Monday, June 27, 2011

Finnish carpet art

Just trying out some patterns...

Today, after 7 years of planning, I finally made it to Hurissalon matto ja tekstiili, a carpet workshop located in Puumala, Finland. The two engines behind this, Irja Piskonen and Kirsi Hulkkonen, are true artists. We have so much to be proud of, my dear fellow Finns.

Almost shoes

WOOL in its many forms

This beautiful work is carried out in an old barn.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

räsymatto, puuvillamatto, käsinkudottu matto, mattokutomo

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Flower garlands

Don't you just love fresh flowers? This was now the second midsummer I managed to have time to PYSSLA (this Swedish word is perfect for what I'm doing, real pyslaamista :), the English translation keeping busy doesn't tell it all, or perhaps it tells too much...) with ingredients found here on our yard. There's no talent or education or anything like that behind what I do, no technique either. But the end results are sufficient for a summer house! For the above one I've used only birch twigs as a basis, bigger ones on the bottom, and some Spiraea (angervo in Finnish) and Geranium (pelargonia) blossoms for color. Tie it with some yarn here and there, and Voilá!

Last year I had a bit more time (=youngest now 14 months was then 2 months), and made a long one for a long dinner table.

The nice thing is that when you have them overnight in a vase filled with water, they manage to stay quite fresh for 2 days - just enough for any celebration. And it's for free, so no need to worry about the 100 euros you spent when you purchase these from a professional.

There is a big difference, for sure:

The above three are from They are created by Francoise Weeks, which didn't surprise me, when I learned this - why is it that some people just have that certain something, and then you always end up adoring just THEIR work?

Nice ideas also at

kukka-asetelma, puutarha, kesän juhlat

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Smoke sauna

Again it is midsummer time in Finland...this hasn't been so nicely reported at BBC's Finland's midsummer madness, but I love the celebration! The sauna, nice BBQ, sparkling with strawberries, the midnight bonfires...

My husband is very fond of sauna, but the traditional smoke sauna (pictured here) we use for a bit more special occasions. The only reason for the occasional use is that it takes 6-8 hours to make it properly warm. I took a little head start for the decoration, as we received a big load of firewood yesterday on our yard, and I just had to try, if I can loosen the birch bark!

And I managed, even though I then later today found out that you should do this during the spring when the sap of the tree is still in the trunk. Anyway - one thing led to another, I cut out some hearts, and it turned into a door decoration. Simple, but very midsummer!

My father-of-law was here a few days back, and when he had left, we found 6 of the below bath whisks on the porch. Couldn't wait until tomorrow to use them :)! We use the vihta or vasta, made of fresh, preferrably young birch twigs, to beat ourselves to get the blood circulating in sauna. Sounds very medieval, but the scent of birch leaves is delicious in the sauna!

Our smoke sauna is built on a rock, and it looks like a small, centuries old hut. Designed and built by Kuortaneen hirsitalot, a bunch of talented guys from Pohjanmaa, the western part of Finland, it really fits the Finnish nature.

Have a good Midsummer!!

juhannus, savusauna, mökkisauna

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer living

We are parked now for 6 weeks at our summer house, so the posts for this time will be of summer living only. Hopefully you enjoy with us :)!

We were finally able to have the opening of our 'Lexington' summer living-room! It is a bit tricky always, as the weather isn't the easiest in this nordic corner of the world...

But - as I've had the great opportunity to live in the south for years - I don't give up.

First our balcony was an open space without ceiling, and was never used. Well, we would carry the dining table outside a few times every summer, but that was basically it. When this happened, we always had so many people over, that it needed to be the big dining table, and in this case it was even a bit tricky to move in the balcony. So after dinner or lunch or whatever, we would carry the table back inside.

With time we realized we need a ceiling for this climate. So we built a glass one, which turned out nicely. And I figured - we spend only a few hours a day eating, so why carry the table outside? Let's have our living room there instead! We had excess furniture from the times we were living in Turkey, so now, we have 2 living rooms! And it really works nicely! We love the space with just right amount of shade, view to the lake, and lots of light! Here's couple of other ideas, there's tons of them, but really not so many from Scandinavia.


This is in UK - but who carries everything inside every time it starts raining? I've learned to use our sauna - if the cushions are soaked, couple of hours in a hot sauna does wonders...


A gazebo is a nice idea for those who have space, but no chance to build a ceiling for the terrace for one reason or the other. We bought ours from Bauhaus for a very reasonable price. It is possible to take it down for the winter, and the ceiling and side curtains hold rain.

I guess you can get the gazebos in all styles and sizes, and in all imaginable price ranges.


terassi, patio, kesäterassi, terassin sisustus, kesämökin sisustus

About hay poles


When my generation was little, these were such a common view in Finland - hay poles on the fields! I don't think anyone could've thought then that there will be a time when we will be purchasing the poles in the internet (whatever that would be...), one by one, and thinking of things to make of them. (Well, I'm sure no-one could think of those huge, white, plastic dinosaur eggs we see now-a-days on the fields, either...)

