Fine Finnish: Entrance

When Susanna entered her future home for the first time, it appeared cramped and uninviting. Her first step in adding a sense of spaciousness and clarity was to paint all the surfaces—–walls, doors, cabinets, ceilings, and parquet floors—–white.

Main entrance with clothing rack and graphic rug
Fine Finnish

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. Photo by Petra Bindel.

“I had to create optical illusions to make the space feel bigger,” says Susanna, who installed a six-by-seven-foot  mirror in the front hall to bounce light around. “The mirror could not have been an inch
bigger, otherwise it wouldn’t have fit through the door!”

Susanna originally used a water-based paint to coat the sanded oak parquet floors but “after four layers, I started to wonder why the floor was still yellow.” A call to the manufacturer’s help line revealed the trouble: Some woods (including oak) react after sanding by extracting color. The proper oil-based formula solved the problem.

To keep the entranceway clean and uncluttered, the family stores their shoes in Habitat boxes (which can also double as stools).

Susanna designed the coat rod herself and had it fabricated by a local welder out of bent water pipes for only $70. “The inspiration came from my mother’s radiator,” says Susanna. “I looked at the pipes and thought, Hey, hung from the ceiling they could carry our coats!” She painted the pipes white and clamped
an old desk light onto the rod: “I like solutions that look a bit industrial and not too stiff.” An electrician wired the light so it goes on when they flip a switch by the door.

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