sneak peek: vesa & riikka sammalisto

Illustrator Vesa Sammalisto lives with his wife and their 9-month-old daughter in Helsinki, Finland. When it came time to buy their first home three years ago, finding a apartment in original condition with wood floors, high ceilings and thick walls proved a pretty difficult task. Most apartments on the market had been subject to botched renovations, so when they found something that met their criteria, they snapped it up, even though the space required a pretty extensive renovation to restore it to its original glory (with a modern twist). I love the painted white floors. Thanks, Vesa & Riikka! — Amy A.

Image above: The desk chair is from a set of chairs by Ilmari Tapiovaara that we found several years ago from a local vintage store. We got the whole set of four mint-condition chairs and a dining table for a very good price. Immediately after we came out of the store, a man in a 1950s Volvo Amazon tried desperately to buy them from us.

Image above: I love the light feeling of our dining table. We spent many years coveting the Eames DSW chairs before we finally got them. They mix well with Tapiovaara’s Fanett chairs.

CLICK HERE for more of Vesa & Riikka’s Helsinki home!

Image above: The silkscreen print is by Sanna Annukka, whose work I admire. The table we found at a local vintage store, and we immediately fell in love with its juxtaposition of different materials, plastic, glass and brass. The old beer bottle crate was rescued from the garbage. I was cycling past a construction site and saw the workers throwing all the old stuff away. Luckily, I was on time to save this beautiful item and gave it another life as magazine storage.

Image above: We like to collect old glass items — bottles, vases, jars, etc. The wooden shelf and old key are from Riikka’s grandparents’ ranch.

Image above: The lamp is by Eero Aarnio, one of the most famous Finnish designers of all time. On the Vitra table by Eames are two sympathetic figures from Kid Robot, Finnish glassware from Iittala and a series of old photos from 1930s New York that I got from my dad. I took the photo of the “love” statue on one of our trips to NY and made a silkscreen print out of it, as I felt it would fit nicely in our home with its lovely message. We’ve visited NY several times, as Riikka has several relatives living in the city.

  1. Teresa says:

    I love anything colorful and eclectic. A very charming home. And besides, anyone who has something from Sanna Annukka in their home is alright in my book! :-)

  2. I love this space! Very impressive that the owners renovated it by themselves. The pops of colour are balanced by the otherwise white space and wooden accents.

    Greetings from Paris!

  3. Susana says:

    1000% gorgeous… I am always fascinated by white + colour accents and this home does it with such grace! oh and the Juicy Salif is my favourite

  4. I have always been a fan of orient design, I love the culture and the style… this was almost a perfect meld between post modern and orient style, I think it was very tasteful and pleasing to the eye… thank you!

  5. Kiana says:

    I love it! The white walls and floors gives the space this luminous quality and makes you feel very calm and energized. The kitchen is to die for! Very well done!

  6. Lisa says:

    love the space, light, and pops of color against the white.

  7. Avril says:

    Utterly, utterly gorgeous

  8. Emma says:


  9. LOVE these sun drenched photographs of this gorgeous minimal but colorful interior.

  10. Alex says:

    Absolutely LOVE those white painted floors!

  11. vin says:

    Any idea where to get that amazing ‘string shelf’ style desk in the first photo?

  12. Hello Olive says:

    Absolutely stunning!

  13. meagan says:

    So many lovely pieces in this home! super nice as each is beautiful as a stand alone and great in the ‘bigger’ picture!

  14. Cy says:

    I want those Strawberry dishes and I love the Sanna Annukka piece. Great job!

  15. minhus says:

    D*S Sneak Peeks are my fave, and this is a perfect example of why.

    Love, love, love your home.

    I’d definitely love to see more Scandinavian (and especially Finnish) sneak peeks! I just love that Scandi style.

  16. Avril says:

    Can I request a how-to on white-painted floors? I really want the look, but don’t know the best way to go about it and think I’d benefit from other reader’s experiences too. So mant of the sneak peaks have them and they always look so gorgeous.

  17. Phrag E says:

    I love it! I looks so crisp and clean, if that makes sense.

  18. Vicky says:

    Love the pops of color in your home! It is gorgeous! May I ask where you acquired your light fixture above your dinning table? It’s gorgeous!

  19. Dave says:

    Can you please share the maker and model of the watch from vesa-s-handwriting.jpg? Or just the maker?

    Thank you!

  20. Bre says:

    that kitchen is amazzzzzing! and the white floors lovely. great idea! xx

  21. I love how the images are kept real and shot in lovely vignettes. Nice sneak peek!

  22. Juan di Santo says:

    What an interesting house!
    Love the vintage furniture and the combination with new technology.
    A suggestion for the lamps:

  23. Thanks for your compliments!

    Some answers:

    @vin: The String Shelf system is by Nisse Strinning in 1949. Find a dealer

    @Avril: We sanded the old painted floor slightly first. Then we painted it couple of times with finnish Betolux floor paint which actually works on wood quite nice as well. It took two days to dry and almost a month to harden completely.


    @Dave: The watch is an old Zenith Automatic. It is one of the first automatic ones ever made to my knowledge.

    @Juan di Santo: Nice lamps, especially Evans.


  24. Ashlee says:

    I second the request for a DS how-to on successfully painting wood floors! Pleeeeeaaase!

  25. Vanessa says:

    lovely painted floors.

  26. love the decor! simple and fun.

  27. Hallway table vaguely looks like an old classroom desk with the top hacked off, which is probably something that could be done today to repurpose an old desk. So very cool.

  28. taylor says:

    Bathroom sink & entertainment canter… drooool! You have amazing taste.

  29. Nina says:

    Lovely to see a Finnish home here!

  30. Venice says:

    Shame about the monstrous tv set! otherwise I love this place, especially the floors. It is a beautiful home.

  31. Hello Amy, very cozy, soft and conformable home, makes people living in feel peaceful. I am gonna refer to this style when decorating my house.


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