Dec 23, 2013

And so it is Christmas!

Amazing how time flies, just can't believe it is Christmas again! This year, we are staying home and during the last few days have really enjoyed preparing our home for the festivities. With these few pictures, we would like to wish you all very Merry and Relaxing Christmas!!

Under the tree

Playing nice, of course

Like last year, Sofi and Urho wanted to also send a wish of their own:


Soon it is Christmas, we’d like to say hello
Sofi and Urho, the two tiny fellows
If you have a moment, we’ll happily share
Some past year’s moments, special and dear

Running, not walking, there’s no time to waste
Not without accidents are all races raced
Occasional scratch or a bump in the head
Are quickly forgotten, with ”Sorry!” been said

”Thank you” and ”rooster” are words that I master
Learning new cool things, faster and faster
Drawers and cupboards are filled with some treasures
So emptying them takes only quick measures

Mother and father, they seem a bit strange
Fixing and building, only constant is change
Upstairs is now ready, prized with some oohs
But downstairs you still need a helmet and shoes

Soon it is Christmas, time for Santa and elves
Nutmeg and ginger, all them wonderful smells
For Urho they’re fine, but instead of sweets
It is ham in his mind, it’s for what his heart beats

The Merriest Christmas we are wishing you all
Friends near and afar, both bigger and small
May the New Year be bright and fill dream or two
And bring us a chance to hear from you soon!

…and for our Finnish readers:


Taas vuosi on mennyt, mitä kuuluukaan meille?
Siitä halutaan pikkuisen kertoa teille!
On kumpikin meistä jo isompi vähän,
Hetkeks kiltisti istutaan kuvaan nyt tähän.

Leikeissä alkaa jo vauhtia olla
Joskus vingahtaa Mäykki tai kopsahtaa polla.
Lauletaan lauluja, polskitaan vedessä
tai köllitään yhdessä telkkarin edessä.

Juttu vähän jo luistaa, omaa tahtoa riittää
Mutta pöydästä noustessa osaan jo kiittää
Kengät ja vaatteet mä kaapista kiskon,
Pitkin eteistä kaikki ne ympäri viskon!

Nuo äiti ja isi on hassuja vähän
Remppa yhä vaan jatkuu, ei näy loppua tähän.
Yläkerta on valmis, siellä hyvältä näyttää
Mut alhaalla pitää vielä kypärää käyttää!

Kohta joulu taas koittaa, joka kulmalla tonttu
Ne kovasti kiehtoo, usein auki jää monttu
Joulun herkkuja miettii jo Mäykin mieli,
Siintää silmissä kinkku, lipoo nälkäinen kieli.

Iloista joulua toivotaan täältä
Niittykallion korkean mäen päältä
Rentoa oloa, yhteistä aikaa
Kynttilän loistetta, joulun taikaa!

Pian porojen saattue pukin jo tuo
Ihan jokaisen lapsen ja aikuisen luo
Rauhaa ja riemua kontissaan kantaa
Arjen pieniä ihmeitä lahjaksi antaa!

Wooden ornaments (by Alina Piu)

Dec 9, 2013

The Vision

Project Downstairs has finally reached a critical point. A point where all the demolition is (hopefully) completed and a brand new supporting steel structure is successfully installed and painted with primer. The main beam weighting more than 300 kg, the process was rather slow, but we are convinced it was worth the wait. In this update we would like to share a few thoughts regarding the downstairs aesthetics. Before going into details, let us tell you a bit about a house that has been a great inspiration for us during the process.

It is called La Cañada, designed by architect Jamie Bush and located in Sierra Madre in Los Angeles. If scanning through the images behind the link above please pay attention to the unhidden post & beam structure, open plan layout, color palette, materials and the general atmosphere. We find this simply stunning and we can identify several visual cues we would like to apply also for our apartment.

View to the windows

Just last week we had a meeting with the construction company and as we are now ready to move forward, it is time to define the downstairs aesthetics. In order to communicate our ideas to the construction team, Pekka 3D-modeled the space and made few quick renderings. Please, do not get distracted by any unfinished details as these visualizations are just rough sketches.

