Restora­tion DRAMA

A house fire prompted a fresh start

25 Beautiful Homes - - FRONT PAGE - Fea­ture MELANIE WHITEHOUSE Pho­tog­ra­phy KATJA LÖSÖNEN / LIVING4MEDIA

Af­ter years of rent­ing stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion with a mish­mash of old fur­ni­ture, Jonna and Ma­tias Touko­nen de­cided the time had come to buy a home of their own. ‘We wanted more free­dom to ren­o­vate and do things our way, but we didn’t have time for a big ren­o­va­tion project,’ says Jonna. ‘ We needed to live near the city cen­tre for our jobs, but it also had to be af­ford­able.’

The prop­erty they chose in Vaasa, Fin­land, was built in 1967 for Army staff and their fam­i­lies and ticked all the right boxes. ‘ We loved the open-plan feel of it, and the huge win­dows that bring in lots of light,’ says Jonna.

When it came to dec­o­rat­ing, Jonna’s whim­si­cal style had a chance to shine. ‘I love colours and un­ex­pected de­tails, Fifties and Six­ties fur­ni­ture and mod­ern Scan­di­na­vian de­sign, so our apart­ment is a com­bi­na­tion of all those el­e­ments,’ she says.

In­spi­ra­tion comes mainly from In­sta­gram and Australian homes in par­tic­u­lar. ‘They are so ef­fort­lessly beau­ti­ful, with just the right amount of colour,’ says Jonna. Her use of vi­brant shade com­bi­na­tions is in­stantly no­tice­able in the fan­tas­ti­cal kitchen wall­pa­per and the feather-pat­terned de­sign in the study. ‘I love colours like red wine, aubergine, dark blue-green and yel­low, which all look great with grey,’ she adds.

Un­for­tu­nately, how­ever, dec­o­rat­ing was not all plain sail­ing. ‘Shiny white fur­ni­ture sur­faces might have looked good eight years ago in a store, but pair them with

brightly coloured wall­pa­pers and you get a dis­as­ter. Ev­ery­thing is re­flected ten-fold, which is why I only buy matt white fur­ni­ture now,’ says Jonna.

All told, the cou­ple are happy. ‘It feels like home,’ says Jonna, ‘and although my hus­band and I don’t al­ways see eye to eye on the decor, we make all the big de­ci­sions to­gether. He prefers a more mod­ern look, while I lean to­wards retro stuff, and the com­bi­na­tion works well.’

Ma­tias adds, ‘A home has to be both prag­matic and easy on the eye, which this is. I’ll veto any out­ra­geous plans re­gard­ing colour pal­ette or ex­or­bi­tant pur­chases, but that doesn’t hap­pen very of­ten.’

At just 76.5sq m, the apart­ment has lim­ited space, but Jonna finds it hard to curb her col­lect­ing habit. ‘I get in­spired by se­cond-hand stores and an­tiques mar­kets and I al­ways try to find cute lit­tle de­sign stores and bring some­thing home from our trav­els,’ she says.

While ideal for now, this one-bed­room flat won’t be a for­ever home for the cou­ple. ‘The era in which a prop­erty is built can de­fine how it is dec­o­rated,’ says Jonna, ‘so I’m cu­ri­ous about liv­ing in a house from a dif­fer­ent age, to see what we would do with it.’

kitchen- diner stylish wall shelv­ing is com­bined with wow-fac­tor light­ing and a dra­matic, retro-style wall­pa­per. Hopp­mosse wall­pa­per in Black, £59 a roll, Wall­pa­per di­rect, is sim­i­lar. gal­ley pen­dant lamp in Ochre, £10, dunelm, is com­pa­ra­ble. Cuboid shelves, £14.99 for three, groupon

sit­ting room Clever stor­age is key in a small home, so the cof­fee ta­ble hides clut­ter. Jonna made the floor and seat cush­ions from fab­ric scraps. Chiva cof­fee ta­ble with stor­age, from £629, Bo­con­cept. For a sim­i­lar rug, try Onix Tri­an­gles in Teal, from £59, Mod­ern Rugs. Pom-pom fairy light gar­land, £29.95, No­ton­the­high­

bed­room The white walls and teal bed­cover make for a chic sleep­ing space. hay Mega Dot bed­cover, £169, Finnish De­sign Shop. Mi­nus tio City Sunday mag­a­zine rack, £117, Funk­tion­al­ley

Study orig­i­nally yel­low, this workspace now sports a calm, pat­terned wall­pa­per. Vi­ola Feather, £10.99 a roll, world of wall­pa­per, is a match. rune arm­chair in rouge, £ 449, Swoon

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