Suomi, sauna and sisu

December 31, 2016 Koivisto 2 Comments

The last post of this year is dedicated to maybe the most important place for the finns - sauna. It's about Finnish mentality "sisu", which got us this far with the renovation. But mostly it's about Tobi's carpenter skills, which is the main reason for our stunning sauna. In a country with 5 million inhabitants, there is over 3 million saunas. That tells something about the importance of sauna in Finland. When the settlers were moving into a new area, they built first a sauna and lived there so long as the making of the whole house lasted. Sauna was not only the place for washing, but the place for giving birth and the place, where the dead loved ones were washed the last time. Sauna was for us also something considered as self-evident. We already wrote a little about our sauna in the post Smokey sauna and almost ready restroom and now it's time to show it all.
We continued with the walls by attaching the painted spruce panels with a nail gun. Underneath the wood is an aluminium foil, which protecs the building from the steam. Under the foil is an isolation, that the warmth will stay in the sauna.
The best part was to build the sauna benches. We started it by building bench structures and legs out of pine. We painted them transparent black with Tikkurila's Saunasupi, so they would blend to the black walls.
Because of the size of the room and the places of the door and the sauna stove, we came up with a solution, where the upper bench has the shape of u. The structure of the benches were attached into the framework of the wall. Between wall and the bench structure needs to be air, that the wood will stay dry and clean. This was created by attaching little pieces of wood to the structure. Now there is about 5mm gap between the bench and the wall.
We chose aspen for the benches, because of the quality, the bright color and we wanted to use Finnish wood. The almost white wood creates nice contrast with the black walls. First Tobi attached the front parts of the benches.
Next part was to build the sitting parts for the benches. Tobi made them removable, that they will be easier to clean. First the aspen boards were placed to the bench structure. The gaps were done by placing 10mm thick pieces of wood between them. Then the boards were screwed together with black wooden parts underneath the bench.
The finishing look for the sauna was created with the backrest. We wanted it a little slanted, that it would be ergonomic to lean. The backrest was attached to the panels with black wooden parts. Then we tested how the sauna benches work. It was easy to remove the seats and put them back again. Yippee!
Last step was to make the stools. Susanna tested carpenter work by making one of the stools. It was lot of fun for her, but not for Tobi's nerves. We decided, that further on Tobi can mainly focus on the big scale wood work.
We had some struggles along the way. For example the chimney needed to be planned at the very last moment again. We had doubts about the fireplace, would it give enough heat to the big sauna? But all troubles were gone the moment, when we tested heating first time. All worked better than we expected. Also the look turned out the way we wanted. In the warm light and darkness is good to relax and enjoy. We got the Rento bucket (saunakiulu) as a Christmas present and it's like made for here. With our new beautiful sauna we are ready for the new year.

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Holiday in our big bathroom

December 24, 2016 Koivisto 0 Comments

We had a goal to make all the rooms ready at the basement before holidays and we almost made it! The workshop spaces are still unfinished, but otherwise. In some miraculous way also our sauna is despite some difficulties now ready, but not yet tested. We are still waiting the paint to dry. Now it's time to show our huge bathroom. We installed our new showers over a week ago and this week our electrician made the lights work. Day before yesterday we finished our bathroom furniture and now the room is starting to look a bit more ready. This year the Christmas Eve is black and rainy. Instead of going to our forest for picking a tree, we found a cute pine from our yard. We wanted to have something green in our bathroom, so the pine will do it for the holiday time. The big green blue glass bottle is also a treasure from the farm. It looks pretty nice with the Christmas pine.
Tobi made the finishing touch to the bathroom by filling the seems with black, grey and white silicon.
We have been showing sneak peeks of the bathroom already, the white tile wall Renovation news plus the floor and the ceiling Hello to new floors and ceiling. But this blue wall we have been keeping til now unrevealed. Most of the surfaces in the bathroom are black and white, so we wanted to gave a little color to the space. These tiles are Pukkila's shiny blue tiles, leftovers from another construction area. The shiny blue makes the room lively and gives freshness. It creates also beautiful reflections together with the old window. And blue is the favorite color of both of us.
We got lucky by finding these chic rain showers with a really good offer from the local S-Rauta in the town Karkkila. They are from a Finnish company Grana. They are fitting really well with the round led lights and fullfilling nicely the space. Our electrician installed this week the round retro style switches, which are looking damn good with the old brick walls.
We had some leftover wood from making of the sauna, so Tobi made a bench out of the aspen and Susanna oiled it. We wanted to have the same style with it as the restroom furniture (Smokey sauna and almost ready restroom). The bench is now on the other side of the showers for cooling after the sauna.
Now is the time for us to take a little break from renovating and enjoy of our new home. Happy and relaxed holidays to you! Hugs and greetings from Koivisto.

