When I was thinking about how this blog was changing – away from design to more personal posts about coastal living and some of our favourite places to explore and walk – I wasn’t sure how to integrate design into this format. Would it jar? Possibly. But some design led posts still feel like they fit here, and particularly when you combine contemporary architecture with a sustainable ethos and a striking coastal location, as with Majamaja, which is situated just outside Helsinki.
It’s been so long since I’ve shared something design-related here. Indeed, scroll back and it was last year, and somehow we’re now edging towards the close of March. This small kitchen project by deVOL felt like a great way to ease back in to the design chat. I’ve been an admirer of deVOL’s handmade kitchens since I first came across the company way back, and it’s not just their kitchens that catch my eye – you may have seen my post on deVOL’s gorgeous handmade Lace Market Tiles from last year (if not, you can see it here).
I can”t believe that it’s been over a month since I last wrote here. I began my last post with, ‘There’s no denying the shift in the seasons at the moment…’ and, a month on, the season has well and truly moved into autumn, while nudging us ever closer towards winter. The colder days and dark evenings are firmly upon us, and while I dread the latter, I love these cooler days. I love wrapping up and going for bracing walks. And as we’ve now shifted into different routines – the routines that come with less daylight hours – I’m ready to get back to writing more again.
And this apartment felt like a good way to return to this space. It’s a little different, and with a few highlights that caught my eye.
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.
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.