Mar 28, 2013

Luxury reflection

Sometimes a hunt for a given item is easy, happens quickly and the amount of capital spent remains reasonable. Sometimes you face the other extreme - it takes forever and despite of all your best intentions, you end up blowing the budget. 

In this particular case, the desired object was a vintage table mirror by Luxus, completing the mirror trilogy from the same manufacturer. It took Pekka three years to get his hands on this rare item, but the timing was perfect! The beautiful, flawless mirror appeared on his radar just a few weeks before Minna's birthday. Perfect timing for a piece of absolute Luxus!

Rosewood Luxus table mirror (dm 28 cm)

Original, intact label

Stunning details and a leather back

Mar 27, 2013


There is a recent incident which must be shared with you. A few days ago we had suddenly gone off-line. As in our family, we have shared responsibilities, Minna being the technical lead and Pekka the creative director, this kind of a challenge naturally falls to Minna's field. After several attempts to turn off the modem power and reboot, she finally yielded and called Elisa customer service. 

To make a long story short, the next day a repair man was standing on our doorstep. He pulls out a device to check the connection, and soon notes that "there is about 5 meters of connection missing". Excuse me?? No wiring seemed to be missing upstairs, but guess the machine does not lie. Next, he was curious to see if we have any other wiring anywhere in the apartment, so Minna took him to see the laundry room downstairs.

As soon as he saw the wiring he said: "Well, it's been cut."At that point, Minna made a quick call to ask Pekka whether he might have something to do with this "physical gap". "No, of course I have not cut any wires...or...wait...yes, I have! They looked all so confusing and redundant, so I thought I wouldn't do much damage!", Pekka replied.

Who needs to be connected anyway?

So the mystery was solved, and internet connection restored. When walking out the door the repair man noted a smirk in his face: "We will be sending the bill for you, not for Elisa". Evidently, this one is pretty black and white in falling into the "to be covered by the customer" -category.

In the end - you live, you learn - thankfully you can do all that online again!

Mar 26, 2013

Arrival of Toio

A few days ago Pekka came home and right away disappeared to the bedroom carrying something. Hearing the sound of a package being unwrapped and with her birthday approaching, Minna naturally assumed those two could be related. But how wrong could she be! Nearly always we find ourselves preferring the same style and items, but over the years there have been a few occasions when a suggestion from Pekka has received a definite "NO" from Minna. And now, one of those "NOs" had arrived in our bedroom. The Toio Floor Lamp. 

Toio Floor Lamp

The Toio is a strange, yet interesting looking lamp which by providing indirect light creates a curious atmosphere. It was designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Flos in 1962, and is currently part of the MoMA Design Collection. The Toio was born from assembling existing industrial objects with new applications. For instance, it includes a special 300-watt car reflector bulb, which is attached to a metal stem weighted by the transformer at the base pedestal. Furthermore, the electrical wire is pinned to the stem by fishing-rod screws.

Reflector bulb #1

Reflector bulb #2

Base pedestal and transformer

The Castiglionis are the most well known for their lamps (for example Toio and Arco), which were designed principally for Flos. The Castiglionis have described their design philosophy with the following three sentences: "Start from scratch. Stick to common sense. Know your goals and means". In other words, they seek to achieve good design with minimal intervention on everyday objects. According to their philosophy, the designer should not take for granted any previous similar object, must understand the reason for creating a new product or improving an existing one, and must be aware of the available resources. In addition, the finished product needed to be functional, easy to use and pleasing to the eye. 

Anyhow, the Toio is now here. Pekka loves it. Minna is still indecisive. And thus quite a few things remains to be seen. First, will Minna ever REALLY learn to love it (she already admitted it is not a complete disaster). Second, what will be the final location of this curious lamp. And third, what will be the next definite "NO" just arriving to our doorstep...

Mar 22, 2013

The Spring BIRD

There is still a lot of snow outside, but with all the sunlight pouring in through the windows, the promise of spring becomes almost tangible. In this spirit, we suddenly found ourselves excitedly discussing what to do with the upstairs balcony (rather than focusing on the laundry room). Five minutes later, we had a plan. And yes, it does include a Weber grill!

Spring is the nature's way of saying: "Let's party!!" -Robbie Williams

Sitting on our kitchen window and also looking forward to the spring and summer is an adorable wooden bird. It was a very thoughtful gift from a recent guest, and being a representative of Scandinavian modernism designed by Kristian Vedel in 1959, this little mood-expressing creature fits perfectly into our home.

Moody little Vedel BIRD

This Vedel BIRD is made of smoked oak, and belongs to the "parent"-generation (there are also two other sizes, the smaller "kid" bird and the chubbier "grandparent"). The head can be positioned to express different emotions, and the body turned upside down to change the body shape making it either male or female. Quite handy - just think about all the applications for example for family communication!