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One day photo studio

December 16, 2016 Koivisto 2 Comments

Photo: Saara Kyyrö. Susanna and Tobi (or only the hand) wearing the collection Seven.
One dream for us is to turn the barn house or part of it into a studio for photoshootings. The dream dind't quite yet came true, but we did have a photshooting here organized by our lovely friend Kirsi. The shooting took place in our dining room. Usually we are both behind the camera, but now we had fun also in front of the camera. Well in the blog we have been photographing eachother, but otherwise. The main stars of this photoshooting were a talented photographer Saara Kyyrö, a model Anniina and the gorgeous jewellery from Kirsi's own jewellery label Little Big Woman.
Anniina is posing for a ring from a collection called Seven. The ring got its inspiration from the star constellation Big Dipper, which in Finnish is called Otava. Otava is also the place, where Kirsi is coming from. More about the collection here: Seven.
Kirsi was checking, that the position of the ring looked good on the photos.
At the beginning was taken some test photos, where our dining room furniture were also part of. The concept was to photograph the jewellery in their real life scene. Our wooden bench and the dining table created a nice atmosphere to the photos. Quite a nice idea!
Photo: Saara Kyyrö.
After the testing a concept for the photos was chosen. It was more abstract and artistic compared to the real life scene photos. We think it suited better for the jewellery inspired by the stars. The favorite photo for us was the "hairwaterfall" with Susanna and Anniina wearing earrings from the Seven collection. The whole collection is available at Little Big Woman's online shop. These could be a nice Christmas present.
Maybe one day we can be behind the camera in our charming barn house. This is how it looks inside at the moment. It is a storage for wood and construction materials. Still we can already see how great it would be as a studio. When we are ready with the main building, there will be countless renovation projects to come. It's good to have dreams, they can take us to the stars. Happy Christmas time to you all!

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Smokey sauna and almost ready restroom

