sneak peek: lotta nieminen

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coming from an american perspective, it can be hard to truly appreciate the small living spaces that typify european living, but living in paris has completely changed the way i look at things. that’s why i absolutely love lotta nieminen‘s apartment in downtown helsinki that is 35m2 (376sf) of pure intimate style and grace.  by day this 24-year old works as a graphic designer for a finnish fashion magazine, and by night and weekends is often working on freelance illustration projects out of her apartment, which also serves as her studio. we hope you love this incredible space as much as we do! if what you see below isn’t enough, you can check out the full-sized images right here. {thanks, lotta!} -anne

{photos by helsinki-based photographer and graphic designer, maarit hohteri}

[above: I saw the bookshelf in the window of a thrift store one morning on my way to work. I bought it and dragged it home with the help of a co-worker during lunch break.
The framed page on top of the shelf is from one of my favorite magazines, US-based NEWWORK. Fresh cut flowers are by far my favorite decoration item.]


To me, the definition of a perfect apartment is one that makes you want to throw dinner parties to a big bunch of friends. The extension table was inherited from my grandfather, and I wanted it to be the center piece of my apartment. The chairs around it are an odd collection of different pieces with different stories. My parents rescued the Bertoia chair 30 years ago from their apartment building’s trash. The garden chair used to be on the terrace of our childhood home in Paris. The Aalto stools designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto add a modern touch to the bunch.  The Modern Art table lamp was designed by Yki Nummi in the 50s. The white metal locker is from Ikea.


I prefer a lot of smaller lights around the room rather than a single ceiling lamp. I nailed the Christmas lights to the wall in December, but liked them so much I still haven’t taken them down. Even the most ordinary desk lamp looks good when attached to something else than a desk.


It took me a while to really start liking the dark red tiles installed in the kitchen. I’ve slowly grown quite fond of them, even though they’re something I would probably never choose myself. I can’t help collecting paper bags. My former roommate used to go crazy with my ever expanding collection of them stuffed around the flat. A beautifully designed bag can even serve as artwork when hung on the wall. This one is from My o My, a concept store in downtown Helsinki.

CLICK HERE for the rest of lotta’s sneak peek after the jump!


I’m addicted to magazines, and am notorious for storing big cardboard boxes full of old issues at the attic – throwing them away has seemed impossible.  The ladder used to serve to climb in the bunk bed we shared with my little sister when we were little. Nowadays it serves as a rack for belts and gloves. The wooden archive boxes used to be my grandfather’s, who worked many years as a personnel manager.


This old medicine cabinet is from my grandparent’s cottage near Turku, a city on the northwest coast of Finland. I use it as a nightstand. The thing that made me fall in love with this apartment was the amazing sunlight pouring in through the windows.


The flat is small, so a big mirror adds an impression of extra space to the 375 square feet.
I had been looking for a simple bedspread for ages, but only seemed to find very decorative or colorful ones. During a holiday in Portugal, I finally got my hands on this simple black and white one. It’s from Area, an interior decoration shop in Lisbon.


I work from home a lot, and have turned this corner into my office. A pretty workspace keeps me inspired. The framed poster is an ad for the Helsinki Comic Festival, designed by Jenni Rope (www.jennirope.com). I snatched it from a bar’s bulletin board a couple of years ago.


The cabinet is on loan from a friend who couldn’t fit it in her new apartment. It’s very old and the back is almost split, so can’t be nailed to the wall like it was built to: it’s on the floor mainly for safety reasons. I was browsing though books at Printed Matter, Inc. in New York City, and happened to see a pile of these posters under a table. When I asked for the price, the shop assistant told me to take as many as I wanted for free. I love the contrast the bright pink typography brings to the old wooden cabinet.


I am obsessed with packaging. Diptyque and Ladurée boxes are some of my favorites.


I got this wooden cupboard from a friend, who was cutting her impressive collection of thrifted furniture finds. Instead of repainting it, I added a layer of varnish to preserve the worn feel. I use it to store books and display my favorite shoes. The artwork is by Melek Mazici.


I store magazines in white cases on top of my fridge. I use the metal frames to display business cards and hang tags.


The bathroom is tiled with the same red as the kitchen. I’ve filled the shelves with girly bottles and boxes to freshen up the dark color. I’ve eventually started to like the drama the dark tiles bring to daily bathroom routines.

  1. Evelyne says:

    Lotta, un seul mot : MAGNIFIQUE.
    Bises de Paris

  2. MM says:

    LOOOVE the bookshelf. Beautiful apartment in all, but I really love the bookshelf.

  3. sarah says:

    very impressive and stylish for a 24 years old woman!

  4. nosideup says:

    I love it!
    I’m about to move to a 39m apartment in Madrid with my boyfriend and it’s so good to see similar flats here. Thanks for sharing :)

  5. pimientoconalas says:

    lovely lovely lovely

  6. Eileen 2 says:

    Beautiful! I like the juxtaposition of flowers and commercial graphic design as art elements. God-made art + man-made art. Lovely.

  7. Agnes says:

    This is my absolute favorite sneak peek, I keep returning to it! Where is that lovely large mirror from?

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