There are few people who don’t have an affection for the design of the 1950s and 1960s. Not many, however, make a career out of their love for all things mid-century like 27-year-old Aleksi Siurola, the owner of Gusta Design, a vintage-furniture store in the Finnish city of Tampere.
When he and his partner, Tuukka Hakkarainen, began looking for a larger home, they had no plans to explore outside of the city. It was Aleksi’s stepmother Mira who stumbled upon an unexpected new dream home in nearby Epilänharju. Designed by architect Antero Sirviö for his family in 1969, the house, which includes a swimming pool and sauna, was a true time capsule. For Aleksi, it was irresistible.
‘We are only its second owners in more than 50 years,’ he marvels, adding, ‘I fell in love at first sight.’ Tuukka was similarly smitten: ‘As an estate agent, I know that you only find hidden gems like this once in a lifetime.’
One of the things that struck the pair when they first entered was the beauty of the original wood panelling – key to this space’s mid-century modern atmosphere. It had yellowed over the years, but by sanding it back, resealing it and choosing a slightly darker colour than the original, they were able to restore it to its former glory.
‘We wanted to respect the original look of the house,’ says Aleksi, who chose to maintain the terracotta tiles on the living room and entrance hall floors, while adding larch flooring throughout the rest of the rooms.
The kitchen, by Norwegian brand Epoq, is the major addition to the space. Its sleek, wooden cabinetry complements the surroundings without attempting to appear anything other than contemporary. For the furniture, Aleksi looked to the period pieces in his own store, but there were a few big purchases that he was keen to make.
‘I used to dream of the “Tulip” table by Eero Saarinen,’ he says. Impatient and expecting to have to buy a brand-new one, he luckily spotted a secondhand original on Facebook Marketplace. ‘We jumped into the car and drove to Helsinki to pick it up straight away,’ he recalls. ‘I couldn’t think of a more perfect dining table.’
Strengthening the link between this home’s past and its future, the pair bought several pieces from the Sirviö family. The ‘Egg’ chair by Arne Jacobsen in the living room, for instance, has been sitting in the same spot since the house was built. ‘It would have been a crime to let it leave this place,’ says Aleksi.
As well as inheriting this statement chair, the pair were also happy to keep many of the statues that came with the house. ‘The bust in the entrance hall is of the previous lady of the house,’ Aleksi says. We are sure she would approve of how this mid-century marvel has been made ready for the next 50 years. gustadesign.fi