House Tour : An Eclectic, Bohemian Inspired Apartment.
Thrift finds, vintage, DIY, restorations (and a big fluffy cat!) are centre stage in this eclectic, bohemian inspired apartment in Helsinki, Finland. Melanie talks us through her life-long love of thrifting and how she realizes her big ideas on a small budget.
How long have you been collecting vintage?
I remember dumpster diving an old vintage lamp when I was about ten years old, even then I was interested in interior design. I started to go treasure hunting in second hand stores as soon as I started to get allowance from my parents.
Where does your love of vintage come from?
I can thank my mother for that. She decorated our childhood home with beautifully aged hardwood furniture, so I've learned to respect the age and value of these items. Our summer house that was built in the 1800's is filled with antiques and vintage furniture, I remember being very fascinated by their history.
How would you describe your own vintage style?
I would describe it as eclectic. Our home has a mix of items from different eras and styles, and almost everything is second hand. A lot from our decor has been given to us from our family and friends, and some are souvenirs from our backpacking trips. Me and my husband both love natural materials, so we have a lot of wooden and wicker furniture. Bold colours and moody lights give our apartment a cosy feeling.
What do you look for when you are thrifting for your home?
I work in a second-hand shop, so I find most of our stuff from there. I almost never have anything specific in my mind when I go thrifting, but mostly I keep my eyes open for rattan/wicker items and ceramics. I also love different kinds of fabrics, we have enough curtains, throws and pillows to fill an entire house.
Do you have a criteria for your home décor based on style/era/colour … or is it a gut reaction?
It is definitely a gut reaction. The past few years I've been very into the whole 70's boho style, so you can see that in our home. But other than that, we don't have a specific style, whatever looks good!
You have restored a few vintage pieces of furniture, is this something you are trained in or are you self-taught?
I'm not trained at all. My husband and Youtube tutorials have been super helpful. DIY is something that I've always been interested in and I love learning new skills, I've been looking for furniture restoration classes to attend to.
My favourite pieces are my husband’s work desk that we bought for 15€, fixed and painted turquoise, and the old rattan chair that was originally spray painted white. I had to paint it to look like natural rattan again, since even after +20h of cleaning I couldn't get all of the white paint out. But I'd say that those projects are more like upcycling than restoration...
You have quite a few houseplants – would you say you are particularly ‘green-fingered’? Do you have any top tips for those of us who struggle to keep house plants alive?
I wouldn't say that I'm that green-fingered, I just have plants that are quite easy-care. Our apartment gets plenty of sunlight in the summer time, but Finnish winters are tough on houseplants. I'd say choose a type of plant that fits your home's conditions and try to find the perfect watering cycle. I've killed a couple of plants just by overwatering them.
Do you have any major future plans for your home?
Because we are renting we can't do any drastic changes in our home, but I'd love to find that perfect wallpaper for our bedroom. We live in an apartment complex and there are some plans for a big renovation for the entire house that would affect our kitchen and our bathroom. But we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
Discover more of Melanie’s fabulous apartment on her Instagram @suolamaella
Photo credits: All photos kindly provided by Melanie
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