Step Inside Maiju's Delightful Home in Vaasa, Finland

I once visited Helsinki in November and was greeted with a sign that said "Nobody in their right mind would come to Helsinki in November. Except you, you badass. Welcome". It's since been hailed as one of the greatest tourism posters ever made! With temperatures hovering around 3 - 4 degrees Celsius in Helsinki this week, they certainly have a point. But there's also a certain beauty to Finland in wintertime, especially if you travel a little further afield. Maiju Saha, husband Janne and three children Paavo (12), Aina (7) and Theo (3) moved to a house in Vaasa on the south west coast of Finland two years ago. Dating back to 1941, Maiju has transformed the house into a beautiful oasis with deep green, blue and grey accents, while ensuring the original features remain intact. The result is a calm, cosy home and a perfect base from which to explore the city, nearby Kvarken archipelago and forests as well as experience the Northern Lights! 

I love this window nook; it looks so cosy and is a great way to capitalise on extra space so that the dining area doesn't take up too much space. The beautiful lamp over the table is a le Klint

Maiju designed the kitchen herself and got it built by a local carpenter. The cabinets have been painted in NCS S7005-G20Y and the walls in Tikkurila 'Merino'. 

The dining area has been painted in Jotun 'Tidløs'. The table is from Finnish firm Peltola Oy and the chairs are a mix of Ton Banana chairs and the Nattavaara chair from Jotex (which only appear to be available in black now). 

But my eyes are on that daybed (which Maiju built herself) - what a perfect little spot to chill! 

Source a similar vintage rattan side table here* (I love this plant stand* but since it's vintage, there's only one. Hurry if you're keen!)

Maiju has painted the living room in Farrow & Ball 'Old White' and used neutral accents and a large rattan rug (this one is similar) which adds a load of depth and texture to the space. 

The pretty wallpaper in the stairwell is Arbutus Woad 7 Russet by William Morris

If you are as taken by Maiju's lovely home as much as I am,  you might want to follow her delightful instagram @maiju_saw and blog Maiju Saw. Her DIY and ikea hacks are great (can you spot the ikea hack in this tour? You'll find the answer and step by step here - it's translated into English at the bottom of the post). 

It'd be rude not to share a few other Finnish home tours with you today:

This post has really got me in the mood for a trip to Finland, I hope an opportunity crops up soon! Have you ever been? 

Hauskaa päivan jatkoa! (I hope this means 'have a nice day' in Finnish!). 


Photography: Maiju Saha, shared with kind permission

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Your 2020 Off-the-grid Getaway: Nolla Cabin In the Helsinki Archipelagos

Hello! Happy new year! I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing break? Is anyone else back at work today and feeling as slow as anything?! I'm on my third coffee and nothing seems to be happening (send more caffeine!)! All the same, I think 2020 is going to be a fabulous year, don't you? I thought I'd kick it off with a tour of the magnificent yet basic Nolla Cabin, a 20 minute boat ride from Helsinki. What fascinates me, is that it's a cabin of two halves. It's both tiny and big at the same time. Located on Vallisaari island and measuring 9m2, it offers views over the beautiful Helsinki archipelago which is home to over 1000 butterfly species! Finnish designer Robin Falck's intention was to inspire visitors to come and enjoy the Nolla (meaning zero) cabin while living with a minimal footprint. Read on to feel inspired!

The little cabin is equipped with two camping beds, along with a Wallas stove for cooking and heating (the stove runs on Neste MY Renewable Diesel provided by the host).  

The electricity is generated by solar panels on the roof (we're warned that supply might vary!) and has no wifi - but with views like that and an island to explore, I think we can all agree that it's hardly needed! 

Visitors are encouraged not to bring packaged foods and cosmetics in order to comply with the zero-waste ethos. 

Also, being off-the-grid, the cabin doesn't have running water BUT fresh water is available at the guest port 400 metres away and there's a dry loo on the island too - phew

What about a shower? With the beautiful waters of the Helsinki archipelago on your doorstep you have all the cleansing water you might need (depending on the time of year and quoting Per: 'it's OK once you're in - and great once you're out!'). Hmmm...

