Oct 31, 2013

First time in print!

Quite recently, a Finnish home decor magazine "Avotakka" published a story about an industrial designer and his family collecting MCM pieces and integrating them into their every day life. Sound familiar?

Yes, the Olive Green Window has gone "off line" for the first time ever! We were really pleased and proud to see the finished piece, including the photos, text and overall layout. Thus we would like to take the opportunity to thank Soili Ukkola (the journalist) and Juha Juntto (the photographer), who we had the pleasure to meet and share thoughts about our home. It is always a pleasure to observe professionals doing what they do best!

"Surrounded by icons"

So if you are a Finn, or have access to Avotakka even outside Finland, check it out! It is written in Finnish, but the photos are very nice, even if you can't read the story. And you can always be entertained by trying to find the pictures Urho has managed to sneak into!

Oct 27, 2013

The Royal System

Recently we have talked extensively about the evolution of our dining set. Therefore, we thought it would be appropriate to spend a few more moments in the dining room and close with the last intrinsic item of this area - a wall hang storage unit, the Royal System designed by Poul Cadovius (1911-2011) next to the dining table. We have briefly mentioned this lovely teak-made storage unit before, but given its importance not only for us but also regarding the furniture produced in the MCM era it has simply not received quite enough attention yet.

Royal System by Poul Cadovius

Launched in 1948, the Royal System was one of the world's first ever wall-hung shelving sets. The clever idea that furniture should not take up any floor space was certainly innovative and as stated by Poul Cadovius himself the benefits of this system for the end user were evident: "Most of us live on the bottom of a cube. If we put the walls even with the floor, we get a lot of space to live on."

We have mounted the system up to the living rooms brick wall. This positioning is not a coincidence.  The fact that the system hangs up on the wall creates one of the greatest assembly restrictions. The unit is very heavy and it must be mounted on a wall that can withstand its weight.

Wall attachment 

At the time of its launch, the Royal System was considered ground breaking not only because of the wall-mounted concept, but also due to its other key design driver - modularity. The system consists of stringers, hangers, shelves and cabinets and it can be mounted on the wall in several different combinations and layouts based on owner's preference.

The above mentioned features combined with its teak styling typical for MCM era set ideal grounds for international success. From 1950's to the 1970's this system was perhaps the largest success the Danish furniture industry has ever presented.

Beauty dressed in teak

Originally the Royal System was produced at Poul Cadovius factory in Randers, Denmark and during the peak period of production the process employed up to 300 men. In addition to the Danish factory the wall system was also produced under a license in more than 30 countries.

Attention to detail

Even though the Royal system remains probably the most well known item designed by Cadovius, it is important to remember that during his career Cadovius's work resulted in over 400 patents - the last one at the age of 90, making him certainly one of the most influential players in the golden era of Danish design. We are glad we are able to witness the beauty and functionality of his work every day in a very prominent place of our home.

To close the story, let's move away from furniture and take a peak of a curiosity in the bedroom.  Recently we found a new cover for our bed. According to its function, during the daytime it covers the bed and in the evening it is removed and usually simply dropped on the floor next to the bed.

New bedcover

But consider yourselves warned: when visiting us in the autumn or winter time one needs to be extra careful moving around the house. Thou shall not step on any clothes left on the floor or sit on a pile of pillows on the sofa. Thou shall certainly not be too hasty in picking up the bed cover in the morning as it is very likely a sleepy, warmth-adoring surprise lies underneath...

A snoring surprise

Oct 25, 2013

Window washing

We love the huge windows in our apartment. Considering the function of a window, however, we would preferably also like to see through them. It is not only the pollen, dirt and rain which reduce the transparency of the windows, but for some reason the windows seem to get heavily decorated by some sticky fingerprints.

Leaving my mark

It is, however, unbelievable how sometimes it is just impossible to get things done. We had been postponing washing the windows for quite some time, and it was not until the weekend before a certain magazine focusing on interior decoration was coming over to take a few photos of our apartment, we were forced to tackle challenge of the super-dirty, nearly grey glass. The windows around the atrium were easily reachable, and thus quickly in pristine condition.

