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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?

Niki

Photography: Pinja Rouger
Affiliate links marked with *

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Suvi's Beautiful Modern Home on Finland's West Coast

Hei, Kuinta voit? ('hi, how are you' in Finnish I hope!). It's Friiiiday - woohooooo! I always find it so hard to concentrate at the end of the week, don't you? (it could be the thought of a G+T on ice just around the corner!). Tomorrow we're heading to the family cottage a little further up the coast where I'm hoping to take some long walks (the nature is beautiful up there). A girl after my own heart on the nature front is Suvi Melender-Lågland who lives on the beautiful West coast of Finland with her husband, children, Daniel and Fiona and two cats. Suvi's inspiring blog Valkoinen Harmaja and instagram feed features snapshots from her modern Scandinavian home peppered with intermittent pictures of the incredible nature that surrounds it. Let's take a peek inside Suvi's world!

Rocking chair, Round mirror: Save / splurge, Kähler Omaggio vase.



How would you describe your style? 
Modern scandinavian with a cosy twist.



What's your goal when it comes to decorating?
I want to create a timeless interior, which I spice up with small trendy items. Interior trends can be seen in textiles and smaller accessories.




Would you say your home is fairly minimalist?
I am not a minimalist in the strict sense. It is important to me that home feels cosy and inviting - not too styled.


Can you spot the TV?! Maybe my greenhouse make-over last summer might give you a clue?! It's the Samsung The Frame disguised as art!

If you had to pick one Finnish designer who would it be?
My all time favourite Finnish designer is Alvar Aalto.


I love Suvi's bedroom, it's so pretty! There's something about the combination of dusty pink bedding (this one is similar) against the St Paul's Blue by Jotun Lady wall colour. It also helps that one of my favourite lights (the Formakami by &Tradition) has also been thrown into the mix (remember it from this home?). 


The bespoke headboard has been painted in the same St.Paul's blue as the wall and doubles up as a shelf - such a clever idea when space is of a premium. I think I prefer this to the wall mounted shelf, there's something cosier about it, what do you think? Suvi has shared the DIY instructions here (in Finnish but the pictures are helpful!).

Do you have any tips for anyone looking to bring Finnish style into their home?
Use (Finnish designers) Aalto furniture and Iittala and Marimekko. Keep everything simple and minimalistic.


And finally, where would you recommend people to visit in Finland?
I would recommend spending time in nature - it is very inspiring! Beautiful areas in Finland can be found around the coast (we are just starting to build our summer house by the sea and the nature is so beautiful there!) as well as the East side where there are thousands of lakes. Lapland is a great place to visit in the winter. Visit Finland shares some great tips!



Thank you so much for inviting us into your world Suvi!

You can see more of Suvi's home over on her blog and instagram feed. I also featured her sitting room back in 2014 (it's gone through quite a big transformation since then!).  

In case you missed it, I shared another Finnish home earlier on in the week here - both homes have opted for blue in the bedroom but the one from earlier in the week has a surprising twist!

And finally, if you're looking for a simple way to incorporate Finnish style into your home, Suvi suggests adding a Finnish design piece, and one of these beauties are a great place to start:

5 Finnish Design Classics That look Great in Any Home





1. Artek A331 Beehive 2. Oiva teapot by Marimekko 3. Aalto Stool in Birch 4. Aalto vase 5. Block light

If you're into bold and bright patterns - Marimekko sells some really funky fabrics both for the home (check out this bedding!) and to wear (this skirt is pretty!). And of course, no mention of Finnish design would be complete without the Moomins! Who doesn't love the Moomins?!

Right. I think that's it from me for the week! I hope you have some great plans for the weekend! See you Monday campers!

Niki

All photography © Suvi Melender-Lågland
My Scandinavian Home posts include affiliate links. 

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An Idyllic Finnish Summer Cabin on the Water's Edge

Hello friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Here in Scandinavia, it looks like the summer isn't ready to give up on us just yet - and we're being treated to a last hurrah, with blue skies and sunshine. In honour of this, I'm excited to be taking you on a tour of a wonderful Finnish summer cabin. Perched on a rocky incline, overlooking the water, the timber cabin is situated on a secluded island close to Rymättylä, South Finland. Owner, Nina Ahonen - interior designer and stylist - has created a wonderful, laidback oasis, from which to switch off from the world and enjoy the magic of the surroundings. The cabin is accessed by boat from Helsinki. Here's a peek inside. 

How incredible! 

When we're out sailing (binoculars out!), I often spot idyllic cabins like this one on the various islands we pass. They always look so idyllic. 

Could you imagine wiling away a summer here? 