So, how are YOU feeling today? Perhaps a trace of spring in the air?

Mar 19, 2013

Laundry room, part #3

Remember how there was some discussion whether we would choose Minna's (simple) or Pekka's (a bit more demanding) way of renovating the laundry room? As a surprise to no one, we chose the latter, and rather quickly the project expanded to the small bathroom next to the laundry room. Of course, we wanted to build a similar recycled suspended ceiling to the two spaces, but the bathroom needed some slight alterations before the ceiling could be installed.

Stripped bathroom ceiling

This is certainly one of those cases when one picture is worth so much more than a thousand words. Before Pekka could build, he needed to destroy. Of course, not so easy and fast as one might think at first. And ridiculously messy, considering it is just a few tiles and some cement.

Getting rid of barriers

Even if a laundry room is one of the most functional spaces in any apartment, we wanted this space to be as cozy and inviting as possible. Therefore, Pekka added an indirect light above the towel rail located in the far end of the room. The light underlines the uneven finish and roughness of the white wall, which just adds to the character of this small space. And as another detail, the light is recycled originating from above the sink of the upstairs bathroom!

Recycled light

Mar 17, 2013

Join in and WIN!

We would like to invite you to participate our SPRING COMPETITION! It is very simple - you just need to register as a member by clicking "Join this site" (and follow instructions) on the sidebar, and you are in.

The winner will be randomly selected amongst all those readers who have registered as a member by April 15th, 2013. The winner will receive a beautiful teak bowl with some surprises in it!

The prize will be mailed to the winner (both to Finland as well as abroad) by the end of April 2013. For this, we kindly request the winner's mailing address by email after the announcement of the winner on this blog site. If the winner has not responded back within two weeks time, an alternative winner will be chosen.


Mar 12, 2013

Laundry room, part #2

When planning the laundry room renovation, between the two of us, we had quite different views on what should be done. Minna's approach was very straightforward:

  1. Disassemble the laundry tower
  2. Place worktop on top of washer and dryer
  3. Add some cupboards on the wall above

Well, as you might guess Pekka's vision was a bit different. In addition to Minna's list, he thought of including the following:
  1. Add indirect light above the hydronic towel rail
  2. Build suspended ceiling made of recycled wood (from downstairs ceiling)
  3. Paint the grey water tubing white
  4. Box the water tubes
  5. Rewire electricity to have sufficient power (thankfully outsourced to a professional)
  6. Oh and while you are at it, renovate the small toilet at the same time as well!

It probably won't be too difficult to guess which approach was chosen? 

Anyhow, things have started to move forward! The laundry tower has been disassembled and the supporting frame for suspended ceiling has been installed.

Every handyman's necessity - a laser level

Fair justification for a suspended ceiling

The worktop material is actually leftover laminated veneer which we received when we ordered the worktop to the Man Cave and the top for the living room dinner table. The work top runs from one wall to the other thus being as long as possible and providing ample space for e.g. folding laundry. In addition, the water tubes located on the far end wall of the laundry room have now been boxed.

The first draft

Remember the wood Pekka tore off from the downstairs suspended ceiling? Well, this is how the ceiling looks like at the moment, and below is a picture of what it will be used for.

Two layers of ceilings

Module of the second generation ceiling

The first modules have already been attached, and we are quite excited on how it is starting to look like! Such an improvement to the ugly old ceiling. Once again, already at this stage of Project Laundry Room, Minna was happy to admit that Pekka's vision was much more appealing (even if way more time consuming) than hers would have been...

Up and in place

Mar 11, 2013

Thank you!

As mentioned before, this blog is a wonderful extension of our renovation / home decor / antique restoration hobby. Just like our home, it is something for us to do together, something we both share an interest in. It also provides a channel for us to be able to share some of our visions, experiences, successes and lessons learned with others.

Recently, we have had a pleasure of having some of our friends (becoming readers) and readers (becoming friends) visiting us. We must admit - it is much nicer to invite dinner guests when you can actually sit everyone simultaneously at the same table. Or people staying overnight have some private space in the form of a guest room, instead of sleeping on the living room couch. 

We would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone, not only for reading but also visiting us - you are always such a delight! We also owe a special thanks for some very carefully selected gifts - so very kind and thoughtful of you!

Thank you for the treats!

Mar 8, 2013

Time flies

Roughly 10 months ago, when we were still living in our old apartment, Pekka had a major concern. We had just sold our previous Eames Lounge Chair, and the one we currently have had not yet arrived. Would our daughter really arrive in a home without a Lounge Chair?

