Walking into Robin Falck’s home is like stepping into a parallel universe, where having to choose between country and city life isn’t necessary. Robin, a Designer and Art Director, moved into his one-bedroom attic apartment in Helsinki four years ago. Although this type of living has become a popular way to increase housing supply in densely built city centers, there’s something very different about Robin’s home.
Built into the attic of a stately Jugendstil building in the late 70s, there’s no sign of the shiny and glamorous luxury living often associated with modern conversions. “This was one of the first attic conversions in the entire city and the 70s feel is evident throughout the apartment,” Robin explains. The most significant feature in this 485-square-foot home is the angled wood panel ceiling, which slopes all the way from one side of the apartment across to the other. “The ceiling is definitely the main reason why this home feels so much like a cabin. The antlers and deerskin on the wall obviously add to it as well.” Where the paneling is at its lowest, floor-to-ceiling windows stretch the length of the entire home. An equally long balcony adds valuable square footage and is in constant use during the warmer months. The indoor-outdoor style living makes it easy to forget that Robin does in fact live in the heart of the city — rooftops that partly cover the view toward the city’s archipelago are the only reminder.
When Robin moved in, he wanted to embrace natural materials and colors in order to create an escape from the hectic city life. A yellow wallpaper that had covered the walls was replaced with fresh paints in slate and white to create a bold yet natural contrast. “I really like dark surfaces and the mood that they set,” Robin shares. “The walls in our family’s summer cottage are painted a dark navy. Three generations have already got to enjoy that house. I have so many good memories from there and wanted to recreate that cozy feel in my own home.” Robin also decided to paint one wall with chalk paint. It’s the perfect spot for planning trips and events and for friends to leave their mark when they come over for a visit.
Creativity and heritage are as important in Robin’s home as they are in his work. Several items in the apartment have been designed and built by Robin himself. “In a lot of things I prefer old over new. Old things were made to last and had a clear purpose — no gimmicks,” he explains. He wants the things he creates to have similar meaning and value, and to make a difference. A passion for design and craftsmanship is evident in all Robin’s creations, including Nido, a micro-cabin he built in 2010. “My personal projects have all been equally important to me, but Nido has definitely been the most impactful.” It’s clear why Robin enjoys his cabin in the city as much as his cabin in the woods — they’re both the perfect escape. —Sofia