Niklas Stranden and Katja Saanakorpi moved to the new towerlike apartment building on Sibeliuksenkatu in Järvenpää at the end of October 2017. The couple's three-room apartment with 60 square metres is bright and spacious. There are no thresholds in the apartment, the doorways are wide and the glass shower wall in the bathroom hinges conveniently aside, when one needs to use a wheelchair when taking a shower.
Niklas needs a wheelchair for his daily mobility and appreciates also the accessibility in the public facilities of the building and in the surroundings of the house.
“The laundry room and sauna are accessible. The pedestrian street passing by the building is heated, so it’s easy to get to the store even in winter. Snow clearance also works better in the centre than in the outskirts of the city,” Stranden says.
It is not a long journey to the stores, which Stranden appreciates very much. The green signs and entrance of the Prisma centre are directly visible from the windows of the sixth-floor apartment. There is a lift to take you downstairs, and Stranden does not have any problems opening even the heaviest doors when sitting in his wheelchair. However, there are a few improvements he would like to suggest to the planners.
“On the Prisma side of the building, there are three steps when coming to the street. I can manage them, but I have expressed my wish to have a similar ramp put there as there is on the other side of the building. In addition, due to being under pressure, the door to the garbage room is heavy to pull open,” he points out.
Stranden and Saanakorpi’s apartment has a large glazed balcony, stretching the whole length of the open-plan kitchen and living room.
“A friend of mine, who has been in the construction industry for 30 years, said that he’s never seen such a large balcony. It has a total of 14 glasses. The length from one end to the other is about 10.5 metres,” Stranden says, relating the results of his calculations.
On the balcony, there is a grey corner sofa with a coffee table and an electric grill. It also accommodates other stuff, such as the wheelchair Niklas uses for playing basketball, which is one of his hobbies. When moving in, the grey carpet on the floor was already there, provided by the housing company.
Stranden has lived in Järvenpää for a total of 41 years and even in the same neighbourhood for 30 years. Sibeliuksenkatu 27 is a newly constructed Lumo property, built in the place of a house originally completed in the 1960s. When the tower house was being built, Stranden walked past the construction site every day with his dog and stopped by to chat with the construction workers.
“In the beginning of last year, I began investigating how I could get an apartment in the building. The building had reached the rooftop height at that time. I called and asked, when it would be possible to see the floorplan. We made a reservation as soon as it was possible,” he recalls.
Smoothly running everyday life
The French bulldog Roosa is dragging a violet soft toy from the bedroom into the living room, jumping on the sofa and then down again. She has company on weekdays as well, as Niklas, who is on disability pension, is at home a lot. Katja takes a bus four times a week to go to the work centre of the City of Järvenpää.
At home, the couple has two TVs, placed strategically in different rooms, so that they can each watch the kind of programmes they like at the same time. Niklas has taken over the living room with his Xbox game console, and the office and guest room next to the bedroom is Katja’s domain.
The walls of the apartment are decorated with art painted by Niklas’ mother. Here and there, there are also souvenirs from different corners of the world: African statues and seashells collected from journeys to Europe. When entering the apartment, in the hallway the guests are welcomed by a portrait of a young boy.
“That's me at the age of 10. My mom painted it,” Niklas says.
From one Lumo home to another
The previous apartment of Stranden and Saanakorpi was only one and a half square metres smaller than the current one, and it was also a Lumo home. The new building, however, caught their interest for many different reasons. The apartment on Sibeliuksenkatu is more open and brighter and it has better sound insulation.
“In our old apartment, there were tractors roaring under our window all the time. The construction of the area has continued for three years. It’s quieter here.”
“Here, the neighbours may be a bit older and more peaceful people,” Niklas and Katja admit.
As residents moving from one Lumo home to another, Lumo provided Stranden and Saanakorpi with removal boxes for the duration of their move free of charge. In the process of moving, they were assisted by a group of friends. They did not need to make many new purchases, as there was enough furniture from the old apartment for decorating the new one as well.
The big windows have blackout curtains to protect the apartment from excessive sunlight, and there is a fan in the living room to cool the air, if necessary.
Company behind the wall
Living on Sibeliuksenkatu is pleasant also for another reason: one of Stranden's friends is living behind the living room wall. Roni Gorell heard about the house under construction from Niklas and rented his own 33-square-metre single apartment on the same floor.
“I moved in on Friday 27 October, one day before Niki and Katja,” says Gorell, who we happen to bump into in the corridor.
As they meet, the neighbours quickly exchange the latest news. Then they discuss the new electronic booking system for the laundry room and sauna for a while, once again pay attention to the large and bright lighting fixtures in the corridor and continue in their respective directions. In the evening, we are have coffee in Stranden and Saanakorpi’s home. They have settled in here quickly.
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