Fortunately, both the chair and Sofi arrived almost at the same time, and the disaster was avoided. Now, both of them have been part of our family for about nine months. We love our little daughter to pieces, and she is beginning be old enough to participate in the home deco - quoting Phyllis Diller: "Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shovelling the walk before it stops snowing." Simply put: Toys. Everywhere.

Enjoying the wonders of the world

Mar 7, 2013

Hydronic heaters

So, we have launched the next project - the downstairs laundry room. Even if it is just a tiny space, it is a long road with quite a few twists and turns to make the room functional. In last September, in the middle of more important projects, we just did the bare minimum and quickly painted the walls and threw in a washer and dryer. This posting is about the very first step, getting rid of the old radiator not only in the laundry room, but since the plumber was invited over at the entrance as well.

The rationale for dumping both the old radiators was that they were taking space. In the entrance, there wasn't enough space for a baby carriage. In the laundry room, we wanted to place a worktop and cupboards where the old radiator was located. And as their name indicates, hydronic heated towel rails would also functional justification.

Old entrance radiator

Old laundry room radiator

It took the plumber a full working day of hard labor to finish both projects (as nothing is quite as straightforward in old apartments than one might first think), but we were very satisfied with the end result. Both water heated towel rails are from a Finnish company Rej Design. The baby carriage now fits much better, there is space for a worktop and the old radiators are nothing more but a "ugly" memory.

Heated towel rail at the entrance

Heated towel rail in the laundry room

Pekka has now been able to start working on the laundry room, and it might not come as surprise the plan has already expanded from the initial idea - for the better, of course! In a few days, we will be able to share the next step with you...

Mar 4, 2013

Announcing the Winner

The time has come to announce the winner of the quiz posted here a while back. But first, we would like to thank all the participants for your excellent answers. It was delightful to notice how knowledgeable and observant you, our readers are. Based on your answers, it was evident you are quite familiar with our blog and share our curiosity and interest for mid century modern design. Eventually, the winner was randomly selected among the top two highest scores.

And the lucky winner is:    -- LIISA --

She will receive a copy of "Kauneimmat klassikot", a book about beautiful homes with timeless furniture. Once again, thank you all those who participated, and congratulations for the winner!

Kauneimmat klassikot by Andrew Weaving (original English title: Living Retro)

And to conclude, for everyone interested, here are the correct answers:

PHOTO #1: Brass pendant light by Paavo Tynell for Taito Oy, 1948. The light housing of this beauty has a typical perforation of small holes found in several Tynell lights. Actually, the rumor is that Alvar Aalto cleverly noted this series of small holes reminded him of his grandmothers lace nickers (isoäidin pitsipöksyt), thus giving the pattern a quite suitable lace-referring nickname.

PHOTO #2: A beautifully detailed cabinet door from the Royal system by Poul Cadovius 1955. This modular system is made of plywood and has a teak finish, and it consists of several different shelves, drawers and other parts.

PHOTO #3: Credenza by Arne Vodder for Sibast Furniture 1958. Measuring 182 x 113 x 50 this particular credenza is considered a high board (vs. low board). It is made of rosewood, more accurately palisander, and the integrated drawer handles create a famous curved pattern known to Vodder's design.

PHOTO #4: LCM (low chair metal) by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller 1946. More specifically, the photo below illustrates the chair's shock mounts on the back, which attach the back rest to the frame.

PHOTO #5: Eames Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller 1956. This piece of veneer is the base of a lounge chair, which is currently under restoration and resides in the "Man Cave" in Pekka's tender loving care.

Mar 3, 2013

Two layers of ceiling

Currently, there are two different zones in our apartment. A "living" zone upstairs and a "renovation" zone downstairs. After charging his batteries by vacationing in Lapland, Pekka has spent the rest of his winter break mostly on the renovation zone, more specifically, in the laundry room. It will take a few more days before we'll show some results what has been going on in there, but in the meantime, there is a note which needs to be made concerning the suspended ceiling downstairs.

So, we take recycling seriously. Faithful to this ideology, we have not only tried to keep as much of the original elements as possible, but also use recycled materials whenever possible. While working in the laundry room, Pekka had an excellent idea which required some wood. As the grand plan is to get rid of the suspended ceiling downstairs in the future, what would be a better source of wood for Pekka's idea than the ceiling doomed to disappear?

Suspended ceiling downstairs

For his surprise, when Pekka started to rip the ceiling off, underneath a second suspended ceiling was revealed! This finding makes us even more curious of the surprises and stories the apartment is going to share with us in the future. Anyhow, now a large part of the suspended ceiling is missing, and the renovation zone looks even more like a....hmmmm....a renovation zone!

Two layers of suspended ceiling

The zone of renovation