Oct 28, 2012


Considering we live in Finland, an extremely important milestone was achieved today. The sauna stove stones were returned in their place, and the sauna steam room was heated up for the first time. Thanks to the previous owner and the two big pine trees taken down earlier, we have tons of wood to burn both in sauna and upstairs fire place. Yes, sauna was fantastic! And yes, it is absolutely true what they say, you can indeed tell the difference between the electric and wood heated stove!

First sauna fire

Oct 26, 2012

Boxed lights

The bathroom is almost done. Functionally, it is fully operative, and what is left now is to finish a few little details to give the space some character. Tonight Pekka was working on the lighting. The fluorescent tubes providing indirect light were already in place, and what needed to be built was the housing around them. First, L-profiles were glued with Sikabond (of course!) on each side.

L-profiles up
Next, sheets of Lexan were put in place supported by the L-profiles. As the light provided by the fluorescent tubes was quite bright, two layers of shading sheet on top of Lexan was used to dim the light down a bit.

One side done

As there is now so much more to clean, in terms of space as well as the mess we continue making, we decided to call in some help and made a deal with a professional cleaning lady who would come in twice a month and help us with cleaning. Tonight was the first night she was over, and she spent 2.5 very efficient hours cleaning the sauna, bathrooms, as well as the floors up and downstairs. As demonstrated below, the bathroom looks fantastic after her visit!! 

Freshly cleaned bathroom

Oct 24, 2012

Kitchen update

Every now and then, someone asks us about the kitchen. "When will it be ready?" or "Are you still surviving with a microwave and a water boiler?". Therefore, we thought it would be appropriate to post an update. No, the kitchen is not ready yet. And no, we do not exactly know when it will be. But as Lao Tzu wisely put it: "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." So will be our kitchen. Sooner or later.

Kitchen to be - what a good place to store unpacked moving boxes!

Oct 23, 2012

One sunny morning

An exceptional thing happened one morning. The sun was up. After countless rainy mornings, it felt somehow strange and refreshing. Immediately, we took the opportunity and shot some pictures of the living room, and wanted to share a few.  

Two Charles & Ray Eames designs: LCM (low chair metal) and the Lounge Chair
In the lounge end of the living room, there are a few different chairs designed by Charles & Ray Eames and made by Herman Miller. Near the window is the Eames Lounge Chair. This particular item is from the late 1960's, and it is made of Brazilian rosewood, the original wood used in these chairs. Interestingly, we also happen to have another one of these loungers. This one, from the early production series from 1956, just miraculously appeared to the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport customs from Chicago. Currently, it lays in the basement disassembled for restoration. Naturally, the whole restoration process will be shared with you in the future postings...

Genie in a bottle?
There are three artistic glass pieces on the Cadovius book shelf introduced earlier. These items, each about 50 cm tall, were found in a Finnish auction house some months ago. As you can imagine, they were painfully tricky to transfer home as well as to move over to the new apartment. Fortunately, they made it unharmed and in one piece.  We have absolutely no idea of their origin, but they were just too beautiful to pass by!

Can you spot Urho?
It is not our intention to block the beautiful big windows with the big white sideboard in the kitchen. Currently, it has two temporary functions before it will be moved. First, it provides a sunny place for our chilis to grow (thank you A&M) and second, it blocks Urho's access to our favorite lunch, noodles. The sideboard doors must remain closed at all times, otherwise when bored, Urho will take the opportunity and unpack a noodle bag or two...

Oct 22, 2012


Plastic tarpaulin serves its purpose in terms of providing privacy, and one can even live with the fact that it looks rather ugly. A definite downside of such curtains, however, is the noise. Every time when you walk by, the airflow generated moves these curtains, and they make a rather spooky noise behind you. As if there was someone else in the room - "sneaking". So for the three bedroom windows, we had ordered blinds, and a few days ago they arrived!

Three blinded bedroom windows
Inside out
So now the windows look much better, and we can hide the renovation mess behind them and this way give a (false) impression of the apartment being ready, clean and organized. But the noise remains, as it will be a while before we have a sliding door in the master bedroom. Until then, guess what they "door" is made of? The very same plastic tarpaulin!

