Oriental eclecticism meets 70s style

The unassuming brick exterior of a house in Helsinki conceals hidden delights. Within these walls, 70s architecture, Nordic design and the echoes of adventures past coexist amid warm, woody tones. Jenni – founder of the Ilo by Dakini clothing collection – explains how her family finds peace in their home.

We are visual people and we enjoy the beauty around us. This home provided a stunning, 70s inspired framework into which we found it easy to bring and build our interior style – classic, timeless pieces with a few bold, modern touches.

When we came here, we felt the same warmth – the home inexplicably embraced us.

Built in the 1930s, architect Alvar Aalto’s forest retreat, Villa Mairea, is an endless source of inspiration for our home. Just over ten years ago, we renovated our loft apartment with a tarred timber ceiling and loved the atmosphere it created alongside the concrete walls. When we came here, we felt the same warmth – the home inexplicably embraced us.
We enjoyed the clean lines, the neat architectural solutions and the blend of light and shadow in our home. The skylights on the upper floor harness natural light to create unique moments in the space.

One of the key elements within our home is orientalism. The wooden roof, which has yellowed subtly over the years, is reminiscent of the multitudes of red that we loved in Goa. Over the years we have also imported wooden benches, cabinets and statues from Nepal. The combination of Nordic design and oriental materials feels like home.

Eero Aarnio's the bright yellow ball chair in our living room reminds us of the Goa sun.

Colors are important to us – bright primary colors, in particular, have found a place here. The colors of the 150 square metres of wood and the panelled roof define the space, so we wanted to keep the walls bright. For years, my spouse dreamed of a ball chair by Eero Aarnio – now the bright yellow ball chair in our living room reminds us of the Goa sun. Next to it, two Artek 402 armchairs, Johanna Gullichsen's ochre-yellow and Aino Aalto's zebra patterned, chat happily with each other. The colors unify the individual elements.

For me, colors reflect emotions, they influence the way I face everyday life and life itself. It's hard to find black in our home, in the decor or in the wardrobes. Even my winter coat isn’t black – it’s yellow.

Although our home is big, it’s also cosy and very warm. The height of the rooms is nest-like for a 70s building. For me, this atmosphere is calming, it gives room for inspiration and stimulates creativity.

Seinävärinä Cover Story 018 ERNEST

The children’s rooms in our previous home were all white, so when we moved here I wanted to give the children the opportunity to choose the colors of their own accent walls. They chose blue. One bright, one turquoise.

Jenni's and her family's choices: 002 EMILY, 015 ALBERT & 018 ERNEST

Shop samples

In our home, we have combined 005 KIM with green-gray 026 AGATHA. At the moment, I’ve also enjoyed the combination of rose-beige 021 SIRI and mid-brown 022 EVELYN in our office.

Anssi Jokinen - Founder of Cover Story