Tia and Mikko's Masterplan From Finland

Tia and Mikko's Masterplan From Finland

Gregory Han
May 22, 2009

Name: Tia and Mikko
Location: Southern Finland
Size: 79 m² / 850 sq ft.
Years lived in: 3

Tia and Mikko's home office offers a serene minimal aesthetic that permeates throughout their modest-sized home, characterized by the couple's ability to hide a wealth of highly-desirable home technology through careful and thoughtful planning. Both aspirational and inspirational, Tia and Mikko share additional details and helpful advice about harmonizing a digital lifestyle with eye-pleasing decor below...

AT Survey:

My/Our style: Modern Scandinavian, quite minimal sometimes almost ascetical

Inspiration: Space, light and shadows.

Favorite Element: Openness, the feel of space, how the light travels inside in the summertime. Our apartment looks and feels like us, it feels like home.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping the wholeness - the big picture, "the masterplan" - in mind, finishing the design piece by piece so that all the pieces fit together. Not letting the all new fresh ideas popping into mind carry us away from the original complete design. On the other hand sometimes these fresh ideas are just the thing to really get things running - like the concrete look-a-like wall in the home office that finally gave us the direction on how that room will eventually look and feel like.

What Friends Say: Mostly they think that we are nuts when putting so much effort and money on our home. But still, they think it looks nice in here, although some have said our style is too ascetical and even cold for them to feel like home.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our inability to get it completely ready. We have too many obvious things at almost finished state, e.g. the curtains missing from the bedroom, windowsill in the living room missing the finishing touches. We just always tend to start the next project before finishing the previous one.

Proudest DIY: The whole apartment has been gone through a complete overhaul that has mostly been done by us self - except for the bathroom, which was a contract work. So, the apartment renovation itself is really our proudest DIY project - and the wooden desk at the home office, which has been designed and manufactured from scratch by Mikko.

Biggest Indulgence: Bathroom. After living two years in otherwise completely renovated apartment, we finally had to do something to the authentic 70's feeling of our bathroom, give it a complete overhaul. It was a big investment when comparing to the rest of the apartment, but finally worth every penny.

Best advice: Do as much as you can before moving in. After that all things tend to get complicated. Plan well and do not hesitate to ask help when needed. Renovating and decoration is no rocket science after all.

Dream source: None really. We tend to spot stuff somewhere and then find out the way to get it. Our main sources for stuff are some shops in Finland and the always-increasing resources of the Internet.

Home Tech Resources:

Home Office: In practice a fully loaded Apple MacBook with 20" Cinema Display, aluminium keyboard, Mighty Mouse, and two external hard drives for backup purposes. Very much expanded Apple PowerMac G5 with 20" Cinema Display, aluminium keyboard, Logitech wireless mouse, EyeTV, and two external hard drives for backup. Genelec 8040A active speakers are attached to the PowerMac via RME audio interface. In addition we have an Ethernet router providing the home network.

Living room / home entertainment: Samsung white LCD-TV, Sony STR-DB1070 AV receiver, Technics turntable, cheap Finlux DVD player and Yamaha cassette deck (!). The TV is wall mounted with all the cabling (power, audio, SCART) hidden and going through the cable channel. The Apple Airport Express provides the wireless network to our home (we have a wired network as well) and connects the computers to the receiver via AirTunes. We have a 5.1 sound system with Blueroom MiniPods as main speakers, B&W center speaker (has the same elements as the Minipods, hence similar sound although not design), some cheap Finnish speakers at back and an AudioPro subwoofer. All the speakers except the MiniPods will be replaced with similarly designed ones (Scandyna SmallPods or MicroPods and B&W PV1 or similar) in the future.

Home Resources:

Floors: Everything else, than the bathroom, have self-installed parquet flooring from Karelia.

Bedroom: Bed and chest from BoConcept. Wall painting is a result spontaneous mind freak, paints from Tikkurila. Accessories and lighting from Ikea, Block-light by Harri Koskinen / Design House Stockholm. Puppy by Eero Aarnio.

Living room: Sofa and footstool by Adea. Carpet from Skanno. The wall covering cabinet and (temporary) TV-units from Ikea. Windowsill self-made of Ikea LACK shelves. Lighting by Artemide, Normann and Eero Aarnio. TV by Samsung, speakers by Blueroom. Wall painting by Mikko. Puppy by Eero Aarnio.

Home office: "Concrete wall" self-painted with Tikkurila special paints. Wooden (mahogany) desk self-made by Mikko. Office chairs by Arper. Lighting by Artemide. Computers by Apple, speakers by Genelec.

Kitchen: Kitchen cabinets, countertops, sink, etc. from local kitchen wholesaler. Table by Calligaris, chairs by Arne Jakobsen. All the appliances by Bosch, except the microwave by Electrolux (got free along the cabinets). Espresso machine by Isomac, grinder by Minimoka, and blender by Kenwood. Accessories mostly by Iittala, Alessi, Eva Solo and Ikea.

Hallway: Sliding doors to walk-in closet from Tank Indoor. Temporary carpets and lighting from Ikea. Everything else self-made.

Bathroom: Wall tiles and glass-stone-flooring from Laattapiste. Basin by Calidris, faucet and shower by Alessi (made by Oras). Toilet seat by Pozzi-Ginori / IDO. Stainless steel radiator by Nordhem. Laundry machine from UPO. Cabinet by a carpenter, the walnut shelf under the basin is self-made. Accessories by Eva Solo.

Some additional home tech organization and decorative advice:
At our home office the most essential piece of hardware for keeping things tidy and organised is the pair of IKEA SIGNUM cable management units attached under the table. All the cables, wires, power supplies, broadband modem etc. reside there. Only network cable to our home network and a few power cables come down and they have collected inside a "cable management pipe", also purchased from IKEA.

The same applies to living room entertainment setup. The wires behind the TV storage units have been collected inside a similar cable management pipe from IKEA. However, there was also one solution for hiding the cables made already when renovating the room: the satellite speakers behind the sofa have hidden cabling coming for them from the AV receiver. Another fundamental thing was that we chose a white TV for our living room. We don't watch much TV, more movies from DVDs so it was important that the TV would blend in as much as possible. This is why it has been wall mounted as well. For the time of the purchase, this Samsung one was virtually the only available option.

The two IKEA TV storage units housing our home entertainment system are temporary. We have been looking for a piece of furniture that would fit also the receiver inside and hide all the hardware from outside world when not in use. The search has been unsuccessful and we probably will eventually order one from a carpenter. The last thing responsible for keeping our living room tidy is the Airport Express from Apple, attached to our home network and the receiver. We have all our music in iTunes and this way it can be played in living room as well. Major convenience!

(Thanks, Tia and Mikko!)

Photos by Tia and Mikko

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