Not fully confident the newly installed security system will keep all the unwanted visitors away, Urho has taken over some guarding duties. But only when it is not cold. Or raining. Or no one is eating anything inside. Or when he just feels like lying on the couch or in front of the fireplace...

Oct 16, 2012

In it comes, out it goes

We are thrilled to report significant progress in the bathroom! All the tiling is ready, sauna has been reassembled and the sauna door replaced with a new glass door. The guys have been also working with the ceiling, and about one third of it is already up, rest of it waiting for the electricity work to be completed.

Piece of ceiling
And lo and behold, today there was also light! In the shower room, we chose to go with indirect light provided by two fluorescent tubes on each side of the room. The tubes were installed today, and instantly we were happy with the decision.

Lights and the ceiling frame
View from below
Regarding sauna, we were wondering if any one of you would have some useful insights in terms of painting tiles frequently exposed to heat? As the colors of the shower room are white, black and wood, we would like to follow the same palette also in the sauna room. The floor being black, the seats and part of the walls wood, it would be an obvious choice to paint the tiles white. Thoughts, ideas?

Sauna - reassembled
Somehow it feels like such a significant step to have an operational shower room with running water - in it comes, out it goes. Guess it really boils down to the simple pleasures in life: after some weeks of taking advantage of kindness of our friends, workplace and gym locker room showers, it just feels fantastic (and so easy!) to finally shower in our own bathroom!

Oct 11, 2012

Behind the scenes

We have come to notice living in an apartment being renovated requires a certain kind of attitude. Basically, one has to make a choice. Either you can let everything get under your skin, or alternatively you can embrace these very special times as an adventure, a source of several good stories. And later on, when you put those few more or less chaotic weeks into perspective, it is such a short time. That being said, we wanted to share a few entertaining details of our everyday life...

Bedroom curtains
As all the windows in the apartment, the bedroom windows are quite large, and they face directly to the front door entrance. While waiting for blinds to be installed, we found a thin plastic tarpaulin to be a very practical substitute for curtains. Not so pretty, but very functional from the privacy perspective. Also as you can see from the picture below, we had the security system installed (and not only the stickers!). It will be interested to see if Urho operates low enough not to strike too many false alarms.

Bedroom curtains, serving their purpose
Where do you need a big kitchen after all? As long as one has a microwave, water boiler and a toaster, as well as an appreciation for noodles and instant oatmeal, there is not much else one needs. Also, it all fits into a very small space, and whenever you get a real lunch or dinner, it tastes like heaven. Oh and instead of a fridge, all the cold stuff is kept on the terrace - thankfully the nights are pretty cold already!

Temp kitchen 
Downstairs guestroom
Welcome all visitors! We have been so eagerly advertising all of the space we now have to host house guests. Just a minor little detail - hope you don't mind a bit of renovation equipment and waste in the guest room! You should also see the chaos in the study room upstairs - another final frontier of the renovating gear, entry at one's own risk only!

"Welcome! Certainly we will find a place for your mattress!"
The sill of a bathroom doorway
You know how many people put a little sign on the bathroom door to indicate this is "the door you are looking for"? Well, we prefer a hand written indication, and since we currently lack all the doors inside the apartment (they have been sanded and painted and are just waiting to be installed), the obvious choice was to mark the sill instead. So, if someone has ideas how to remove black marker from laquered wood (other than sanding), please be kind to share!

Easy-to-find bathroom

Oct 6, 2012

Two (plus one) random shots

So far, we have posted quite a few pictures of the renovation project. Therefore, we thought it would be a refreshing change to introduce a few shots from one area which is already finished and currently being furnished, the living room.

