sheltered amongst a woodland of pine trees, joanna laajisto designed a lakeside cabin for herself and her family in karjalohja, an hour’s drive from helsinki, finland. the design sits harmoniously on the banks of a secluded lake, built from natural materials and detailed to maximize outdoor living. this – the connection to nature – was vital to create the character of the getaway.
‘one of the most important design drivers for me was that the house should look and feel like a cabin, not like a residential home,’ told designer joanna laajisto about villa rauhanniemi to designboom.
all images courtesy of studio joanna laajisto, by mikko ryhänen
the site of joanna laajisto’s villa rauhanniemi was chosen carefully to minimize its footprint and damage to the surrounding nature. only three big pines where lost during the build, and the wood of each was reused to make the outdoor benches. a covered terrace ensures the designer and her family can enjoy outdoor living as much as possible. it shelters them from the ever-changing weather and the intense midday sun but maximizes use in the evening on long summer days.
the characterful cabin feeling is reflected by its seemingly simple and stripped back kitchen. all technical components, from the dishwasher to the washing machine and heat recovery ventilation, are carefully hidden from view. the result is a functional and homely kitchen that does not appear high-tech. made from light pine wood, the countertops are then lined with a light grey limestone. views from the counter open out over the lake whilst the forest is visible when at the stove or sink.
the kitchen forms part of the large open-plan social space with the dining and living room, which, like the rest of the cabin, has been built using natural materials without moldings. this meant each and every connection was precise, considered and designed down to the last detail. the dining table, made from the same douglas fir as the floor boards, is the focus of the home, where long dinners unite friends and family, and also offers a place for the kids to play games and draw.
the living area is furnished for sentimental value, from vintage designs to objects inherited from relatives, such as the oiva toikka glass bird in the dining room. the living room features the ateljee sofa designed by yrjö kukkapuro, the leather 411 armchair designed by ben af schulten for artek, and the lumme floor lamp designed specifically by joanna laajisto. vintage aalto chairs, refreshed in a light grey paint, and thonet classics are placed around the dining table whilst the santa & cole maija lamp designed by ilmari tapiovaara hangs above. le corbusier’s lampe de marseille from nemo lighting brightens the kitchen.
the bedrooms are kept to just the essentials. in the master room, the bed is joined by a small storage closet built into the wall, and the laajisto-designed airisto bedside tables for made by choice, which dupe as extra dining seats when needed. double doors open out on to the terrace as a constant connection to the environment. similarly, three small bedrooms with a total of six comfortable beds, feature large windows or doors to extend their visual boundaries.
‘my dream has always been to have double doors opening to the terrace from a bedroom. it creates a direct connection to the surrounding nature,’ tells joanna to designboom.
the bathroom continues to match the home’s natural, organic aesthetic. terracotta tiles line the floor whereas the walls adorn a micro cement plaster. antoniolupi fittings and lighting then furnish the space. no finnish cabin would be complete without its own sauna. fitted with a door hand-carved with a traditional pattern by the designer, the sauna is connected to the house to be used year round.