Professional at work

Tiny observer

The windows on the back of the apartment were a different story. Fortunately, we received a great tip where to get really good quality window washing tools with an extendable arm. If anyone living in Finland has a similar need, we warmly recommend to check out Pemic!

Aspiring higher

While Pekka was washing the windows outside, the rest of the team found it quite entertaining to observe the progress from inside the apartment. The investment in cleaning equipment was proven to be worth every cent. Seeing the difference was just amazing, and even if not perhaps the most interesting topic to write about, a few shots to record the difference between before and after were in order. Ah, the sun is shining in again!

Appearing from thin air?

Close up: after and before, side by side

Oct 23, 2013

Rocking chair

A very special piece we have not discussed yet is a wooden rocking chair Pekka found at a local antique fair almost two years ago, some months before Sofi was born. It was in a pretty good condition just in need of a through cleaning and some surface treatment, but otherwise ready for use. For quite some time, however, Sofi was way too little to enjoy her special toy. But now, at the age of 1.5 years, she finds the rocking chair quite intriguing.

Rocking and playing

She does not only love sitting in it and playing with her plastic horses, but she also loves rocking. And to be more precise, rocking in a serious way, as fast and far as possible, and preferably so that the top is left open. Knocking on wood - she has not fallen of her ride so far!

From the 1940's

We think the rocking chair dates back to 1940's due to how it looks like and based on Pekka's discussion with the seller. Of course we can't be certain, but it is clearly old and unique, we have not ran across a similar item in any of the live auctions or the internet sites. The wood work is beautiful, it has some very appealing shapes and details.

Back rest

Child proof (?) locks to lock up the top

Urho and Sofi have a very interesting relationship at the moment. When we were for example taking these pictures, Urho had to know that by positioning himself close to Sofi in swing action, he is risking his well being a bit. Mysteriously, however, despite of the inevitable risk he often prefers being in the centre of all action. And equally miraculously, between him and Sofi, there has been no major incidents of any kind, which has a lot to do with Urho's calm and easy character. Instead, a couple of times we have even observed a form of interaction between those two which could be called "playing together".

No need to react

Oct 19, 2013

Neither marble nor laminate

Back to our constantly changing and evolving dining set.

For a long time, our shared object of desire has been a Tulip table by one of the most famous Finnish designers Eero Saarinen (1910 - 1961). Introduced in 1958 by the manufacturer Knoll, the Tulip was part of the Pedestal collection, which consisted of several different sized tables and chairs.

Our dilemma has been that this beautiful table is available in various top materials, and we have had very divergent views on which one should we choose. Since the very beginning, Pekka has been insisting on marble, which Minna simply refuses even to consider preferring laminate instead. Finally after circling around the decision for months, the solution finally presented itself - once again in the form of an internet auction. Instead of marble OR laminate, it would be a Tulip with a teak top and black base.

Tulip, Cherners, Artichoke and yes - a dachshund.

The Dining Room Trio - the Tulip, the Cherners and the PH Artichoke really seem like a perfect match. First, it is remarkable that all three items date back to 1957 - 1958. Second, the black/wood color palette of the table and chairs complement each other in a very appealing way. Also, the oval shape of the table works really well with the shape of the Cherners. And the Artichoke is just simply fantastic. The only thing missing is a carpet underneath (we'll get back to that in due time).

The key design driver for the whole pedestal collection is the single base construction. In Saarinen's opinion under any table there usually was an ugly, confusing and unrestful world - the so called "slum of legs". With this notion he naturally referred to the conventional "four legs per item" construction which is very typical for furniture.

It took Saarinen and the product development team at Knoll five long years to finalize the revolutionary design. The single base construction creates an impression of a top loating in the air. It is actually quite amazing how a single, narrow base can steadily support such a large top as in the table we recently acquired. Measuring 245 x 137 cm our Tulip can easily accommodate 8 - 10 guests.