Up for the challenge in 2020? 

The Nolla Cabin is only 20 minutes boat ride from Helsinki. The best news of all? Finnish renewable energy company Neste is donating the rent to the The Ocean Cleanup, who develop advanced technologies to rid the world's oceans of plastic. 

You can book your stay here

While on the subject of Finland - I think it's pretty cool that the country has recently sworn in prime minister Sanna Marin. At 34 years of age, she is the world's youngest serving state leader. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe one of her first policies is to reduce the working week to four days and enjoying a six-hour workday. Which potentially means more time to spend at places like this! I think I need to have words with the Swedish PM!

Up for a little more Finish design today? I love:

Have a lovely day friends, it feels good to be back! 


Photos courtesy of Airbnb

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The Happy, Vibrant Home of a Finnish Designer

Finnish designer Pinja Rouger, her French husband and two daughters recently returned from a stint in the USA, setting up home in a traditional 1940s log house just outside Helsinki. When they moved in, the house was in need of a modern update. The pair have slowly set about renovating it room by room, adding their own fun, colourful stamp while being careful to retain the traditional charm. I caught up with Pinja to find out more about Finnish design, her love for colour, and their vibrant, happy home! 

Above: a Papu X Hakola pouf sits beside an iconic Ball Chair designed by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio. 

Day Velvet armchair by Hakola, rug from Anthropologie, The Botanical Shelf (designed by Pinja) 

Who is the driving force behind the interior? 
We both work in the product design industry, but I would say I'm more into interior design. I love to use colours, pastels and bright colours and like to have fun with my home interior. 

What do you do for a living?
I've worked as a product designer as well as a colour and material designer. At the moment I'm working as a freelance designer across the design field from graphic design to product and furniture design. A couple of years ago I designed The Botanical Shelf for house plants together with Rikke Kantinkoski (see her home here) - we were lucky to find a Finnish manufacturer: Adea.  

What does Finnish design mean to you? 
To me, Finnish design is a lot about functionality and purity of materials. Although I've always been a big fan of Marimekko and their bold use of colour and pattern. I would say Finnish design is a bit of a combination of pure functionalism and minimalism with a fun twist. Us Finns love simple, Scandinavian style, but we're not afraid to play with bold details and colour either. 

Above: Iconic Finnish design pieces such as the Marimekko Siirtolapuutarha teapot and Iittala Alvar Aalto vase sit beside books and other treasures. 

Above: IKEA glass cabinet, Eames rocker (RAR)*

Would you say the products you design are typically Finnish? 
When working on a design I want to be conscious about the design production process and strive to understand how the production process can be made more sustainable and simple. I think this is how a lot of Finnish designers think. We like to use natural materials and simplify the production process - for example, in furniture design we use a lot of wood. Recycling is also close to my heart and I like finding old furniture to renovate. 

How do you transfer your love for colour into your home?
I'm a person who always picks the colourful option and not the safe grey or black. Many colours inspire me. About ten years ago, I went to buy white kitchen tiles and I spotted bright red and glossy red tiles and I knew I had to have them! To me, colour makes things look more interesting and fun and I love to play with different colours and find new combinations. Also the material always affects how the colour appears and I love the tonalities even just one can colour can give depending on the material, light, surface and space. 

Have you always been into interior design?
I got much more into interior design when I started my blog (Pinja Colada) around 8 years ago. For me, it's always been a channel for inspiration, to get inspired and give inspiration.

Above: vintage Artek 69 chairs*, Berså wallpaper by Borås Tapeter

Thank you so much for inviting us into your wonderful home today, Pinja! 

You can see more pics of her vibrant family home over at Pinja Colada (don't miss the DIY ideas!) and on instagram: @pinjacolada

There's a ton of other Finnish homes to be found in this archive too!  

Anyone else feeling massively inspired by the colours in this home today?


