My neighbourhood

Eeva returned to her childhood neighbourhood of Tapiola that has shaken off its sleepiness

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Eeva Louko, 40, wrote the detective novel Onnellisten saari (“Happy Island”) (2022) about her former home on Lauttasaari island, but Tapiola has now become her own “happy island”. She and her family have been living in Tapiola for the last 4.5 years.

This is not her first time living in Tapiola, as Eeva’s childhood home was in northern Tapiola. She then spent 15 years living in Punavuori and Lauttasaari.

“I never thought I would return to Tapiola, but after various events, I came back. This area used to be too rural for my taste, but nowadays, it has many cool restaurants and shops, even a metro line.”

We are sitting in a café in the fresh and bright shopping centre Ainoa, which was fully opened in autumn 2019. Eeva lives near Ainoa and has arrived by bicycle.

“It is easy to move around with a bike in Tapiola. I love jogging, and there are excellent outdoor routes here. Tapiola feels less crowded than Lauttasaari.”

Eeva also praises the pedestrian-friendly street design of the neighbourhood. Many people think that you need a car if you live in Espoo, but Tapiola has excellent bicycle and pedestrian lanes and public transport.

Safe enough for children to move around by themselves 

Before moving to Tapiola, Eeva lived with her husband, their two children, cat and Labrador in Lauttasaari, and before that in a one-bedroom apartment in Punavuori.

“Walking a big dog in the city centre was no walk in the park. In Punavuori, we would go to the Koff dog park, which is rather small. We lived in a 100-year-old stone house that didn’t really have storage space, not even a bike storage.” 

Labrador Retriever Remus died last autumn, but now the family has a white Labrador puppy, Nelson, and 13-year-old rescue cats, Nappi and Sniffer, which became part of the family a few years ago.

“Tapiola has excellent places for walking the dog. Getting around with children is also easy. In addition, children can go to school, the playground and their friends’ houses on their own, because it is so safe here and everything is near.”

For Eeva, being able to let her children move around independently is one of the best things about the area.

“This feels like a safe haven. Tapiola is still village-like, but in a good way.”

Eeva hurries to note that Tapiola is not a sleepy little village. Tapiola is growing and expanding, and new residential areas and houses are under construction as we speak. The growing population has attracted many services to the area, and Helsinki is quickly accessible by metro or bicycle.

Remote work is nicer in a spacious home 

The family has a small private yard with Virginia creepers. Eeva and her husband have been thinking about having garden beds in the yard.

“It’s so cosy to have coffee in your own yard!”

The spacious home and private yard are also nice in the sense that Eeva is currently working completely remotely: half-time as a communications expert, and otherwise writing a sequel to her novel. The new book will be published next year.

“It’s great that I can be more present for the children during their first years of school.”

Lots of culture and sports 

One of Eeva’s favourite places in Tapiola is the Espoo Cultural Centre, where she attended piano lessons at the Espoo Music Institute for 10 years. As an adult, she has started taking saxophone lessons at the Omnia Adult Education Centre in Tapiola. Eeva often visits the city library at the Cultural Centre with her children.

Tapiola has many cultural events, such as Espoo Ciné, April Jazz, Tapiola Festival and the festivities on Espoo Day. The Espoo City Theatre and Kino Tapiola, an atmospheric one-room cinema dating back to the 1950s, are also located nearby.

“Espoo has been quite dormant at times, but nowadays it has a more active cultural scene. Tapiola has a certain sense of community and great nature. People are down-to-earth despite the high education level. You can find people of all ages and in all situations of life here.”

The Tapiola Sports Park area has everything a sports enthusiast could possibly need, including football and floorball pitches, a gym and a trampoline park. The beautiful Espoo Waterfront Walkway is popular among joggers and cyclists.

In the summer, Eeva and her children go swimming on the Westend beach and in the new Matinkylä swimming pool, which is open all year round. She is looking forward to the re-opening of the Tapiola swimming pool in two years, after the renovation. The venue was first opened in 1965.

Eeva’s tips for Tapiola

Shopping Centre Ainoa

“Everything one needs. for example, Stockmann and the legendary Herkku food market. There is also Kaisan Café, a long-standing cafeteria, famous for its giant cinnamon buns.”

Kino Tapiola

“A really atmospheric 1950s cinema saved by civic activism, with fairy lights on the terrace, velvet chairs and sometimes adult-only shows with wine service.”

Emma

“An internationally renowned art museum complex with a recently renovated children’s museum and a charming restaurant.”

Pihkapolku

Idyllic old wooden houses with sloped ceilings from the early 1940s. I dream of living there myself someday. The adjacent Kimmeltie street is also full of gems from the 50s and 60s.”

Architecture

“Tapiola is full of architectural masterpieces from the 50s and 60s. Some of the finest areas include Silkkiniitty with its detached and terraced houses, the Suvikumpu area near the moats, designed by Reima and Raili Pietilä, and Tapiola Church, an authentic specimen of Brutalist concrete architecture.”

Interested in living in Tapiola?

Explore Lumo homes

Lumo Rental apartments Tapiola, Espoo
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29.8.2022

Text Elisa Helenius

Images Milka Alanen

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