Interiorssneak peeks

sneak peek: susanna and jussi vento

by Amy Azzarito

Susanna and Jussi Vento’s apartment in Helsinki, Finland, is pretty tiny at just three rooms: two bedrooms — one master and one for the couple’s daughter — and a kitchen/dining room space. Rather than putting a sofa in the kitchen area, the couple opted for a long table, where they spend time with family and friends. Susanna is an interior designer, and she also works for the Finnish design magazine Deko. One of her favorite tricks is utilizing a local automotive painter for furniture redos; it gives the furniture a smoother finish than that achieved with paint and a brush. Because the apartment is so small, Susanna relies on plenty of white to brighten it up; in fact, the floors and ceilings are all white. Her formula is white + black + a pop of color or natural wood accents. Susanna and Jussi love hunting at fleas markets and thrift stores for beautiful additions to their home. Instead of a sofa, the couple bought two of Bertoia’s Diamond chairs. Susanna found them by searching online for “wire chairs,” thinking that if someone didn’t know the designer’s name, she could probably find a bargain. She then used her favorite automotive painter to give the chairs a new finish. If she has to buy something new, Susanna springs for design classics. Though more expensive, she likes knowing that the pieces will last long enough to pass down to her daughter one day. Thank you, Susanna and Jussi! — Amy Azzarito

Image above: I fell in love with the apartment’s 1950s feeling — original double doors and a practical layout. The light in the apartment just sealed the deal. The image above is looking into the dining room from our daughter’s room. The wallpaper is Gran from Fine Little Day. The dining table is from Ikea. The tabletop was previously oak and the legs were black, so we had the local automobile painter paint it completely black. The patchwork carpet is Palermo from Gun Rugs, and the striped one is Stockholm Rand from Ikea.

Image above: Child’s bed is old Jolla from Muurame. Toy shelf is the classic String shelf system. The Eames Hang-It-All coat hanger is from Vitra.

More of Susanna and Jussi’s Helsinki apartment after the jump . . .

Image above: The side table is made from old Palaset parts. (Palaset is a classic Finnish shelf system). I then painted the side tables on my own.

Image above: I collect lovely 3D books and well-illustrated memory games.

Image above: The colorful poster is from 1973. It’s by my favorite artist, Sanna Annukka. I painted the other wall decorations myself. (Editor’s note: Click here for Sanna Annukka’s Sneak Peek.)

Image above: The chairs in the dining room are a mismatch — Vitra DSW; Aero; Jasper Morrison’s design for Vitra, Basel; chair from Artek 2nd Cycle store; Tolix; and our daughter’s chair is from Ikea, but I painted a single rung in white. The Thonet lookalike is a flea market find. It was originally white, but I added the blue feet.

Image above: The lamp is the Flos Parentesi floor lamp from Plusminus Partners. The small table is Vitra’s LTR-table, and the chair is Bertoia’s Diamond chair.

Image above: I have designed our kitchen myself and local carpenter company Mittapuu made it. The D-poster is from Playtype.

Image above: The cutlery is stored in Palaset-boxes (same Palaset series as the bedroom night tables). The kitchen faucet is Vola. The cutting boards are a mix of self-made and boards from online stores.

Image above: Trays are a mix of online finds and some picked up on a Stockholm trip. The black vacuum jug is Stelton.

Image above: The coat hanger I designed myself from water pipes, and a local welder made it. If I can’t find what I want, I prefer to design it myself and figure out how to get it made. It might take more time, but you end up with something completely unique and special (and sometimes even cheaper!). Under the rack are 3 boxes for our hats, gloves, etc. The wall rack is Uten.Silo from Vitra.

Image above: The hallway in the apartment

Image above: The apartment building’s exterior

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  • I love all the triangles everywhere. Also, it’s so nice to see the exterior of the building.

  • I’m a huge fan of Susanna’s work so it is a real treat to see this Sneak Peek! I love all the graphic pops of color with the black and white! Thank you for sharing your home with us!

