Images: Minna Kivinen, Zentuvo
When Timo Äkräs could not find a suitable house model, he designed one himself – along with a complete house collection for Honka. Honka Lux, which exudes modern luxury, blends in perfectly with the nature in the Uusikaupunki archipelago. Inside the villa, a surprise awaits.
Timo had a vision of his dream villa – and even the designs – but no plot. He had designed the villa for a seaside plot, and considers the setting to be an integral part of house design.
Timo had already reserved a plot, but it just did not feel right. Then he happened to come across an old estate hosting a run-down villa on an island off the coast of Uusikaupunki. Timo left a note at the villa managed to buy the estate.
“It was just the large seaside plot I’d been looking for. There are 2.6 hectares of land and 420 metres of coastline, which are hard to come by in Finland these days. The nature is diverse and the orientation is perfect. And to top it all, there are no neighbours!”
Timo, who has mainly designed restaurants and nightclubs, designed his own modern villa since he could not find a suitable one in any existing collection.
One thing was clear from the start: the villa would be made of logs. The other thing that was certain was that one of the exterior walls of the villa would be made of glass, which Timo noticed to be a problem for log suppliers.
“I came to the conclusion that Honkarakenne is the best operator on the market for houses with large windows.”
Design based on nature and landscape
Timo did not even consider any other construction materials than log. In his view, the emotional bond with log was formed in his childhood, as he was born in a log home and has owned several log houses in the course of his life.
“Log homes are cosy and have good indoor air quality, which is also clear from how houseplants thrive in them. The older you get, the more you value indoor air quality.”
Timo went to Honka’s Turku office to show his designs. Honka’s representative Christer Sundström thought them so good that they should also be shown to the staff in Honka’s Helsinki office. In Helsinki, Timo’s designs received such an enthusiastic response that he ended up designing a collection called Lux for Honka while building his own villa.
The Lux villa collection includes three different models: L, U and I. The U model features a sheltered atrium, the L model gives privacy on one side and the I model is completely out in the open. The idea was that each bedroom would have a view of the surrounding nature.
“I wanted to use large windows to bring the nature in and decorate the house with natural colours to keep the overall look modern and natural.”
Everything but white
The Lux collection exudes luxury and high quality, and Timo has also designed three related interior decoration styles to choose from. The idea was to make everything as easy as possible for the customer.
When decorating his own villa, Timo wanted to experiment and try out new things.
“I’m in the habit of changing the decor almost once a year. I usually start the process from the kitchen. I picked a kitchen made of dark-brown oak, which has been popular in Sweden for the past few years but is not used much in Finland yet.”
The villa was decorated with dark colours, and the concrete floors and walls add a touch of industrial style to the whole. Inside, the log walls are painted black.
“I think that concrete and black complement each other nicely. Thanks to the large windows, I could use dark colours without having to worry about making the interior gloomy. Because I have designed restaurants, I’m used to paying particular attention to lighting, and I used special luminaires here too. In the villa, the atmosphere is at its best in the evening when I can create different moods for different spaces using lighting.”
In the villa, the atmosphere is at its best in the evening when I can create different moods for different spaces using lighting.
Timo Äkräs, the designer of Lux collection
Timo draws inspiration and ideas for interior design from the restaurant industry and trade fairs around the world.
“People abroad are more adventurous decorators. The unfortunate truth is that here in Finland, people are used to using white and don’t dare take any chances. I wish Finns had more courage to try new things instead of always going for the safe choice.”
Timo has brought back a lot of antiques from his travels abroad. He particularly likes old Chinese antique furniture, which he has also used in his new villa.
“It provides a nice contrast to the modern elements, such as concrete and slatted wood. In interior design in general, I think it’s a good idea to complement a modern, new setting with old, used and recycled items.”
One with nature
After its completion in August 2022, Timo’s new I-model villa was shown to the public as the first model in the Lux collection. The project only took a year to complete, even though the pandemic posed some challenges to the schedule.
“It took three attempts to find a suitable group of carpenters. Most of the delays were caused by problems in finding good contractors and obtaining supplies.”
Timo is thrilled with the result. All three buildings – villa, sauna and garage – blend in with the nature, creating a stunning and unique home and environs.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, I rarely give anything 10, but this site deserves a 9 or 9.5. It feels great that I’ve done everything here myself, from architecture to interior design and landscaping. The best thing about the large windows and modern architecture is that they let nature in. You can see the sea and trees swaying in the wind from the bed. Even when you’re indoors, you’re part of nature.”
The best thing about the large windows and modern architecture is that they let nature in.
Timo Äkräs, the designer of Lux collection
Dreaming of building a very own Lux villa?
Explore the Honka Lux collection and start planning the log villa of your dreams! The Lux collection includes villa models suitable for several different size categories, which are united by a spectacular appearance and large window surfaces. You can see the floor plans, video presentation and Lux collection options here:Explore the Honka Lux collection