Boldly colourful and unapologetically joyful, this Helsinki home is a testament to what can be achieved when you have faith in your own decorative choices. ‘I didn’t compromise at all,’ says Annaleena Hakola proudly. Moving here with her two sons after separating from her partner and leaving their shared 1960s terraced home in the nearby town of Espoo, she found a place to express herself fully.
Situated on Annankatu street, right at the heart of the Finnish capital, the apartment sits directly above the store and main office of Hakola – the furniture brand founded by Annaleena’s grandfather, for which she acts as both CEO and creative director. The company’s vibrant colour palette is apparent as soon as you set foot inside the apartment’s entrance hall, with its black-and-white-striped wallpaper by Sandberg, but if it weren’t for Annaleena’s quick thinking, this home would have looked quite different.
After being offered the apartment at short notice, just before its renovation was due to be completed, Annaleena was presented with the plan for a very neutral interior: all white and shades of grey. This simply would not do, but she only had a few days to confirm her own preferences. ‘It felt crazy,’ she admits, ‘but I wanted the apartment to look like me. Our previous home in Espoo was renovated and decorated with care, but I knew that I was able to make quick decisions. I chose the flooring, the paint, the wallpaper and the kitchen in one go.’
The rush may have been too stressful for some, but for Annaleena, who plays with strong colours as part of her job, the palette for her home was instinctive. ‘I already had beautiful pairs of colours in my mind, like the combination of bright green [inspired by fashion house Bottega Veneta’s signature shade] and light blue. I have periods dominated by certain colours,’ she says. ‘A while ago, pink dominated the Hakola collections and my wardrobe. Blue is a colour I didn’t used to feel close to, but in my current life situation its calming effect is good.’
These uplifting shades don’t just decorate the walls, they can also be seen on the furniture. Across the mix of bespoke pieces, Hakola designs and vintage classics, bright greens, ripe tomato reds and stripes dominate. The kitchen cabinets are even finished in a light shade of blue, designed to complement the hue used across most of the main living areas: ‘Astrid’ by Cover Story.
An affinity for Nordic design is clear (a ‘Ball’ chair by arguably Finland’s most famous designer, Eero Aarnio, makes a star appearance), but Annaleena has also made room for Italian masters. A Paolo Piva ‘Alanda’ coffee table can be spotted in the living room, and there’s an ‘Atollo’ table lamp by Vico Magistretti.
‘I love the Italian attitude to life,’ says Annaleena. ‘We Finns still have lots to learn from their way of always appreciating beauty, no matter if it’s food, interiors or fashion.’ Her new home is a big step in the right direction. hakola.fi