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This modern family home invites nature inside

A nature-loving family are the embodiment of Scandi style, embracing comfort inside while still connected to the outside


Meet & greet

Elisabeth Ritola (works in the health care sector), Markku Hirvonen (aviation sector professional) and Lucas, eight.

Elisabeth Ritola and Markku Hirnoven’s house, Villa Lume, was built on a plot of land by a forest. The spacious home is divided into two levels and decorated in soft shades to create an inviting and serene atmosphere, which is enhanced by a beautiful green view that looks like a wall-sized painting in the main living space.

“We dreamed of a house of our own but didn’t know anything about building,” admits Elisabeth. “We knew from the start that we would outsource practically everything. We wanted a plot of land
by the forest and found this one, which is also very near to my parents’ home.

The neighbourhood was familiar and, because they have a child, it was practical to have help and company nearby. After finding the plot, the couple hired an architect for the project and the house’s frame was built using concrete blocks. The name of the house, Villa Lume, comes from the first names of the family members: the first letters of Lucas, Markku and Elisabeth put together.

“Stone block houses are familiar to us as Elisabeth used to live in one,” says Markku. “We wanted to have high ceilings, big windows and an open living room, dining room and kitchen space. Spaciousness, lots of daylight and harmony were what we were looking for.”

The floor design required some careful planning. The couple wanted to have the bedrooms upstairs to have more quietness and privacy. The entry hall, kitchen, dining space, living room and media room are situated downstairs, as well as the sauna and the utility room. It was important for the family to have a separate media room so the television wouldn’t have a central role in the main living space. Above all, the family wanted to have a big rooftop terrace.

The colour scheme of the home was created to complement nature. The couple wanted to make the window views of the surrounding nature the focal point and chose soft and natural paint colours for the interior, Elisabeth explains.

The couple chose different shades of grey, beige and greige that are repeated in the surface materials as well as the furniture. The colours in nature vary with the seasons and change the atmosphere of the home. The objective was to create a peaceful and simple home that would be like a calm haven. Organic minimalism and wabi-sabi were a source of inspiration.

“Patterns don’t attract us; we prefer plain monochrome materials instead,” says Elisabeth. “Nature functions as an artwork in our home and the interior consists of simple and clear solutions.”

Elisabeth and Markku built a stone house with lots of glass surfaces. Black metal is repeated in a few pieces of furniture, but the couple especially love natural materials such as wood and rattan in their furniture. One of the first purchases for the future home was in fact a wooden coffee table and is characteristic of the style that inspires them.

“We have very similar tastes, so choosing the materials was easy enough. We had skilful professionals working for us and didn’t need to make any big compromises,” Markku says.

The couple wanted to have an open kitchen solution that would continue to the dining space and also the living room next to it. They often cook together and love to invite friends to dinner. All the kitchen appliances are built-in models to keep the overall look calm. Unlike the other spaces, slightly stronger contrasts were chosen for the kitchen and therefore the white cabinets are combined with dark brown wall paint.

“Our home has big, continuous open spaces and the same floor material continues from one space to another,” Markku observes. “The vinyl plank flooring is almost white. It was a great choice, it’s easy to keep clean and works well with the underfloor heating.”

The stone wall in the main living space plays an important role in the interior. The couple wanted to finish the six-metre-tall feature with something other than paint and discovered mixing two types of stone a perfect fit.

“Our dream was to feel close to nature and we have achieved that. The big windows and the forest views are the highlight of our home. In the summer, nature is like a green jungle behind the window, then we have brilliant autumn colours and finally a winter wonderland,” says Elisabeth.

The building project was a huge undertaking and the couple now feel blessed to spend time in a peaceful haven that counterbalances their busy lives. Everything the family wanted is right here. That’s not to say their dream house is completely finished, but there’s no hurry to do more as they feel that it’s perfect for them right now.

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