Single supporting base

It is actually funny that during all this time of intense collection of vintage furniture we have actually never owned an item by Saarinen or Knoll, which is one of the classic US manufacturers of design items for home, workplace and textiles. Founded in 1938 by Hans Knoll the company has produced several award winning designs by the top designers of the world.

For the 50th anniversary of the pedestal collection Knoll reintroduced rosewood (Santos Palisader) and teak table tops and subsequently made these line additions permanent. Items manufactured during the anniversary year (2007 - 2008) carry a special commemorative medallion. Ours seems to be one of these as indicated by the medallion underneath.

Anniversary label

Not only is the base construction remarkable visually, but its ingenuity becomes truly evident when the table is used by diners. The single base allows everyone to sit comfortably around the table without being distracted by table legs. Chairs can thus be added to any side or position around the ellipse whenever required.

There is, however, an (unfortunate) downside to all this. Ideally a table of this size is meant for eight guests, but we only have six Cherners. A chair hunt ahead, perhaps?


The Tulip has another curiosity we have noticed. The elliptical table top creates an interesting visual phenomena. If you look at it on the side, the oval shape "narrows" the table down making it visually very light. Subsequently, the 137 cm wide table looks smaller than it really is. However, when you move and look at the table directly from the narrow end of the ellipse, you can see how wide it actually is and how much space there is between the opposite diners to lay dishes or any other necessities.

Slim oval

Oval edge

The overall condition of the table is good, but based on little (spoon?) marks here and there, the table has been hosting some younger generation diners also in the past. Pekka already has a plan to treat the table, but it is very likely that no matter how successful he will be now, the marks will miraculously return, sooner or later.

And what happened to our old dining table? Well, as some of you might remember the table top was actually a DIY, whereas the legs are genuine parts from a table called the Super Ellipse, manufactured by Fritz Hansen. The legs have now been disassembled and are for sale. So if you are interested in a set of genuine Super Ellipse legs, with or without a table top please let us know!

Super Ellipse legs

Super Ellipse legs looking for a new home

Oct 17, 2013

Flower box NOT for sale

Remember our philosophy - not all pieces are meant to stay forever, occasionally you also need to be able to let go of something. This flower box made of solid teak and located in the corner of the living room will not be on that list. Ever.

Home of greens

Originally, it belonged to Minna's grandparents who also lived in a beautiful mid century modern style home next to the sea, quite close to our apartment. Then it travelled some 400 km north to Minna's mother's home and stayed there for some time. Eventually, it returned to the capital area and found a new home with us. Due to the family history, it has a significant sentimental value especially for Minna and is thus also carrying a non visible label of "not tradable".

Made of solid teak

The box is beautiful and just perfect in terms of size for our living room greens. Fortunately, Sofi's interest in plants (and especially in dirt) has somewhat reduced from its highest peak and the plants have remained relatively healthy and undestroyed. The box, however, is quite of a nice hiding place for some of the smaller toys. So in case of lost keys, the box is one of the obvious places to check. 

Oct 10, 2013

Temporary support

Project Downstairs is progressing, slowly. For once, the word "slowly" does not have a negative connotation, when referring to the pace of a renovation project. This time, there is absolutely no reason, need or budget to hurry.

On good days, the pace of progression is fine. However, there are occasional moments when especially Minna let's her mind wonder to times when we no longer need to wear shoes (or helmet) for downstairs excursions. The classical way to put it is: "before Christmas" - just leaving the year unspecified.

Temporary beam support structure

Most of the demolition work has been completed. The storage room walls are gone, as well as the reminders of the long gone arch. The ceiling is currently supported by temporary wooden beams, while waiting for the steel beams to arrive.

Holding up

Unlike the rest of us, Urho does not wear shoes when he goes exploring downstairs. He has recently discovered the undeniable benefit of an inside underground space. As you may remember, he is not too fond of rain and cold weather. But even in the changing and often unpleasant autumn weather conditions, the bones need to be hid in a place no one else would ever think of looking. So in to the basement he goes...

Caught (almost) red handed