It’s time for another home tour and today I’m taking a peek inside the stunning Finnish apartment of Riika Wikberg, Head of Business Development at Marimekko, and her family.
I first discovered Riika on Instagram and I instantly loved the look of her minimalist, light-filled home, which has just undergone a top-to-toe makeover. In fact, before I knew it I’d lost hours browsing through her feed and her equally beautiful blog. Her style is right up my street: calm, relaxed and clutter-free, with a striking mix of restored period features and sleek, contemporary furniture. It’s the perfect blend of old and new, and just what I’d like my own house to be.
Keen to soak up as much inspiration as possible, I chatted to Riika about the renovation project, where she finds such gorgeous pieces and her top interior-design tips…
Hi Riika! Please can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and what you do?
“I work as Head of Business Development for Marimekko, an iconic Finnish lifestyle brand known for its bold prints and colours. I feel lucky to work for a company where good design and aesthetics are so highly respected.
“Outside work, styling and photography are dear hobbies of mine. I share pictures of our new home on my Instagram feed (@CoterieOfficial) and on my blog, and I’ve also done a few interior-styling assignments for small Finnish brands. I’d love to do more if only there were more hours in the day!”
Where’s home, and how long have you lived there?
“I live with my partner and young son in the southern part of Helsinki, two blocks from the sea and surrounded by beautiful buildings from the early 20th century. There are plenty of small cafés, restaurants and lovely shops in the area, and we love it here. We’re definitely city people!
“The 121sqm apartment has four rooms, big windows and high ceilings. We moved in last July after it had gone through a full makeover. The renovation project took a year and everything was redone. I’m quite a perfectionist when it comes to material choices, so it would have been practically impossible for me to find a ready-made home. And I love planning and designing, so it was a win-win situation! The layout isn’t ideal, but I think we’ve made the most of it.”
The open-plan kitchen and dining area pairs understated grey units with a circular table, Eames ‘DSR’ chairs and a stunning ‘Ellisse’ light from NEMO. Integrated shelving provides the perfect place to display a few well-chosen accessories.
How would you describe your interiors style?
“I love to combine modern Scandinavian furniture with classic interior elements such as plasterwork ceilings, old wooden doors and high skirting boards. If you search #softminimalism, you’ll get a good idea of my style.”
Where do you find inspiration?
“Largely from Instagram and stunning feeds like yours [thanks Riika!]! I read (or at least browse) a large number of mainly Scandinavian interiors magazines as well, but Instagram is definitely the place where I get most inspired. In fact I think I’ve based all my purchases for this apartment on Instagram!”
The living room is a sleek space with marble tables, sculptural accessories and a ‘Gatto’ lamp from Flos. Riika is hunting for another sofa to complete the scheme.
What’s your favourite part of your home and why?
“At the moment it’s our bedroom, because I’ve put the most effort into the interior there. I also like sitting around our dining table, but there are still many unfinished corners in our kitchen so I’ll choose the bedroom! Our apartment is due to be photographed for my favourite interiors magazine in April, so that’s a good deadline for getting the rest of it finished!”
And your favourite piece of furniture?
“Hmmm, perhaps a Danish classic – the CH24 ‘Wishbone’ chair from Carl Hansen & Son. I bought one on an online auction and it’s in bad condition (one of the wooden parts is broken), but I can’t throw it away… That said, I’ve ordered a ‘Togo’ chair with greige alcantara from Ligne Roset and it should be arriving in December. I have a feeling that will become the whole family’s new favourite!”
Riika’s favourite space is the master bedroom, which is decorated in a soft, soothing grey and has banks of built-in wardrobes to keep clutter at bay. It also contains her favourite piece of furniture – a vintage ‘Wishbone’ chair, designed by Hans J. Wegner for Carl Hansen & Son in 1950.
Where do you like to source items for your home – any favourite brands or shops?
“This could be a long list, but I’ll try to keep it short! Of the Scandinavian furniture brands, Menu is my all-time favourite. We have their round ‘Snaregade’ table in our kitchen and the ‘Plinth’ marble cube as a side table. Other Scandinavian favourites include &tradition (I think I’ll order their ‘Loafer’ chair) and Mass Productions. The latter has one of the most beautiful sofas I’ve ever seen, the ‘Dandy’, but unfortunately the four-seater is a bit too big for us.
“I also love Marimekko’s interior items – I had plenty of their home products even before joining the company – and Swedish online shop Artilleriet. Bukowskis is a Nordic auction site for antiques and design classics, with super-convenient shipping and reasonable prices, and Finnish Design Shop has a great range of Scandinavian brands along with excellent customer service. Another favourite is Lokal, a Helsinki-based art gallery and store (both bricks-and-mortar and online) which represents many small Finnish brands and artists.”
Do you have any future plans for the apartment?
“So many! I don’t want our home to ever be ‘ready’, because planning and choosing is a big part of the joy! I feel that I’m halfway there at most. At the same time, I don’t want to over-decorate the apartment. Having empty space around us is a luxury, and we like to keep it quite minimal. My next big task will be choosing a new sofa and a rug for the living room. I’ve been trying to find the perfect sofa for a year now!”
Riika’s son’s room is stylish and fun, with beautiful wooden furniture (including the ‘Mouse’ chair by Nofred), gymnastic rings and plenty of space to play.
Finally, what’s your top interior-design tip?
“Invest in good lighting! It makes such a difference, especially here in Finland where it’s very dark during the winter. I’ve created the lighting plan for all our apartments myself, so it’s not rocket science (my rule of thumb: when it comes to lighting, more is better!). But if you feel unsure, hire a professional. It will be money well spent.
“Even if you’re not renovating any time soon, you can do miracles with a few simple lighting tricks. Firstly, make sure the colour temperature of all your lights (marked with kelvins on the bulbs) is consistent across rooms. We prefer a cold colour, ideally 4000K, but we’ve settled for 3000K in this apartment because otherwise the selection of lamps would be so limited. Secondly, make sure there’s enough light! Check how many lumens your current lamps have, and choose new ones with higher luminosity if needed. And finally, buy smaller lamps for walls and tables etc to create a softer atmosphere.”
See more of Riika’s beautiful apartment – and follow along as she continues to decorate it – on her blog and Instagram feed. And, if you like the sound of Helsinki, you’ll find my top tips for exploring the Finnish capital here.
All photography by Riika Wikberg