Rendering #1

By knocking down the old storage room walls, we generated an open lounge area of approximately 30 m2 in size. The color palette is synchronised with upstairs: white, wood and black accents. The challenge is the lack of natural light. Where upstairs natural light filters in through the huge windows, the downstairs window is relatively small and shadowed by the large overhang of the atrium terrace. Therefore, to maximise the amount of light the old wooden door will be replaced by a glass version.

View to the staircase

Some of the supporting structure will be left visible and to provide contrast, painted black. The floor will be slate with a natural layout, with floor heating added for comfort (currently, the pieces of slate are piled on the backyard). We are still contemplating what should be the color of the blaster between the slate pieces. Also, one of the biggest questions is the type / color of wood of the paneling underneath the indirect lighting. We like teak a lot, but it might just be a little too dark. We'll see.

Rendering #2

Additionally, we remain a bit unsure whether one of the doors should be red or not. Colored doors were actually widely used in MCM architecture, and if you look at the La Cañada shown earlier, it also has some red doors. It would be tempting to spice up the lounge a bit as the rest of the elements, such as stone and wood have a natural origin.

Ever wonder what happened to the circular staircase we found last summer? Currently, disassembled, sand blasted and painted  black, it is patiently waiting for to be installed in our garage.

Circular stariscase-to-be

Dec 8, 2013

Some more Arenas

Remember the Arena tableware by Stig Lindberg we found in a local auction in September? The initial set was quite comprehensive with 34 different pieces, but at the same time it was short of some  essentials, for example tea / coffee cups. Ever since, Pekka has kept his eye open for those missing parts. Eventually he was, of course, successful.

Three cups of Arena

The recent find consisted of three tea cups with saucers and six smaller plates. Actually, the tea cup is the very piece of the Arena collection we originally fell in love with. And not only they are really beautiful, the size is also quite practical and thus the cups can be used for both coffee and tea.

So, as far as tea cups are concerned, three down, nine more to go. And of course some more plates. And perhaps a creamer...

Dec 5, 2013

Man vs. Rock

Lately Pekka has been spending a significant amount of time underground with a single goal: to create a desperately needed storage space. But as always, there is an issue. A massive rock, located inconveniently in the corner blocking a walkway, and prohibiting preparation of the foundation for a steel reinforced concrete floor-to-be.

The issue

But no worries. When there is will, there is a way. So he rented a set of proper tools including a mid size power tool, two drill bits with a diameter of 28 mm, and a secret ingredient.

The solution

And why do you need two drill bits? Quite simple. When one gets stuck in solid rock, the other is needed to liberate the first one. 

This is NOT a setup

It is essential to create a well planned, uniform pattern of holes as their positioning will define how and where the rock breaks. Pekka drilled 10 holes in total, all approximately 40 cm in depth. To drill a single hole took about half an hour of continuous, mind numbling noise and tremor. This means that for about five hours, our dear neighbours had to endure the sound resonating through the rock from one apartment to another. Which makes you wonder - having a neighbour like us, what are enemies needed for anyway?

Part of the hole pattern

And the secret ingredient? Yes - dynamite! Well, not quite, but almost. When real explosives are not an option for understandable reason, an expansive mortar is the way to go. It is a safe option for excavation and demolition work done inside. No vibration, no noise, no flying debris or smoke, but nevertheless - a lot of fun!

The secret ingredient

You start by mixing it with water, then pour it in the holes and wait, and wait, and wait...

Liquid in...

...and after some 15 hours: snap, crackle and pop! It is simply amazing what this stuff can do to solid rock.

Open Sesame!

Finally, these still relatively large pieces of rock were ready to be carried out to the backyard. A while back Pekka was worried for not exercising enough. For some reason, just taking a look at the pile of stones waiting for his attention, the lack of exercise seems no longer a concern.

Our latest rock formation