  • I love this apartment, but it was the cover story in Dwell not too long ago. And this article doesn’t really tell anything different. Surely there are enough cool apartments in the world that Design Sponge doesn’t have to re-hash other articles?

    • Noelle

      Unfortunately these home owners did not tell us their home had been featured before and this is the first we’re hearing of this. I regret the overlap and we will continue to push home owners to be more honest about where their home has been featured.

      We very very rarely have overlaps like this so no, we don’t need to do this (I think I can count on one hand how many times this has happened in 8 years without us knowing). Unfortunately home owners aren’t always entirely open about things like this, even when we ask them.


  • It’s so small, and yet it seems so spacious! Very nicely done! Also, it’s neat being able to see the outside of the apartment as well as the inside.

  • Are you happy with your smeg? Do you recommend it functionally? Clearly, it’s beautiful to look at and your kitchen is darling!

  • Im always looking at little teases of her home on her blog Varpunen. Thankyou for this sneak peak. What an inspiring home.

  • You can see a lot more of Susanna Vento’s current apartment and older dwelling in her own blog, http://pikkuvarpunen.blogspot.com/

    She doesn’t update too often, but there’s a lot of lifestyle and eye for detail in there. She normally writes in Finnish only, but I can get the gist with Google Translate.

    One of the two ladies behind Swedish site Dos Family (http://dosfamily.com/) also had her dinning table painted in a body shop, but of a purple tone rather than black. I think it’s Jenny, and she says her father owns it… really cool. I wonder if they shared the ideas…

  • this is really perfect. The atmosphere is both cool and peaceful. What a good vibe and great taste we get from this home!

  • Thank you all for your lovely comments.

    Noelle, sad to hear. Dwell introduced our home a year ago before the renovation. We renewed the kitchen and bathroom, so hopefully there should be some new inspiration. However it’s lovely to hear that our is left to you mind.

    Erika, Smeg works like a dream! Freezer is a small, but enough space for the ice cream;)

  • Noelle, I also feel as Susanna pointed out that these pics are different from the DWELL pics.

    I first discovered her there and have become a fan of her styling/work and loved this sneek peek.

    I like seeing the changes, in particular the kitchen, though I miss the vinyl cutouts she had on the cupboards.

    I also enjoyed the updated bedroom and office shots and the entrance and exterior shots for context.

  • Not all of us subscribe to Dwell! I, for one, appreciate seeing this amazing space featured here.

  • I wouldn’t mind seeing this home all over the internet! It’s lovely. The black and white with pops of colour everywhere! And the kid’s room is so fun. Glad to see it!

  • I have never read Dwell so happy to see this, who cares about a bit of overlap in a world full of info everywhere? I have serious girls bedroom envy…cushion envy and whiteness of house envy too. My house is brown but as a renter I cannot change it…one day I will have white walls like this.

  • I saw their place in Dwell, but these pictures capture different angles and highlight enough different things from that previous feature that I was excited to see more!

  • I love how everything is meticulously organized. I’m not sure if that’s specifically for the photos, but I live the same way… I find joy in order (even down to the way the coats are hung) and it always is a key element in my home decor.

  • I find this interior very inspiring and enjoy the lovely photos. I haven’t seen the home in Dwell but did see almost the same pictures in a Finnish interior magazine Deko.

  • In September 2011 issue of Deko the rugs are said to be from Ikea (the striped rug is Stockholm Rand) and the rug on top of it is Palermo by Gun Rugs.

  • Hi !

    I’m from Belgium,

    Nice Blog & nice pics !

    Can I ask you something ? Do you know the name of the picture with the eyes in the dining room. I’ve seen it on internet before but I don’t what is it !

    Thanks !!!!

  • Nice to see people living with bentwood furniture. It is an affordable way to decorating your home with furniture not using their value.

  • Hello

    I want to know where u bought the 5 and eyes poster ! i want them for such a long time !!

    Thank you