Laura Lohi moved into her new Lumo home in early 2018. “The move was convenient and the apartment felt like home right away. Her favourite features of the modern single room apartment in Töölö are its brightness, location and high-quality interior.
The corridors of Töölönkatu 11–15 in Helsinki’s Etu-Töölö district still have that distinct smell of a freshly renovated property. The culturally and historically valuable building was recently renovated to create 102 new Lumo homes. The tenants were able to move into their new homes in February.
As I approach the apartment at the end of the corridor on the third floor, the door is opened by 38-year-old IT professional Laura Lohi. She invites us into her spacious single room apartment, which has plenty of natural light well into the afternoon, even in March. My first impression of the apartment is that it’s spacious, serene and nicely finished. On the left there is a living space that includes a workstation. On the right is the sleeping space and bathroom.
Lohi’s terrier, Lumi, welcomes us with excitement and looks very much at home in the apartment. Lumi is a dog in shared custody, spending about two weeks at a time at the apartment on Töölönkatu and the rest of the time with Lohi’s former partner.
“I like the fact that pets are welcome in Lumo homes. I understand why many lessors have a no-pets rule, but still, it’s nice that I didn’t have to worry about that,” Lohi says as she tells Lumi to settle down.
Having been among the first people to move into the building after the renovation work was completed, Lohi has now had about a month to get used to her life in her new home.
Moving made easy
The apartments on Töölönkatu caught Lohi’s eye when she was browsing advance marketing materials for Lumo homes. The location made the building an attractive proposition for her. The spacious single room apartments seemed to be the right size for her needs, so she decided to learn more about them.
Before the move, Lohi lived in a Lumo home in Munkkisaari, in southern Helsinki.
“At the Lumo property on Hernesaarenkatu, I joined the other tenants in creating a Facebook group. It made a big difference in getting to know your neighbours. We organised joint activities and the neighbours felt like members of the same community rather than faceless people passing by,” Lohi explains.
Leaving was not an easy decision, because it meant she would no longer be part of the vibrant community at her previous apartment building. In the end, she could not resist the bright single room apartment in Töölö.
“I came for an open house and I saw these big windows. They were the biggest reason behind my decision to move.
Once I’d made up my mind, everything went very smoothly. Lohi agreed with the lessor to postpone the date of her move by a few weeks to avoid the busiest time of tenants moving into the newly renovated building. The majority of the tenants moved in around the same time after the renovation work was completed in February 2018. When you move from one Lumo home to another, you can easily negotiate a suitable day for your move, and you never have to pay rent for two Lumo apartments at the same time.
The fixtures and equipment of the new Lumo home are worthy of praise
Laura Lohi’s favourite aspects of her home on Töölönkatu are its brightness and sense of space. The apartment is also very quiet: the windows are towards Töölönkatu, which doesn’t have a lot of traffic in the area the building is located in.
With previous experience related to home renovation and maintenance, Lohi looks at the fixtures and equipment of her new home with an expert eye. She is particularly pleased with the apartment’s integrated home appliances, induction cooker and surface materials. The stone worktops in the kitchen are both stylish and easy to keep clean. The dimmable ceiling lights allow her to quickly change the mood inside the apartment.
“It’s nice to have a rental place where the quality is comparable to an apartment you own,” Lohi says.
In addition to being pleased with the materials, Lohi likes the interior structures in her new home. The high ceiling is adorned with sturdy industrial style beams that have been left visible and painted white to match the rest of the ceiling. Lohi fell in love with them at first sight.
“There were several of these single room units vacant on different floors of the building. The apartments on the top floor have lower ceilings and the beams are not visible. I knew right away that the beams were something I wanted my apartment to have,” Lohi explains.
When she’s at home, Lohi usually spends time on her sofa in front of the large windows. The ample natural light is great for reading and knitting. Decorative objects on the windowsill are a nice finishing touch for her den.
“I specifically wanted to have coloured glass here. I really like glass as a material, and the way light filters through on the windowsill looks beautiful,” Lohi adds.
Something old, something green
Lohi’s apartment is divided in two by high cabinets and a kitchen island. Behind the cabinets is a quiet and relatively large corner. Lohi says it was originally intended for use as storage space, but she wanted to make more efficient use of it by putting in a large bed. The fact that the closets open in the direction of the bed makes the space even more functional.
“The space where I put the bed doesn’t officially count as a room because there’s no window,” Lohi explains.
“But it’s just fine for sleeping.”
Most of the furniture and decorative items in the apartment were moved over from Lohi’s previous home. Her old furniture was a surprisingly good fit with the new space: she is only planning to freshen up things a little bit here and there by getting a new rug and bedspread, for example.
Influenced by her background in graphic design, Lohi has a minimalist and clean approach to interior decoration. The furniture in primary colours matches the apartment’s fixed elements, while much of the space on the wall has been allocated to a collage of pictures. Forest green is used as an accent colour in textiles and the pictures on the wall.
“Even when you go for that clean Scandinavian style, you need to have a twist when it comes to interior design. For me, that means incorporating more unique objects that have been passed down to me. That way, your home won’t end up looking like it was taken straight off the pages of a catalogue,” Lohi muses.
“For example, that glass cabinet was passed down from my grandparents. It’s from the 1920s. The camphor wood chest in the living room is from the 1950s or 60s. Camphor has a pleasant smell, so I keep my bed sheets in there,” Lohi says.
Töölö’s location makes it easy to get around
Lohi is already familiar with the popular residential area of Töölö, even though she hasn’t lived there before.
“You could say that my move to Töölö represents the closing of a circle — my father is from here,” Lohi says with a laugh.
One aspect of the new neighbourhood that she is already impressed by is its central location. Lohi uses both her own car and public transport. The metro station in Kamppi is a short walk from the apartment, and bus stops are even closer. The only downside for a car owner is the relative shortage of parking spaces.
“When you use your car to get around, you’re always slightly worried about finding a parking space when you get back. So far, I’ve always managed to find one,” Lohi explains.
Daily life is also made easier by the fact that Töölö offers good opportunities for spending time outdoors. Lohi occasionally goes running and, when Lumi is staying with her, they go for a walk three times per day. She is satisfied with the running and walking trails in the area: Hesperianpuisto park is right around the corner and, on the other side of Mannerheimintie, the shores of Töölönlahti and Central Park are also within easy reach.
In addition to spending time outdoors, Lohi’s hobbies include the gym, yoga and swimming. She has been able to fit everything into her schedule during her time in Töölö.
“Daily life runs smoothly in this neighbourhood,” she concludes.
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