a carpenter, has the ability to realize Vilja's visions. When the couple remodeled the surfaces in white and grey, the finished kitchen felt too white, cold and clinical. The interior style emerged in its own time; little by little, the white surfaces have given way to warm muted tones.

“Soft colors make our home what it is. The objects and furniture stand out beautifully against the colorful wall,” Vilja comments.

Home-making is a hobby in which Vilja wants to develop and strive for perfect harmony. Genuine materials, which bring warmth to the interior, are important to the couple.

“My interior design ideas welled up from within me. Rather than choosing a style, I have done what I felt was right. It feels good to spend time in here.”

“Rather than choosing a style, I have done what I felt was right. It feels good to spend time in here.”

A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones

Carefully considered choices

The Cosy sofa by Hakola is decorated with a plush Saaga Uni mohair blanket by Lapua Kankurit. The Venetsia wicker chairs were purchased online from the Kallio kierrättää recycling group. The Runa table, Gesture chairs and charming stool are by Warm Nordic, and the pendant lamp is by Tikau. The birch veneer mirror cabinet was designed by Julia Hertell.

A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones

Your choice of lighting

The couple rarely uses the carefully selected ceiling lights, since they do not like bright lighting. The lighting has been designed to make warm tones look good, even in artificial light. “I like to play with the darkness, so I often use only ambient lighting. At times, we even wonder whether 2,700 Kelvin is too cold for our home lighting,” says Vilja. The reading light for the sofa is a Lampe de Marseille by Nemo Lighting, and the ceiling light is by Flos. The walls have been painted in Tikkurila's Travertini tone.

“I like to play with the darkness, so I often use only ambient lighting.”

A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones

A changing color palette

The flat is almost 'done and dusted' in other respects, but the interiors of the foyer cabinets still need finishing touches. However, Vilja is already considering a new color for the foyer walls. Just a year ago, there was still a lot of grey, which created a different atmosphere. Thanks to the new warm tones, the flat no longer feels gloomy. Angora by Tikkurila was used to create the subdued shade on the vestibule walls.

A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones

Only items that we like

There is no need to hide beautiful utensils in closets. An uncluttered interior, with every detail thought through, provides a peaceful and harmonious overall effect. Because Vilja and Kasperi have created their interior design with time, empty space is the natural result of refusing to make do with temporary solutions. A brass sconce by Mali Appelgren is positioned next to Artek’s 112B wall shelf.

Empty space is the natural result of refusing to make do with temporary solutions.

A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones

Kitchen color scheme

The white kitchen cabinet seemed too bleak. A suitable shade was found for the cabinet door by sticking on colour swatches and test painting four shades. The obvious choice was Köysi by Tikkurila, which fits with the Brie tone of the previously painted walls. The foyer can be seen from the kitchen. The matte lacquered oak parquet is Dublin by Kährs. The black kitchen tap is by Tapwell.

A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones

Round shapes

Color tones bring warmth and ambiance, and furniture and other objects are beautifully showcased by colored walls. To balance the sharp angles in the kitchen, add round shapes and houseplants. The black wall lamp is Uno Disc by Nordlux, the elm chopping boards by Hanna Saari, and the Onnenmaa oven mitten by Saana ja Olli.

To balance the sharp angles in the kitchen, add round shapes and houseplants.

A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones

It's worth waiting for the right items

Kitchen cabinet doors from A. S. Helsingö, which have been painted using Tikkurila's Köysi tone, are the perfect match for the spirit of this home. The handles are by Domus Classica. Only the Artek shelves came from the couple's previous home. The oiled wooden surface of the dining table by Warm Nordic is still an object of continuous admiration for Vilja and Kasperi. They waited a couple of years for the right pendant lamp to place above the table. The couple knew that the Tikau lamp was right for them as soon as they saw it. The Essence pitcher is from Iittala.

A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones

Paint as decoration

Vilja views painting as a form of interior decoration rather than renovation. The color of the bedroom has changed thrice in the last couple of years; it is now painted in Tikkurila's Toffee shade. It is easy to start painting when there are only a few objects to move. The couple sleeps on futons, often between rustic linen sheets. The large plant pot is from By Pias and the black Paolo curtain in velveteen is by Linum.

Vilja views painting as a form of interior decoration rather than renovation. The color of the bedroom has changed thrice in the last couple of years.

A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones

Minimalism calms the mind

You don't have to display your entire arsenal of objects at once, just a few interesting items will do. The bedroom dresser is second-hand. “For some reason, I'm afraid of old objects until they've been cleaned. We have two vintage chests of drawers that we have either painted or waxed. This makes them feel like they're mine,” Vilja says.

A Helsinki apartment in soft and warm tones

Final touches bring harmony

Cabinets that were custom-made by a carpenter from the local firm, Helsingin Lasi ja Puu, provide space-economical storage in the small toilet. White tiles are brought to life by black seams and chrome details. Kasperi and Vilja invest in fine-tuning to create a harmonious look, which doesn't leave them wondering why they didn't get it right first time.

Get inspired

Saana ja Olli
Onnenmaa oven mitten
Artek
112B wall shelf
&Tradition
VP7 Flowerpot pendant
Warm Nordic
Cow Horn chair
Lapuan Kankurit
mohair blanket
Sagaform
Oak cutting board
Nemo Lighting
Lampe de Marseille
Design House Stockholm
Air cabinet

Text: Mirsa Kaartinen Pictures: Krista Keltanen

This story was first published in the Avotakka magazine's issue 8/2019.

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