Other Finnish summer cabins and cottages to love: 


And for something more year-round with ALL the warm feels: 


Gaaah, take me to Finland (I'm currently obsessed with this country as I've just written an article for a magazine about Lapland - I promise to let you know once it's published!). It's such an incredibly varied country - from the summer paradise in the south, to the frozen Arctic Circle in the North where husky sledding and the Aurora Borealis await! 

Here's to an inspiring start to the week! 

Niki

Photography: Krista Keltanen, Researcher, journalist and stylist: Jonna Kivilahti - shared with kind permission.

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An Inspiring Finnish Home With an Element of Surprise

It was such a long while since I featured a Finnish home, wasn't it?! I have absolutely no idea why since I love Finnish style. In fact, one of the highlights of my second book The Scandinavian Home was that I got to visit Finland for the first time and photograph two inspiring homes. Naturally both had saunas (they are such an integral part of daily life that there are said to be more saunas in Finland than cars!) - but with one being in the countryside and one in the city the two styles were very different. The home of interior design and lifestyle blogger Sini Liikala, her husband and two children reminds me very much of the second place we visited. It's modern, bright and minimalist with a beautiful, large open-plan living space.  But it also harbours an element of the unexpected...

In the kitchen, sleek, white kitchen cabinets from Finnish brand Topi Keittiot  (IKEA sells similar) are broken up by a black mat faucet and sink (both Tapwell) . The shelves above are laden with ceramic and glassware including the classic Oiva Stoneware Teapot* by Marimekko (loving the gentle silhouettes).

I like how Sini has combined marble (the large square tiles are from Tarratinta) with wood flooring to create a distinct kitchen zone and add a lorry load of warmth! I'm not sure if you're thinking what I'm thinking: how about stubbing a toe in the night?! On closer inspection however, it looks like the wood floor has a soft gradual edge. The oak bar stools are from Hay and the lights are the Artek A110 pendant (FYI!). 






 "I think our home is quite a typical modern Finnish house. Nowadays people like to build modern houses with big open spaces, large windows and minimalist shapes. Although, I still think our home is quite unique and looks like us."




The family dining area includes some real Scandinavian classics including the Artek beehive light and wishbone chairs. I like how the inclusion of a black chair balances the dining area with the black door behind (US readers - check out Target's budget friendly look alike!). The white storage cabinet in the background (and below) is by Finnish brand Lundia.






"The best thing about our home is that we have a big open space which incorporates a kitchen, dining room and living room. It means we can all be together as a family but there is still enough space for everyone to do their own things if needed."



Despite the open space, Sini has created a cosy spot for the family to relax (I bet it's even toastier when the fire's going!) using layers of textiles (including a Beni ourain rug), plants and a raft of new nordic design pieces such as a pink Ferm Living Plant Box (I've got my eye on that, how about you?!) and the Around coffee table.

"I think that the best interiors come with time, and years bring different interesting layers to it. I usually buy furniture that I hope will last decades and tell the story of our home to our visitors."

 "Every interior guide says that all the rooms should be in 'perfect harmony' with each other to create a complete look. I am quite a 'safe' decorator who loves neutral tones but I wanted to have one room with a completely different look." 


To achieve the darker look,  Sini covered the back wall with bold floral wallpaper from Ellie Cashman Design (if you have the time you must check out this insta feed!). The rest of the room has been painted in Stiffkey Blue from Farrow & Ball. A rattan pendent from Bloomingville, and an IKEA bench and cabinet add a soft, light touch to the overall look.

"I really love our bedroom because it's like going to a completely different land! It's dark and kinda romantic and that's what I like in a bedroom. People are always so surprised when they enter the room! They're like "wow! this is awesome!" it's not what you'd expect from our home when you look at the other rooms. And that's why I love it so much, it's my hidden flower garden."



"We have black window frames so I figured black doors would go well with them. I also wanted to add an 'edge' to the interior since most of our walls are white. I have not regretted them, I love them!"


Thank you so much for inviting us into your home Sini! Love that you have broken the design rules and followed your heart - that's what makes a house a home - don't you think?

If you'd like to know where more of the items give me a shout in the comment section below and I'll do my best to help. Sini is also great at tagging her images over on instagram, so you can always check there too (and see more of her home over on her blog!)!

If you fancy taking a peek at more homes in Finland today, how about this home in a converted factory,  a living space where old meets new and the calm Finnish home of Anna Pirkola. Yup, the Finns know what they're doing when it comes to interiors!

A little bit of Finnish trivia for you too - did you know that when a baby is born in Finland they are given a box which includes every single item thing they might need for the best start in life? The box itself is designed to be slept in too! You can find out more about what it contains and why they provide it here (it makes for a fascinating read!).

Have a lovely day all!

All photography © Sini Liikala shared with kind permission. 

*My Scandinavian Home posts include some affiliate links.

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