This is the first Project Reveal on the blog, and I have been waiting for so long to be able to share the before and after pictures! This project was actually my first one, and who can be a better first client than your own mom. This is our family cottage, and I was so happy to be able to renovate it with my mom. It also made the whole process harder, because this house has so many good memories, and we didn't want to change it too drastically. In this post, I will share the before and after pictures, and explain some of the decisions we took!
The cottage was built in 1995 - when I was born - and it hasn't changed ever since. It is a very typical Finnish Hirsimökki that has been used as a second home until mid 2020. The function of the cottage has now changed, and it needed to be updated. The amount of pine wood was overwhelming, and there was a lack of contrast in the materials. Everything was the same colour, or pretty much the same colour.
The project - Modern Finnish Cottage
The idea of the renovation was to highlight the existing amazing features of the cottage while reducing the overwhelming amount of pine wood. We wanted to keep the identity of the cottage as a wood construction, but with a modernised twist. The layout of the house remains the same, because it is functional considering how small the space is. The renovation was done in several steps. Part 1 was the painting, part 2 was the furnishing and part 3 is what is left to do.
Painting the ceilings white
The first big step on the renovation was to paint the ceilings in white. This change was drastic but badly needed to make the rooms feel lighter and brighter. White is also the perfect colour to contrast with the existing beams! When renovating a cottage or any summer house, I always tend to say that there is no point in wanting everything white - it will look too clinical and the cottage will loose its character. By adding strong touches of white, it will already make a huge difference, while still keeping some of the existing and original wood. Painting the ceilings white is even better when the ceiling is a bit quirky because it will highlight these exciting and quirky corners!
Updating the existing furniture
A lot of furniture in the cottage was made of pine wood, just like the walls, floors and ceilings. They started to look a bit dated but were in a good state - perfect for a DIY transformation. The table and benches are very traditional and absolutely essential in the character of the cottage. We obviously couldn't change them for anything new, and as I say, what can be reused should not be replaced. We decided to go for white paint to stay very neutral but modern. The day light reflects nicely on the newly painted dining table, and it feels lighter. For the cabinet, we wanted to add a pop of colour. It was painted in white with a blue background, in keeping with the blue touches in the cottage.
A family friend made the ceiling light with reindeer antlers and LED lights. This was such a good DIY project too and it fits perfectly in the Finnish cottage. The lights and antlers are fixed on a piece of metal, which was originally from a beer barrel and it was found somewhere in one of the many lakes in Finland. The choice of light is very important to finish any space, and this light has found its place in our dining room! The updated furniture and the choice of decoration create a perfect balance between the remaining log walls and the new style of the cottage.
The cottage had only a few flat wood walls which we decided to paint in grey for the entrance and the office, and in a bright and vibrant blue for the bedroom. The existing log walls remain the same as they are part of the character of the Hirsimökki. These touches of colour are repeated in the other rooms of the house - the tiles around the fire place are painted in grey and some of the furniture is painted in blue.
What is coming next?
The cottage is still a work in progress. The floors still need to be painted, the kitchen needs a makeover and the bathroom will be completely renovated and modernised. All of this will be done in due time, and I will of course share the process and the end result!
As I said earlier, this whole process has not been easy because of the sentimental aspect of the cottage. I am so happy with the result and I can't wait for more memories to happen between these four walls!