They are great for summerhouse - perfectly weathered, and if made nicely, like my stack is, you can use them almost for anything! Here are some ideas:

The common bamboo has turned into hay pole...these you can buy in the internet on various sites for 50-65 euros, if you don't want to make them yourself.

The wood rack we got custom-made by the local artisan, as it needed to be fitted exactly both sides of the chimney of the fireplace.
Lantern - or flowers...

This is also a nice idea - I think I will be using a larger rack for beach towels - they are always all over the summer place hanging, and MIGHT BE if we have a dedicated place for them somewhere beside the stairs from the lake, at least once a summer the towels could be found there...

Kesämökin sisustus, heinäseiväs

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


The wonderful UHTUA Jouki

There's a lot of WOOD in interior design now-a-days. The natural, rough-looking, real thing. I like it. But you know what? So far my mind hasn't adjusted to the thought of having these items in the appartments in the city. Or even a house in the suburbs. They just kind of belong to the summer house, or your mountain hut, or a skiing resort in Lapland. Perhaps the Finnish takkahuone (fire-place room) where you spend time after sauna and cool off, could welcome these, but even that hardly.

But here - YES!! On the porch of a smoke sauna beside a lake - that's where it belongs.

Or this in a boat house:

Skönahem 072011

Feel free and think I don't have a fresh vision on this! It just looks - well, too TRIED to have something different. I guess a few years back it would've been called 'he just doesn't have an eye for home decor', but now its IN. It is like having a crystal chandelier in a log house, just the other way.

Skönahem 072011


Sisustuksen trendit, sisustustrendit, puupöytä, puupölkky pöytä

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


It's been a week since I posted something - forgive me!! It's been kinda hectic. Today was a beautiful morning in Stockholm, especially in the garden! Look at all the flowers - they are really starting to bloom!

My grey-tones season is getting stronger and stronger, and in these pictures you see partly why - it just gives a perfect background for flowers!! You can almost see the flowers popping OUT of the pictures, as the contrast to grey is so strong.

Below a little more toned, but as beautiful:

A Swedish chain Granit has a great selection for garden this summer. Their style is very basic and to the point. The founders, Susanne Liljenberg and Anett Jorméus, established the company to have some order for things, and they really have perfectly kept their line. The prices are not cheap, but very reasonable. You kind of need everything they have, don't you :)?


Puutarha, kesäpuutarha, kesäinen puutarha, kesäkukat

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Enja Vironmäki 2002

60s style by Enja Vironmäki - Avotakka 05/2002
 Here is some true customer service - I contacted the oldest Finnish interior design magazine Avotakka to ask, whether I could get the articles by Enja Vironmäki. It turned out that she has worked on so many stories that it would be impossible for them to send them to me. But they kindly sent me a list of all the magazines she has had articles in during the past 2 decades!

Talk about great customer experience - even though I've felt for some years that Avotakka hasn't really been on the edge (perhaps because I'm following a number of international editions, or because I've lived outside of Finland for 9 years, I don't know) Avotakka is again on my monthly reading list.

So - I get all magazines 1998-2010 from my Mom, and they are downstairs W-A-I-T-I-N-G for me to dig in. You know what? Perhaps this is no news to some of you, but I was a bit surprised - it really hasn't changed that much in 13 years. There was a number of items I could've purchased even today - especially textiles. Okay - the walls at the summerhouse are not natural pine anymore (of course they are, but just not in the magazines), the walls at home aren't yellow (according to trends autumn/winter 2012 they again will be...), and foremost: the quality of the photos in the magazines is excellent compared to these 10 years ago, and THE PRICES OF THE PRODUCTS HAVE SKY-ROCKETED!! Imagine - the Le Klint pendant (pictured below) sold for 167 € in 2002 - currently we are talking over 700 €!! Inflation my a***.

70s by Enja Vironmäki - Avotakka 05/2002
And - the mystery of Enja Vironmäki, why I like her style so much, that is, is slowly starting to unravel. First of all - SHE is on the edge. She wrote these articles 9 years ago, but could've published them today! Second of all - I've been reading Avotakka all my life, and she's been writing in the magazine as long. So I guess she is one of the people who have more or less defined what I learned to appreciate. And third - I just happen to like the same things she does. It is as simple as that. For example - those Tsaikka-glasses in the above picture are on my must-have vintage items -list (provided to my mother-in-law who enjoys auctions) since 2 years.

An article by Enja Vironmäki I found in Avotakka 03/2002...The Vaavi-babygrid produced by Sokeva (association for visually disabled producing a number of products in Finland), still available from ROKA-TUOTE (the base is still made by Sokeva) in the picture below is one where me and my siblings have spent our first months. The same babygrid goes around in my husbands larger family from cousin to cousin as new babies are being born. My husband has slept in it, and so has his siblings. To those planning to have a baby, and living in Finland - get this bed! It is light, you can move it around in the house, and it is just...right.

Sokeva VAAVI -babygrid - Avotakka 03/2002
Another article in Avotakka 04/2002 - here is a nice idea for bathroom! Buy some cheap, tall flower vases, and stick your bathroom necessities, like cotton balls and hair-rollers, in them!

Avotakka 04/2002