Interiorssneak peeks

Keeping it Simple and Functional in Helsinki

by Shannon Grant

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Hanna Konola and Jukka Koops have lived in their apartment, located in the Käpylä neighborhood of Helsinki, Finland for almost two years. Käpylä is famous for its wooden houses, gardens and relaxed atmosphere, all attributes that Hanna and Jukka love about where they live. In fact, one of the things they love most about their home is the peaceful surroundings and view from their windows. Perhaps inspired by the laid-back vibes of the neighborhood, they have opted to keep things simple in terms of their approach to decorating, resisting the urge to make quick decisions and instead seeing what feels good over time. They also want to maintain the original spirit of the apartment, which has an interesting history. Their specific area of Käpylä is called Olympiakylä (Olympic village), designed and built in the Functionalist architectural style by Hilding Ekelund along with Alvar Aalto. Built in 1940 for the Olympics, which were ultimately cancelled because of the war, the building was instead adapted for residential use right away. A testament to Finnish design, the bones of the space appear to possess a timeless quality, one that Hanna and Jukka have done a great job of marrying their own graphic yet minimal aesthetic to. Hanna is a designer and illustrator, working on both print and textile. Thank you, Hanna and Jukka! Shannon

Image above: “This is a spot in our living room,” Hanna says. “The poster on the wall is by Hvass & Hannibal, a Danish design studio, and the bookshelf is String. I used to play the piano for many years and now this electric piano is on loan from my sister. The sofa is made in Finland and acts as a guest bed. The pillow cover is sewed from Marimekko fabric, designed by Noora Niinikoski & Piia Rinne. The rug is made by my skilled mother.”

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Image above: “This table is made by Jukka and his father and the legs are from Hay. The chairs are old ones that we have gotten from here and there, some of them we’ve painted and some are waiting for it. The ceramic lamps are by Iina Vuorivirta and bought from the lovely Lokal shop in Helsinki. The Amazon Lily in the grey pot is a descendant from one that used to belong to my grandmother.”

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See more of this Helsinki home after the jump…

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Image above: “We got this old chip basket/box from my parents and use it as a sofa table. On top of it is a tray from Hay, a housewarming present from dear friends. During summer the door to the balcony is always open so we can enjoy the breeze that flows through the apartment.”

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Image above: “Jukka’s grandmother was working at the J. Tirkkonen textile store in Tampere where these boxes are from. There they were used for keeping fabrics. The lamp we got from my sister about ten years ago (she is an architect and lighting designer). The blanket is also knitted by my mother.”

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Image above: “We enjoy reading magazines such as The Weekender (well, that’s mainly for Jukka since he’s the one who speaks/reads German). The marbled notebook I bought at the Aalto University Christmas sale and the riso-printed Gelatology booklet under it is by the great Venice-based Studio Fludd.”

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Image above: “Our kitchen is waiting for a renovation, hopefully we get our hands on it during next winter! The rug is weaved by my mother. There’s also a tea towel from Hay and another one from Tokyo. The Pehtoori coffee pot by Arabia used to belong to my grandfather.”

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Image above: “Cards from friends and family on our fridge. From Japan, Nepal, Germany, New Zealand, Great Britain, Canada and Norway! The one with the foxes is by our dear friend and talented illustrator Hana Akiyama, below it is a card by the great Le Train Fantôme, and cards by Antti Kalevi and Stine Belden Røed.”

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Image above: “The teapot is from Hakusan and the cups are from Japan, too. The potholder is by At Swim-two-birds. The table cloth is a flea market find and so is the candle holder.”

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Image above: “We have a separate bedroom now, but are considering whether or not to merge the room with our kitchen! In the summer, the evening sun shines here beautifully. We have a bed spread crocheted by Jukka’s dear grandmother and the wooden chest is made by my father. The curtains are made of Marimekko fabric, designed by Jenni Rope. The poster is by Debbie Carlos and reminds us of the mountains and forests of Japan.”

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Image above: “The lamp is a flea market find and the color fits perfectly into this apartment that originally had similar colors in it.”

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Image above: “Our clothes rack, a mix of vintage, handmade and A.P.C. mostly.”

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Image above: “Some boxes in our bedroom and Jukka’s vintage Façonnable sunglasses. You can see a peek of an Atelier Bingo card, Hanna’s DIY necklace and a Minä Perhonen brooch.”

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Image above: “Jukka got some more toys this summer and he’s very happy about them. The fabric on the old chair is by Johanna Gullichsen.”

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Image above: “When we moved in we painted everything white except this wall in the hallway. Now we are thinking about painting it in a bit different shade of grey :) The coat hooks on the wall are The Dots by Muuto. There’s a WOOD WOOD cap and a summer hat from a flea market and a card made by my sister Heli.”

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Image above: “My desk and my August-poster on the wall.”

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Image above: “We are thankful for our small but lovely balcony and we grow some flowers and herbs there. Usually during summer we are away from Helsinki quite a lot so unfortunately the plants suffer from our traveling! We are happy to have some animal friends, such as hedgehogs and rabbits, visiting the yard under our balcony and lots of birds and squirrels live around here, too.”

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  • It’s great that you have so many things that used to be in your families. Really nice to get stylish hand me downs! Your mother seems to be an awesome artisan too :)
    Lucky lucky. Love the art, might get some of that for our place here in holland…

  • Alexandra, happy to hear that. Wishing you an inspiring fall!

    Eva, yes we are thankful for those treasures we’ve got. And thankful for my great mother :) Greetings to Holland!

    Ellen, perhaps some day :)

  • I think one of the things they love most about their home is the peaceful surroundings and view from their windows. Perhaps inspired by the laid-back vibes of the neighborhood, they have opted to keep things simple in terms of their approach to decorating, resisting the urge to make quick decisions and instead seeing what feels good over time. It’s superb article. I really like this article. Keep it up.

  • Ram, it’s the Mopho keyboard by Dave Smith Instruments. It’s a wonderful analog monophonic synthesizer that turns into a polyphonic one when combined with the Tetra synth (behind it) by the same company.

  • Uhh… so that “oh this old thing, it’s a family heirloom we’ve picked up along the way blah blah blah” doesn’t work! Those chairs (which I love and very much appreciate the ingenious idea of bringing together in every color) in the dining room are Salt Chairs that you can get from DWR.

    • Lily,

      I’m afraid you’re wrong. The Salt chair has 7 spines in the back and these have 6. These are indeed chairs they’ve found. I never understand why people feel the need to knock people or think they’re lying. They’re not.


  • I see a string shelf in the living room. Any recommendations on where one of that size can be sourced in the US?

  • Stacy, thanks! Maybe we’ll paint a wall or two with some colour in the near future :)

    Alisa, I’m so happy to hear, thank you! August posters are at the moment sold out from my web shop but available soon again.

    Lily, sorry to hear you think so. I don’t see why I should lie about such thing. Probably you can find similar kinds of chairs from many places.

    Anna Emilia, jee nice to have you visiting <3

    Grace, thanks for clearing it out :)

    Liz, hope someone can help you with that! We ordered from http://www.finnishdesignshop.us and they ship to US too…

  • Hello there. Beautiful home, thank you for sharing! Could you tell me what you’ve used for the flooring? I’m considering a revamp in our little house. Thank you!

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