It is time for another home tour to discover how people get that Scandinavian feeling no matter where they are. In this series we visit a selection of different Nordic style homes from around the world, last month we went to a joyful home in the Netherlands, and this time we head to Germany to see the beautiful and calm home of Riikka Soini-Ferraguto from Exminimalist.
As a Finn living in Northern Germany with her Italian husband and their two daughters, Riikka’s background was in multilingual communication but she always had a passion for interior decoration and design. A couple of years ago, they bought an old house in urgent need of renovation. Even though Riikka had already designed the two homes and a small studio apartment they had previously renovated in Finland, she decided to improve her skills by studying interior design and finished the course last summer.
Riikka’s home is a great testament to her passion and skills within interior design, and she has truly managed to create a lovely home for her family. I have been following her Instagram account Exminimalist for many years now and enjoyed watching her interior journey while seeing how she has transformed her Nordic home in Germany. Keep reading to learn more about her home and how she found that Scandinavian feeling.
Q1 // How would you describe your home and your interior style?
I think our home is quite Scandinavian but with a little Italian elegance added to it. I like things to be functional but also stylish. I’m a big fan of soft minimalism as I can’t relax in a messy place, surrounded by bright colours or if there’s no balance between the different elements but I still want to have cosy things like soft textiles and books around me. For me, it’s also important that the interior somehow reflects the architecture of the building and adapts to it. One of the reasons why I love design classics is that they somehow seem to fit everywhere and always look good.
Q2 // What inspires you when it comes to interior and your home?
Interior magazines and books used to be my main source of inspiration but nowadays there’s so much more. Social media channels like Instagram, Blogs and Pinterest show us daily the work of creative and talented people around the world and I find that fantastic. But ideas also come from a walk in the neighbourhood, design fairs, beautiful stores, cafes and restaurants or TV shows and films. Lots of design decisions in our home were also determined by the already existing details and potential hidden in the spaces.
Q3 // What is your favourite room / area of your home and why?
I don’t know if I can choose between the kitchen and the attic. We love cooking and when we first saw the house the kitchen was tiny and separated from the rest of the house. I would never have worked for us so now the open solution with a kitchen island seems like a dream come true. The attic of the house was completely unfinished so I had to plan everything from scratch. I love our own haven that includes a master bedroom, bathroom, home office and walk-in closet under the sloping roof.
Q4 // What piece of furniture or decor is most precious to you and why?
The first pieces of furniture that I bought together with my husband were our Aalto stools. They can be used in any space as seats or tables and I think they will always follow us. Another important piece of furniture is the big white bookshelf my late father built us according to my design.
Q5 // If you could start renovating or re-decorating your home today, what would you do differently?
Our master bathroom sink could be a bit deeper than 40 cm. The space was made a bit bigger than initially planned to fit the bathtub better and suddenly there was more space for a bigger sink as well. Only the sink was already there waiting to be installed… Anyhow, we’re still not completely finished with the renovation so we might still be able to fix this and use the current sink when we’re doing the basement home spa.
Q6 // What is your favourite current interior trend?
The sustainability trend really makes me happy if you can even call it a trend. I have always loved natural materials and design classics, they make you feel good, age well and look good even after decades. It’s also great to see that hand-made products have become popular.
Q7 // Why do you think the Scandinavian interior style is so popular?
There is so much information, visual noise and things happening around us that we need at least the home to be a place where we can just relax and wind down. Scandinavian interiors are typically quite simple, essential and balanced. Neutral colours, light wood and streamlined and functional design create a cosy and calm mood for the home. This feel of calm and harmony makes the Scandinavian interior perfect for the modern lifestyle.
Q8 // What are some of your favourite Scandinavian interior and decor brands?
There are so many! If we concentrate on Finnish design there are the big names Artek, Marimekko and Iittala but also many smaller brands that make beautiful design like Woodnotes, Nikari, Adea, Lundia, Matri, Poiat, Bonden, Gedigo, Himmee, Secto, Anno, Finarte and Hakola just to mention a few.
Q9 // What is your best decorating tips for anyone wanting to create a Scandinavian style in their home?
I don’t think there is just one Scandinavian style so you can make it more luxurious, minimal or cute and playful according to your tastes. The essential thing is to use natural materials, light wood and think of the functionality of the design. When the basics are there, add some candles, flowers, small table lamps and blankets for cosyness.
Q10 // How do you like to relax, how do you hygge?
We have lots of small lamps around the house so in the evening I like to switch them on to create a nice mood. I burn candles around the year and put soft blankets on sofas and armchairs so you can wrap them around you when you sit down. A cup of coffee or tea, soft music on the background, something to read or a good film to watch all work for me.
Q11 // How do you find that Scandinavian feeling in your daily life?
Like all Finnish homes, our kitchen cupboards are full of Iittala dishes so Scandinavian aesthetic is always present when we eat. We bake traditional Finnish pastries if there is some festivity and cook some typical Nordic dishes even though we normally eat more Italian at home. I think the Scandinavian feeling also comes from a certain way you organize your life at home: less clutter, more simplicity and functionality and thus higher quality of life.
// Photo credit: Exminimalist