Fine Finnish

Originally published in 

A pair of crafty designers on a serious budget show that though their apartment may be short on square footage, it’s long on charm.

Last summer, Susanna and Jussi Vento purchased a two-bedroom, 660-square-foot apartment in Helsinki’s Punavuori district, where they live with their one-year-old daughter, Varpu. The building was “an unremarkable ’50s high-rise,” says Susanna, “but we liked the light in the apartment, the practical layout, and the original double doors between the rooms.”

The tiny abode was in desperate need of a makeover, but knowing that an expensive pipe replacement loomed, the couple had to be frugal in their interventions. Fortunately, both work in creative fields—Susanna is an interior designer, stylist, and editor, and Jussi is a graphic artist—and renovating with a tight budget was exactly their kind of challenge. “We come from families that love doing things with their hands, so it’s natural for us,” Susanna says. With less than $4,000 but plenty of DIY spirit, the couple turned a boring flat into a visually exciting home. Susanna shows us how.

vento residence entrance

Fine Finnish: Entrance

When Susanna entered her future home for the first time, it appeared cramped and uninviting.
vento residence kitchen

Fine Finnish: Kitchen

In the kitchen, Susanna and Jussi tore down the ceiling and wall cabinets with the help of Jussi’s father, a skilled craftsman.
vento residence living dining room

Fine Finnish: Living/Dining Room

The focal point of the living/dining room is an oak table from Ikea. “We like to draw, read newspapers, sew, and invite friends over, so a generous table suits our lifestyle.” No couch?

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