Modern log houses built on centuries of tradition
Honka was founded in 1958 in Eastern Finland when five brothers became interested in building houses. In the 1960s, Honka’s founders launched a revolutionary invention, an automated process for manufacturing log houses, which had previously been made mainly by hand and in small quantities.
Innovated by NORDIC nature
Living in the far north, the Finns have always been innovative and skilled craftspeople. The land was sparsely populated and neighbours were too far away to bother with small problems. This made us good at doing things ourselves. Inspiration for innovation came from living in the midst of nature, surrounded by vast green forests. The forest was always our second home. It was our children’s playground. The setting for carving your first bark boats and building huts. A source of eternal imagination, a place where breathing is easy. A place that always helped you create something new.
Deep in the green forests was also the home of the Saarelainen brothers. When the door of the farmhouse in North Karelia swung open, Viljo, Nestori, Arvo, Eino and Reino would run out and head into the forest surrounding the yard. Their days were spent on adventures, climbing trees, building huts and carving wood. When they needed to rest, they would lie down on the soft moss and look up at passing clouds and the tall pines swinging in the wind. In the winter, they would smash each other’s records of skiing down the hill and catch snowflakes in their mouths.
The boys grew up living in the forest, and this gave them confidence in their own creativity and made them masters of handling wood. It made them dream of a world where everyone could build a home out of Finnish wood, out of pine. Where everyone could benefit from the ancient Finnish forests and their magical peace and calm that nourishes the body and soul.
The invention that changed log construction for good
The invention was simple, brilliant and based on the gearbox of a Zetor tractor. It also made it possible to work the surface of the wood to create different styles. In 1962, the factory made the first industrially produced log house in the world. Honka’s idea of selling ready-made houses as kits was so brilliant, and the architectural drawings and instructions so precise and convenient, that soon the company was dispatching its wooden houses to all corners of Finland.
Growing to an international business
Gradually, Honka’s product range and production capacity grew, and in just a few short years Honka became Finland’s leading producer of genuine log houses. Of course, this wasn’t enough for the ambitious band of brothers, who already had their sights set on conquering the export market. Honka exported its first house to Great Britain in 1968. In 1972, Honka supplied 250 houses to Japan, marking the proper beginning of its international business endeavours.
In order to help finance the company’s expansion, Honka became a publicly-traded company and was listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange in 1987.
Throughout its history, Honka has always led the industry in product development, creating countless innovations, patents and protected designs. Today, Honka is the most experienced log house manufacturer in the world and an expert in healthy and safe construction. In fact, we’ve helped over 85,000 people make their dream of living in a safe, natural and healthy Honka home a reality.
Being an industry pioneer isn’t something you achieve once; it has to be earned time and time again. Our continuous research and development efforts are based on our values of furthering healthy, sustainable and safe living.
Marko Saarelainen, CEO