It feels as if spring has shifted into summer this week, even though we’re still in May. The biggest challenge of our home in summer is the temperature. We face south-east at the back where there’s a glass-roofed conservatory that’s our dining room, and as this is open to the kitchen and the sitting room there’s really no way of preventing this heat from just …. seeping everywhere. If you’re someone who really enjoys warmth, you’d love this set up. If, like me, you really can’t handle heat and enjoy cooler days, you’d be dreaming of escaping to a house that was well ventilated, with extensive glazing in the right places (not on the roof in other words), and open plan living where every space feels comfortable all year round.
I seem to have settled into a habit of late night scrolling on Pinterest, usually just before I pop my phone onto airplane and head to bed, but first I’ll tap open Pinterest for a quick browse – you know, five minutes, not a moment longer – and half an hour later I’m still there because I’ve happened across a timber-clad house and that’s led me to lots of other timber-clad houses, and then I’m sucked into a Pinterest vortex of timber cabins. Which is what happened here, when I came across Villa Rauhanniemi, the beautiful vacation home of Joanna Laajisto, the creative talent behind the Finnish architecture practice Studio Joanna Laajisto. Before going any further, can we take a second to appreciate this combo of herringbone brick floor and timber panelling below? Gorgeous.
Years ago, when I first started blogging in the days before Copperline, I had a property blog called The Property Files. I used to write about property every week for two newspapers, and when work stopped with one (budgets, budgets) and was reduced by over a half with the other (yes, also budgets) I found myself itching to still be sharing properties. So I started a blog about Scottish properties, and every week I’d feature something national, and then on Fridays, something international. I called this slot International Fridays as it always felt like a nice way to end the week, virtually strolling through a lovely house or apartment somewhere.
As we find ourselves in week four of the UK’s lockdown, knowing that there will be more weeks stretching ahead – and many more with some level of restrictions even once this lockdown has been eased – I realise that I feel very differently about my home these days. I appreciate it differently. I’ve always appreciated it. The recession taught me never to take home for granted – indeed, my youth taught me this – but still, my perspective has shifted. I’m glad that I don’t live in the city any more; that I can walk to our local beach or around the ash lagoons, a place where I walked as a child, when the landscape looked very different, and that I’m rediscovering now, unexpectedly. I’m so glad that we have a garden, even though it’s tiny, as that slice of outdoor space has never felt more important. Just knowing you have some space beyond your walls.
And when I’m scrolling through interiors, while I’m always drawn to spaces that exude an uncluttered sense of calm, I’m also looking at houses that I could imagine escaping to. Places that are connected to nature in some way.
So hello again. It’s been a while. Of all the things that I imagined might draw me back here to blog again, a global pandemic wasn’t one of them. But look at how much our lives have changed in a few short weeks. Short weeks that feel so much longer. Two weekends back we were in Fife visiting Cambo Estate; having a bite of lunch in their café and walking in the walled garden; visiting the glasshouses before winding through the woodland with its carpet of snowdrops. We walked along Kingsbarns beach in the low, late afternoon light, enjoying the peace and emptiness of the scene. Two weeks ago, we couldn’t even have imagined the rules of social distancing; friends losing all their work and closing the doors to their businesses, unsure of when they might open again. A country in lockdown with all the restrictions this brings. A world in crisis.
It’s been a stressful week between work (the least stressful bit as I’ve had some great interiors to write about) and family, plus a small hound who’s been reacting badly (I think) to some anti-anxiety meds, so neither of us have been sleeping. Yes, today requires a steady supply of caffeine and Montezuma’s dark chocolate. So before diving into another interview and another print deadline, I wanted to share this beautiful, serene interior that I happened across on Pinterest, which led me to this post on Krone Kern. This is the home of Elin Kickén, who is one half of the Swedish stylist duo Sundling-Kickén, and the interior was photographed by Mikael Lundblad for Residence Magazine.