Krista and Tommi ended up building a home when they could not find a suitable house on the market. They wanted a modern log home with large windows. The house rises on a rock in Espoo, Finland, and light travels through the house and changes with seasons.
When Krista and her husband Tommi were looking for a new home in Espoo, none of what was available appealed to them. The couple had always thought that they would build a home at some point, but when they could not find a suitable house on the market, they moved on to looking for a plot.
‘That, too, was surprisingly difficult. We looked for a plot for over a year, since we had specific areas in which it had to be located,’ explains Krista.
In the end, they found the perfect plot by chance. They were visiting a plot for sale when the estate agent happened to mention the plot uphill with a deserted house about to be demolished. They started looking for the person who owned the plot, and even though it had not been put up for sale, they managed to make a deal with the owner.
‘I’m sure the fact that we know people who are construction professionals gave us enough confidence to start building a house. My father is a civil engineer with extensive experience in log construction. In other words, I’ve been familiar with the health benefits and environmental friendliness of log construction from a young age, which is why it was clear that if we were to build ourselves a home, it would be a log house.’
Watch the video and visit Krista’s log home
Light in the house throughout the day
When they had found a plot, the couple hired an architect. The architect also encouraged them to explore CLT construction, but after careful consideration, they chose log as the construction material. After all, log houses have been built in Finland for centuries, and logs are known to withstand the harsh Nordic climate.
Krista created mood boards to give the architect an idea of the style they were looking for. What they knew from the start was that they wanted a modern log home, and browsing Pinterest and Instagram helped establish the final look of the future home.
The couple had many requirements, but the plot and land-use plan set certain conditions, according to which the house had to be, e.g. light-coloured and gable roofed. The long and narrow shape of the plot and its location on a hillside also set some restrictions.
‘We wanted large windows and to get light in through the windows throughout the day. We also wanted the entrance and lounge areas to be on the same floor and the partial sea view to be taken into account.’
The couple faced challenges already at the early stages of the project when the original log supplier went bankrupt a month before scheduled delivery. After that, they had to put out a new tender to find a supplier. Honka’s salesperson Tapio Ahlblad provided the couple with excellent customer service and understood their situation.
‘The basement was completed, the erection team had been booked and we wanted to move forward as quickly as possible. Everything progressed smoothly with Tapio, so we made a deal with Honka.’
One of the reasons for choosing Honka was that the couple wanted the house to be built of 270mm-high non-settling spruce logs. Not all suppliers were able to offer that. Of course, Honka’s reputation as a safe and stable Finnish operator made the decision easier.
Earthwork began in August 2019. The couple was surprised by how much monitoring the actual construction required.
‘It was extremely important to us that everything was done according to the drawings and plans. Self-monitoring is very important in ensuring that everything goes as planned. The construction project also showed how important it is to have reliable professionals as builders.’
It was extremely important to us that everything was done according to the drawings and plans.
Feeling grateful in a self-built sauna
When, at the end of July 2020, the couple and their two daughters got to move in, the house was still partly unfinished. Some of the mouldings still needed to be installed, and there was no sauna, so they ended up building it themselves. After the move-in, it took some time before Krista was able to fully relax in their new home.
‘I can’t relax when I’m surrounded by unfinished things, and the first couple of months, I spent all my free time finishing off the surfaces in the house. When we were finally able to finish the sauna, I started feeling that we have a wonderful home. In a family with children, taking a sauna is one of the few moments when one has time to relax and reflect on things. In those moments, I always feel grateful that we have had the opportunity to build a house like this.’
In addition to the sauna area, the family’s favourite spots at home include the spacious living room featuring large windows and an impressive log wall that rises to almost six metres. The tone of the logs is close to the natural colour of wood, as they have been treated with Tremax wood bleach and breathable translucent paint.
Krista wanted to offset the wood by decorating with light-coloured materials. The flooring consists of marble-patterned vinyl planks, and the kitchen by Noblessa is white and fresh. The steps of the ash stairs, on the other hand, have almost exactly the same tone as the log walls.
Even though aesthetics is important to Krista, it is the durability of structures that really matters when building a new home. The couple knew that building on a hillside plot is more expensive, but Krista and Tommi also knew from the start that they would not make any compromises on structural solutions. Instead, they selected more affordable surface materials that are easy to change later, if desired.
‘I hope that our log house will also last for future generations.’
Krista feels that living in a log house affects wellbeing.
‘You get used to the scent of logs and what it’s like to live and breathe here, but our overnight guests have also said that the quality of indoor air in our home is excellent. I feel good about knowing that the wood I can see on the interior walls goes all the way to the exterior and that there is nothing unnecessary in between.’
I feel good about knowing that the wood I can see on the interior walls goes all the way to the exterior and that there is nothing unnecessary in between.
Krista emphasises the importance of planning for a successful home building project. All the hours spent on planning pay themselves back in the form of the completed house. For example, electrical design took a great deal of time, but for everyday life, it is worth doing carefully.
The couple gives the end result an A-.
‘When building a house, some compromises must always be made, but to us, the home is perfect in its imperfection. We have lived a little over six months in our new home, and it’s been great to see what it looks like in natural light at different times of the year. Our home is really bright even during the darkest season, and especially now in the spring it’s been wonderful to also have a lot of sunlight indoors.’
Get inspired by this family’s log home living on Instagram @editbykrista
- Architect: Eemil Luukka, KOLU Arkkitehdit
- Log: Honkarakenne non-settling lamellar log FXL 270 mm with zero corner, spruce
- Floor area: 148m2 + garage 22m2
- Living area: 132m2
- Rooms: Hallway, utility room, bathroom, sauna, 2 toilets, 3 bedrooms, walk-in closet, living room+ kitchen + lobby, basement garage
- Surface treatment: Exterior: Paints by Virtanen, three-oil paint, Interior: log surfaces treated with Tremax wood bleach and Aura paint.
- Kitchen furniture: Noblessa
- Year of construction: 2019-2020
- Honka ID: 3510204