Photography: Pinja Rouger
Affiliate links marked with *

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A Finnish Collector's Home Full of Vintage Treasures

I've posted a LOT of Finnish homes on here in the past, but never one like this! Stepping inside Pauliina's home in Harjavalta, Western Finland is like stepping back in time."I love 50's and 60's furniture and get so much inspiration from a thrift store," Pauliina tells me. "Usually I don't want to buy anything new, I try to find everything thrifted." The fruits of Pauliina's search have resulted in a unique home full of vintage treasures with pops of pink, blue and yellow accents. Don't miss her very pretty, very fluffy cats too!

I love this pair of brass cranes, I spotted similar ones at Hotel Henriette in Paris. This corner of Etsy is a great place to pick up a pair of your own.

The walls have been painted in code G370 from Tikkurilas and the floor is dotted with pretty rag rugs (traditional floor coverings made from leftover fabric scraps). 

"One of my favourite pieces is our coffee table in our living room. I also love our green armchair, it's designed by Olli Borg and is called 'Rondo'."

Keep a look out for an original version of the 60's Rondo chair on auction sites like Bukowskis. The light grey walls have been painted in Tikkurilas (code 1923) and the pink linen curtains are from IKEA (don't you love it when that happens? It's like when you ask someone where their dress is from and they say they 'bought it yesterday in H&M' - result!

The retro style wallpapers have been sourced from BoråsTapeter and Pihlgren&Ritola.

"The three best places to find lovely vintage items in Finland are Pimee vintti, Wanha mari and in summer time there are many good outdoor flea markets here in Finland. You can find the schedule here (in Finnish only)." Pauliina.

How pretty does Pimee vintti look? It's a little like the area I visited for my book The Scandinavian Home and I've been dying to go back ever since!

This guest room is full of 50's / 60's floral prints - and looks right at home in the house built in the same era.  

Aaaaa, I really loved looking around this home, it was like going in a time machine, right down to the last detail (did you spot the retro radios?!). If you have a spare moment today you must visit Pauliina's instagram feed and blog where there are hundreds more pictures of this space and snippets from the homes of similar minded vintage bargain hunters! 

Does this home inspire you to go hunting for vintage treasures?!

For more retro vibes today check out the relaxed Antwerp home of a creative duo, Tamsin Flower's cheerful London Home and a pared-back Australian beach house with a retro vibe. These are all such wonderful homes - I love them all! 

Have a lovely day!

Photography: Pauliina

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A Clutter-free Finnish Home with the Loveliest Childrens' Rooms

I seem to be going through a contemporary Finnish phase right now: there's something about the light, minimalist style in particular that feels like a real mid-week breath of fresh air. Do you feel the same? If so you'll love one of my latest finds: the home of Melina, Niko, children Minea and Noah and French bulldog Pablo. The newly built open-plan house has been decorated in shades of white, light grey, tan and beige and is full of light and completely clutter-free (it's the kind of place that even the mess looks pretty) and yet feels family friendly too (the kids rooms rock!).  Ready to take a peek?

Faces No1 Poster, the cushion looks similar the Malmen velver chestnut one I have in my bedroom and you can just see a glimpse of the lovely Saxe lounge chair. Tips on sofa in the comment section welcome (it looks very much like the Bolia one I used to have).

I love this combination of the black string shelving system against light wood - so striking! 

Nordström sell a canvas play tent like this one. 

What a dream bedroom?! From the gym equipment (from Suomen Voimistelurenkaat) to the rain drop wall stickers (these are fairly simple to make yourself but you can also pick up some just like these) and of course, the bed (made by Niko).

Photography: Melina / Mini Show

And there you have it, a contemporary, clutter-free home that's perfect for children.

Anyone else thinking of attacking their home with a black bin bag?!

See more pics of Melina's home over on her blog and instagram feed - where she also shares children's clothing finds, toys and recipes (yes, she also bakes a mean cake) -  it's in Finnish, but there's always good old google translate! And as always there are a load more wonderful Finnish homes to explore right here too.  

Hyvää päivän jatkoa! (I hope this means 'have a great day' in Finnish...).

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