Sameli Rantanen and Ulla Koskinen not only designed this Finnish style contemporary dream home, but they also live and work there. Ulla is a Finnish designer who has worked for firms such as Marimekko, Artek and Woodnotes. Her equally talented husband, Sameli, is both a photographer and graphic designer. With their combined talents and vision they created this home as a prototype for the Finnish home construction company Kannustalo. In the design of Lato, their primary building material choices consisted of cement, wood and glass. They have managed to create this modern stylish home that allows them and their family plenty of space to both work and relax.
The home is actually quite large at 5,758 square feet and was planned to appear externally as a cross between a country home and a barn. This enhances its ability to blend well with its environmental placement in the countryside outside of Helsinki. The layout of the home is clearly open plan with the kitchen, dining and living room areas gracefully flowing into one another. Simultaneously, each area is also able to maintain its unique character via specific choices in decor. There is a simple and elegant fireplace embedded in one wall in the living area, which along with the cozy sofa, provides a radiating feeling of comfort and warmth.
The internal palette of the home is fairly neutral with a mix of varying shades of grey, white, black against a bleached wood floor. There are large expanses of windows to allow not only for the influx of natural light, and exposure to the beautiful views of the countryside, but also to maintain a deep and immediate connection to the external environment and changing seasons. The master bedroom suite and office area are also located on the main living level. The home is built around a central courtyard which allows for both the increase of natural light into all areas and the creation of an organic separation for the master bedroom from the primary living area. The lower level of the home contains rooms for the children.
The entire home is designed and decorated with a minimalistic sense and linear attributes. This style is quite freeing in my opinion. There is so much clutter in the world which can also begin to clutter our minds. This space creates a peaceful environment that seems to be in harmony with its natural surroundings. Such attention was paid to every detail of the home. From the wood utilized building that was felled on the same property, to the decor which reflects the personal style and values of the residents. This seems a home designed for their own family, but with the inclination to share their values and open their sense of aesthetics to the world. They had a willingness to not only design this dream home for themselves, but in conjunction with Kannustalo, others may share in their special creation.