When friends studying engineering wanted a spacious shared apartment in good condition, they found the solution near them. They now have it all in Otaniemi, Espoo: a Lumo home, the university, friends and a parklike campus.
Student friends Aura Kiiskinen and Elena Rima have been living in their Lumo home since November. Aalto University, where they are both learning about information networks on weekdays, is just a 15 minute-walk away.
“We had visited this house before and taken a fancy to both the apartment and the location. When a two-room apartment was coming available, it was easy to make the decision to move in. Everything went quickly and smoothly.”
Before their current Lumo home, Rima and Kiiskinen first lived in a cramped, shabby, shared apartment. The move to the new home was easy not only in mental terms, but also physically, since the distance was only 50 metres.
“This was the perfect solution for us: the apartment was in good condition and allowed us to live in the Teekkarikylä student village. It also affected our decision that we have friends living in the very same building on Servinkuja.
It feels natural to go and ring your neighbour’s doorbell, invite them for a coffee or, say, ask to borrow some sugar. Certain neighbours of ours arrange dinner parties on Sundays, where a lot of people gather.”
A lot of room
Kiiskinen and Rima began their studies two years ago. They both initially lived in separate shared apartments.
“I didn’t feel it was really my thing; even the tidiness left a lot to be desired. In Otaniemi, people are relaxed and spontaneous anyway, so I suggested to Aura perhaps she would like to share an apartment with me.”
Living in the same apartment has gone well. There is plenty of room: At their housewarming party, Rima and Kiiskinen had as many as 30 guests. The roomy kitchen and glazed balcony expand the two-room apartment even more.
The kitchen is a good place for doing group work related to studies. Or, alternatively, you can enjoy delicious creations by the master baker Kiiskinen, such as double-layered chocolate cakes or mud cakes with no whipped cream spared.
According to Rima, her favourite place varies according to her mood: sometimes it is the kitchen, and sometimes her own room or her roommate’s room. It is nicer to watch movies and television series together.
“If you feel productive, the kitchen table is an excellent place to work. The best place for chilling, on the other hand, is on my bed in my own room.”
There is a heat lamp on the balcony, which makes it possible to hang around there even when the weather is cool. The view from the topmost fourth floor looks directly into nature.
“The sunsets are stunning, and you can catch a glimpse of the sea between the trees. While drinking my morning coffee, I look out and think that I have another good day ahead of me,” Rima describes
Important things on display
The childhood homes of Rima and Kiiskinen are not far away: Kiiskinen comes from Helsinki and Rima from Tammisaari.
“I had a lot of books that I had to bring with me to Otaniemi,” says Kiiskinen.
Her room has no door, but a big bookshelf provides some privacy. The books waiting to be read include Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind. In addition, Kiiskinen plays tennis and takes group exercise classes from Pilates to fitness boxing.
Everywhere she has moved, Rima has always been followed by the guardian angel that watches over her from the bedside table. Also on the table are knick-knacks given by friends and souvenirs from trips.
“I brought my best dance prizes here. I’ve been dancing all my life, so I’ve gotten quite a few trophies.”
On the wall, there is a treasure map ‒ Rima and her mother and sister create a new one every year.
“It’s kind of introspection: on the treasure map, you collect inspiring phrases and images that tell about your expectations for the coming year.”
Koti tuo hyvinvointia
Kiiskinen keeps her hobbies both on display and hidden. In her room, Kiiskinen has a troll picture she made at the age of six, but her other drawings are hidden between the covers of sketchbooks.
“I’ve always liked the visual arts, but I’ve also been interested in mathematics. In my studies, I can combine my creativity and artistic inclinations with industrial engineering and technology. Fields of technology with a human orientation are suited for me.”
Rima, who used to play the piano, says that nowadays she prefers to pick the guitar just for fun. At student events, she plays and sings with others.
There is something going on in Otaniemi all the time, and Kiiskinen and Rima enjoy living on the campus. If they need to go somewhere further away, the quickest way to get to the metro station one kilometre away is to take a city bike.
In a year’s time, Kiiskinen will have an exchange period in Hong Kong and Rima in Mexico. They hope to find a tenant for six months.
“We don’t want to give up this home of ours where we enjoy living.”
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