December 10, 2016 Koivisto 2 Comments

Finally we have something ready or almost ready to show. The conversation piece at the moment is our restroom furniture at the basement. We love the original pine veneer doors in the house (here you can see one Let's make it bright) and wanted to continue with pine also in the basement. Since the color palette in the restroom is black and white, we needed an eyecatching element there. The space for the restroom was not so big, so we chose to build an open shelf, which itself is quite big but because it's open it doesn't feel too massive. With the sauna we wanted a look from the traditional Finnish smokey saunas with a modern twist. After the preparation work it was time to make the sauna dark, almost black.
At the beginning of this week we heard, that our plumber is coming here the last time before the holidays. We were desperate to have the sink installed before Christmas, so we rolled up our sleeves and got on with it. We drove to the nearest place, where we could get pine plate for the shelf. Turned out that we had to drive over 60 kilometers, but it was all worth it. Tobi showed his carpenter skills by doing a classic wooden finger joint, which turned out to be a beautiful detail in the restroom.
The old sink from a Finnish manufacturer Arabia was stored in the barn house, but luckily it was still in a good condition. We liked the shape of it and wanted to take it in use again. Also our pine plate was made out of Finnish wood, so we were quite happy to combinate the two.
After putting the shelf pieces together the holes for the sink were sawed. Then we did a finishing touch for the surface with a half glossy lacquer. Tobi attached the shelf to the restroom wall with screws and dowels. We wanted to hang it to the wall without legs to keep the space more open and keep the feel of lightness. Finally the sink was attached with a transparent silicone. Tobi used this red little helping tool to make the seems neat.
The shelf was lacquered once more after the plumber's visit. In total there are three lackquer layers to make sure that it protects the wood. No one had access to the room as the lacquer was drying.
As the lacquer was drying Susanna painted panels, that would be used in the sauna. For the panels we used a black toned color. The idea was to make them dark and a little transparent, so that the texture of the wood can still be seen. Our sauna will have room for many, which ment that the painting took some time.
First we isolated the ceiling and the walls. The ceiling needed to be complitely done before the walls. It was made in a similar way with a nail gun like the white transparent ceiling in the bathroom (more in this post: Hello to new floors and ceiling). The difference was, that the nails are shooted from the front side to make sure that the humidity will be the same in every part of the room.
The foil was placed under the ceiling and the walls, that the steam can't make any water damages. On top of the foil we attached wooden boards for the panels and the upcoming sauna benches. For this we used the old floor boards from the dining room, which we took out in the summertime (a good way to reuse the boards Eating out - updating in).
The sauna door is the first working door at the basement - a little used like the sink, but still okay. This panel wall on the photo is now ready. On the right side will be the sauna stove and we are going to work with the concrete wall by painting it black. Looks like the dark room is tempting for scary people. Have to watch out!
Here is now a lot going on, because we try to become so far as possible before the year changes. We want to keep you updated about all. We have new and functioning toilets now in every floor, three Ido -toilets that are using less water as the old ones. Also our showers has been working a few days now. What a relief, that we don't have to warm the sauna by the river every day in this cold weather. At the moment the bathroom is too messy to photograph, but hopefully we are able to do it soon. Wish us luck, that we have the sauna ready until the end of 2016. And now heading back to renovate!

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Sunny side

November 30, 2016 Koivisto 0 Comments

Half a year has passed since we started the blog. Everyone who has been renovating knows, how the reality is. The stress, running out of money, mistakes, lousy planning and compromises. The fact that everything takes more time than expected. In the blog we wanted to focus on the positive side of our project. Taking beautiful photos from the unfinished work makes the chaos easier to handle. When tiredness and moodyness hits it's easy to forget, what we've managed, what we've experienced and what we've learned. The most mind blowing thing has been the tens of visitors - friends and relatives, that came all the way to visit us and gave their support.
One of the biggest changes for us was moving from the city to the countryside. It has open our eyes in many ways. One thing that made us really think our habits, was the water system. When the water is coming from our own well and the waste water is going not further than our yard, it has made us think more, how we use the water. Is it necessary to use so much water and what kind of washing agents we use. As we were renewing the system we had some statistics, how much is the average water usage in Finland. The amounts were unbeliveable, so it was about the time to think and make a change.
The thing we can't get tired of is the surrounding nature and the peacefulness. It's giving us energy with its beauty and surprises. We don't have the same feel in the city. The stars and the moon are brighter here and the air is better. Swimming in the river almost every day is an experience, that's not so likely to happen in a city. We are the most delighted about the life around us. For example this special deer has been visiting our garden every day and made its way to our hearts, such a cutie!
In this half a year we have learned many things from the rough work til the finishing touch and construction terms, that were new to us. Now we have more respect towards this work with the knowledge, how many hours of work is behind all. All of you who are renovating, we wish you a lot of strength and give our respect. The project has made us step out of our comfort area. We have been struggling, but still some way managing. The best thing for us is to see the progress and have the feeling - wow we actually did this!
And you guys - some of you got insprired to visit us because of the blog. We should have had a guestbook, that we would have a mark of you all. Some point we found an old wooden covered guest book here, which is started the day, when Susanna's grandmother turned 20 years. Now the almost 70 years old guest book is again in use. We had a lovely time with you here despite the stress and chaos. The journey has been so far succesful and we hope, that in the end we are happy with the project.

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