A central piece of the living room is the Alanda coffee table by Paolo Piva for B&B Italia 1981. Pekka has been longing for this particular table for a while now, but being so large (120 x 120) there was no way we were able to squeeze it in to our old apartment. Besides, even if we find our tastes in terms of furniture is very similar in most cases, this table has never been on Minna's most wanted list. Miraculously one day, the table just appeared on our front door, as Pekka had hunted it down from ebay. It certainly stands out from the rest of our mid century furniture having an 1980's design language. However, as the living room has such large windows towards the atrium, in terms of the material the table matches the architecture of the apartment quite nicely.

Alanda coffee table

Another item in the living room is the Poul Cadovius Royal System. This wall unit made of plywood with teak finish is Danish design and dates back to 1955. We found it from a Swedish auction house and brought here into storage when we received the keys to the apartment. The modular system consists of several different shelves, drawers etc. but we only put some of them up for now. The assembly is still in process, as we just needed some shelf space to store some of the fragile items, so they wouldn't be harmed while moving in.

Cadovius Royal System
The progress made in all unfinished renovation projects has slowed down significantly, as Pekka needed to return to work, and Minna has two reasons slowing down her daily efforts. However, things are getting done slowly but surely. Also, Urho has come to discover some of the benefits of a bigger apartment and not having a proper kitchen. With an easy access to trash cans, when the opportunity arises he has been known to sneak and steal some lovely treasures. For instance, the other day we found an empty margarin box hidden behind the couch. Neither of us had never seen a box so clean, Urho had really done a through cleaning job!

"They made me lay here"

Oct 5, 2012

Meanwhile in the bathroom, part 2

In the last update from the downstairs bathroom (see: Meanwhile in the bathroom), one could witness the disappearance of the orange retro tiles. Since then, lots of things have happened downstairs, and we wanted to share some photos to show the progress so far. After ripping the tiles down, the walls were first spackled and sanded to gain an even surface.

Shower and the shadows
Shower tubing
Floorwork underway
The floor was also sloped to ensure the water flow towards the floor drain, and not to some unwanted direction. Afterwards, all surfaces were protected by moisture insulation.

Sloped floor
Finally, the surfaces were ready for some new tiles. We kept it simple here as well, for the walls we chose 30 cm x 60 cm Shiny White and for the floor 10 cm x 10 cm Upofloor Super Black. There will be some accents in addition to black and white, but we will return to those at a later time. So far, the walls have been covered with tiles and the joints are waiting for some grout (love all this new vocabulary!). Looks very different than the orange retro style before!

Walls all tiled

Oct 2, 2012

White tiles

Remember the little upstairs bathroom and the primer incident? Like so many things in life, looking back now one could say it happened for a reason. After getting rid of the old tiles, it was time to make some quick decisions between painting or tiling. We decided on the latter. We also decided it was time to get some help, as neither of us had ever done any tiling work before. 

The way it was
Again, we wanted to save the old floor and thus chose a white 20 cm x 40 cm tile to keep the color palette as simple as possible. As already seen at the entrance, white color really complements the old red tile floor. The bathroom still needs some finishing touches, mirror and some cabinets, but one can already see why we were no longer sad due to the primer mix up. Once finished, it will be so much better than the original.

Brand new bathroom walls
Another meeting point of old and new
Door frame waiting to be finished
As most of you probably know, everything slows down when you move in. "One thing at the time", is now the leading phrase. Some of the boxes have already been unpacked, and the new washer and dryer are operational and tested. Our temporary kitchen is actually quite functional, and the locations of the shower opportunities have been mapped. So, life is pretty good at the moment.

Oct 1, 2012

Home sweet home

It's done, the moving part. We have officially moved in to our new home. All our stuff has been transferred over, thanks to our wonderful relatives and friends, to who we owe our sincerest thank you for your kindest help! Without you - well, don't think one needs to even play with the thought. Simply, you made the impossible possible!

First lit of the living room fireplace
But what is not done is the renovation project. There is a million small and a few bigger parts to finish, before we even get to the fun part, the home decor. And before being able to continue with those unfinished projects, we need to make some room by unpacking and cleaning some of these moving boxes currently filling the place. So, rest assured, there will be many, many updates to follow...

However, it is FANTASTIC to finally be home!!