A gravel road with deciduous trees leads to the courtyard of the old manor house. The entrance to the gabled brick mansion is decorated with columns. From the back of the manor house a meadowy hillside slopes to the sea. Fall is already far advanced, and the linden trees are glowing with autumnal hues. We're not in Italy, but in Jollas – a historic manor milieu in Helsinki. Welcome to Ria, Wia and Tara’s family-run treasure, Café Kuuma.Ria, Wia and the two little dogs are climbing the uphill road from the lakeside sauna. The morning has begun with a dip in the sea and the steam of the wood-fired sauna. Inside the manor house, the sun draws bright lines through the sheer curtains onto the mosaic parquet floor. The scene is reminiscent of southern Europe. Yet Wia and Tara, the sisters of Café Kuuma, and their mother Ria, have found their place in the peace of Jollas, Helsinki.
“We were already familiar with Jollas Manor through the previous tenant, so when they were looking for a new owner, we knew immediately that the manor belonged to us. The peace and quiet of Jollas and this fantastic estate were the answer to all our dreams,” Wia says.
"The move from the centre of Helsinki city to the peace of the East feels refreshing. Everything is still new and amazing to us. Nature and being by the water feels quite wonderful," adds Tara. "And the terrace in the backyard, the view from there... We always pretend we're in Tuscany!"Even though this new life just started and the new Kuuma is still finding its form, Wia, Tara and Ria feel good in their “very own beach house”. Wia and Ria also live in the manor house, with Wia's two-room-apartment on the top floor overlooking the meadows of the estate. The sea glimmers through the trees.
"The Kukkapuro coach is my favorite spot here. It's nice to have a short walk to it after a workday. Even if work and leisure time sometimes mix, I think it's absolutely wonderful to live here,” says Wia. “It's such a way of life.”
The white walls are paired with a soft rose-beige and fresh green and the greyish blue skirting boards are in the original color scheme – they match the turquoise that adorns the entrance.
The manor house, built in 1919, has been well preserved – the heritage listed facade stands out in the landscape. The historic Jollas manor milieu has been passed down from noble families to a private organisation, and later to the City of Helsinki. In the hands of the new tenants, the interior has been repainted, and the high ceilings and arched staircases are a reminder of their time.
"We wanted to keep the color scheme original, but add a touch of color. It was exciting to hear that Cover Story's paint shades are inspired by old mansions and staircases!" says Tara. "We were aiming for a calming atmosphere that’s relaxing for the eye.” A bespoke wooden table by Nikari stands in the centre of the hall. Light moves softly along the room's pale walls. Time seems to stand still, and you feel like sitting down by the table watching the afternoon sun move with a cup of coffee in hand.
"There's a really good atmosphere in the manor house. It's not haunted," Wia smiles.
This year, everyone who comes to Jollas is welcome to enjoy the atmosphere of the manor house, as the Kuuma trio offers restaurant pop-up dinners, a Sunday jogging sauna and a wine bar on weekday evenings. The mansion's hall can also be booked for private parties – tried and tested with Tara's own summer wedding, where the sun went down behind the terrace as the summer meadows bloomed. Just like in Italy.
Last autumn went by in a flurry of renovation and moving. Still, with a new home and Kuuma’s commercial space, there's plenty to do.
"The upstairs yoga room needs some paint on the walls. The color could be a cream in keeping with the spirit of the mansion, or a soothing blue that is respectful for its time," Wia says, thoughtfully.
Whatever the final choice, Jollas Manor is in safe hands.