Auli Honkanen's home is conveniently located: a metro station and a shopping centre can be found within a 5-minute walk, and the seashore is only a few minutes’ walk away. Honkanen has been living in Vuosaari since the turn of the year. She ended up in the area half by accident but has already grown attached to the neighbourhood.
“Earlier, I lived in a detached house in Espoo for a long time. I got divorced, started looking for a new home and went to apartment viewings all over the city. What attracted me in Vuosaari was its closeness to nature and its central location near good transport links.
Since then, I’ve become familiar with the nature trails of Vuosaari.” Honkanen's favourite places include Aurinkolahti, Uutela and Kallahti, which she can reach quickly by bike.
“I’ve been exploring the seashore intently and I’ve found absolutely wonderful, peaceful spots for picnics,” says Honkanen, a trained horticulturist, who formerly worked as editor of Viherpiha, for example.
Following one’s own rules after the child has flown from the nest
On a sunny afternoon, children's voices carry into the apartment through the open living room door. There is a hustle and bustle on the big common courtyard, but although located on the first floor, Honkanen’s home is still sheltered from undesired disturbances.
“When the door is closed, it’s really quiet indoors. As a former detached house dweller, I was surprised that I very seldom hear my neighbours,” says Honkanen.
In a 41.5-square metre apartment, there is enough storage space and not a single square metre wasted. The home is well suited to Honkanen’s current life situation in other respects as well.
“This is the first time in a long time that I’m living alone, now that my child has already moved into his own apartment. At the beginning, I naturally wondered how on earth could I ever fit all the belongings I had in my detached house here,” she says.
Auli Honkanen's home is dominated by light colours, and both the plant posters in the kitchen and the house plants in the living room reflect her love of plants. The living room door opens onto a large terrace in the house’s common courtyard. The terrace could easily accommodate a dinner table, sofa, and even plenty of plants. However, Honkanen is taking a break from tending a garden, and there is a good reason for that.
“This home is temporary. At the end of the year, I’ll move to Vallila, as soon as the home I’ve acquired there is completed,” says Honkanen.
Easily from the Lumo webstore
To Honkanen, finding a Lumo home felt like winning the lottery on the rental market, where it felt like someone always snatched the best apartments right away, and the apartment viewings were always crowded.
“I heard about Lumo homes from a friend of mine, and I was instantly sold. I searched for a suitable home in the Lumo webstore, and the apartment was mine after I paid the first rent.”
Honkanen took a fancy to her current home already on paper. When she saw it for the first time on the spot, it became clear that the home was in good condition and exactly as it was meant to be.
“Everything went very smoothly,” she commends.
The house is only a few years old, so Honkanen did not need to do any surface renovation. Both the kitchen and bathroom are equipped in accordance with the modern standards, and in Honkanen's view there are enough wall sockets.
Honkanen was positively surprised not only by the appropriate standard of equipment but also the maintenance service (in Finnish).
“Shortly after I’d moved in, I noticed that the previous resident had removed the drain hose of the dishwasher and I got scared that this could cause water damage. I called the maintenance service, and the maintenance man immediately came to see and check that everything was in order.”
Putting important things on display
Honkanen has built-up her home into a peaceful oasis, where it is nice to curl up to plan the future, read or just watch one’s favourite TV shows. Her absolute favourite place at home is the sofa, from which she has a view to the outdoors and everywhere in the apartment.
In the decor, new and old elements alternate. When sitting by the modern dining set, one can admire the old chest of drawers and the mirror that Honkanen got from her mother.
“The lamp hanging over the coffee table has travelled with me since I had my very first own home, and the Buddha smiling on the top of the small cabinet between the hallway and the living room is a souvenir from a business trip. It always makes me happy to look at it.”
It is important for Honkanen that her dearest belongings are on display. On the other hand, it must also be easy to make adjustments at home.
“I like changing the places of things and making different arrangements from souvenirs and cut flowers. At home, it’s important that you can play around with the decor a little bit,” she says.
Experienced gardener’s tips to success
Auli Honkanen, horticulturist and former editor of Viherpiha, takes a year off from outdoor plants, but is already planning a balcony garden for her next home. She plans to build it around a Mediterranean theme. She is dreaming about, say, enjoying her lunch surrounded by rosemary, lavender, lemon trees and olive trees.
Here are Auli’s tips for other balcony gardeners!
- Dare to fool around! On your balcony or terrace, create a different world than the one your home decor represents. Change the theme and plants annually to learn more about growing different plants and you will have a different look for your balcony every year.
- Be faithful to the growing conditions and select the plants according to the amount of light on the balcony. If the balcony is sun-drenched and hot, do not try to put out any plants that need a shaded spot and thrive in a cool place.
- Do not hesitate to turn your balcony or terrace into a second living room. If there is enough space, add some seating areas on the terrace and arrange room for eating.
- Plant your plants in bigger pots than you originally intended. More room for soil keeps the dirt more evenly damp, and you do not need to water the pots every day. A larger pot is good for the plants as well: the plants can better fight off plant lice and other pests when their roots are not under constant stress due to too little space or the drying of the soil.
- Water your plants throughout the summer using water with fertiliser. Balcony plants need plenty of nutrients to blossom and thrive from spring to autumn. Pluck off any wilted flowers regularly to ensure that the flowering continues steadily.