Discovering Finnish Design in Toronto and Beyond 

I have always loved Finnish design and have been surrounded by its beauty my entire life since my family originates from the lovely country of Finland. I love how much of the inspiration ties back to the lakes, nature, Finnish folklore, the Kalevala and nordic simplicity. Finnish design is truly timeless design.

Since I was a child, The Finnish Place has been my resource in Toronto for all things Finnish. First located on Yonge Street in the heart of downtown North York and now a bit farther north at Yonge and John Street in the lovely community of Thornhill. They have a great selection of items made by Aarikka, Arabia, iittala, Kalevala Koru and Marimekko as well as other Finnish brands.

I have always loved the vase designed by the famous Finnish Architect Alvar Altao. It reminds me of the Finnish lakes and the Finns love their time spent by the lake at their mökki – the Finnish term for summer house and definitely not to be confused with a Muskoka summer house. I own two smaller versions of this vase but definitely hope to add a larger one to my collection in the near future. 

Happy to discover on my recent visit that one of my favourite pieces – Kastehelmi tealight candle holders – have returned to Canada and are available again at The Finnish Place. I love lighting these on dark winter evenings as my own form of hygge.

The beautiful Marimekko prints always bring happiness. I own a few of the prints as pillow covers and also have used fabric stapled to a board to create a colourful kitchen print. The Finnish Place has an extensive selection of fabric as well as clothing and accessories in these fun and colourful prints.

You don’t need to be Finnish to add some beautiful Finnish design elements to your home and luckily you don’t need a voyage to the land of the midnight sun either. Always visit The Finnish Place website to make sure they aren’t travelling back home to Finland for new items for the store. If you are not in the Toronto area or may prefer to shop online, these are two websites that specialize in Finnish brands  – Finnish Design Shop and FinnStyle. However to really experience Finnish design, definitely plan a holiday to Finland and immerse yourself from the moment you step off the plane. 

This year Finland celebrates 100 years of independence and design has been in the forefront of its identity since 1917. May this be the year you are inspired to explore, discover and hopefully fall in love with Finnish design. 

A spring table in bloom 

I love all things Finnish. My entire life I have been surrounded by Finnish design at home including many beautiful iittala pieces. I absolutely adore every one of these timeless beauties. This year, iittala is re-thinking the table setting and asking their Instagram followers to share their table reset. Sunny spring days will be in bloom soon so I created this spring table setting with a few of my iittala, Arabia and Marimekko treasured pieces. A fresh take on my spring table.  

My love of hygge 

Tonight we spring forward which always makes me happy. While this winter was bearable by Canadian standards, the dark days are always a challenge for me and I definitely tend to favour cocooning at home over the winter months. 

Long before hygge became the popular lifestyle trend it is today, I learned about the concept after seeing Sharmi Albrechtsen on House Hunters International when she embarked on a move from the USA to Denmark. Sharmi was also featured on the Oprah Life Class on Gratitude that I attended in Toronto. Sharmi’s introduction to happiness and the Danish way of life definitely intrigued me to learn more. 

Hygge – pronounced ‘hoo-guh’ – is the art of creating intimacy, fellowship and coziness in the smallest everyday moments. With my Finnish roots, hygge and this way of living appealed to me. I essentially fell in love with this Danish way of life which seemed like a perfect fit for the cold and dark winter months in Canada. In the spring of 2015, I travelled to Finland to see my family and loved being surrounded by their simplistic way of life. This is something I am definitely trying to incorporate back home in Canada. I purchased these beautiful iittala candle holders to help me perfectly capture the coziness of hygge at home. Every time I light them, they are a perfect reminder to savour what is important in life – time with family and friends, to take time to just be and to enjoy the simple joys of living.  

Dîner en Blanc Inspiration

With hot and humid summer weather still in full swing, there is definitely still time to enjoy the opportunity to dine al fresco. 

Here is some inspiration for a pretty table setting from my Dîner en Blanc Toronto table. Thank you to Metro Ontario on Front Street East for the surprise vases filled white hydrangeas that made our table perfect. 


Product Sources:

Dishes and chairs from IKEA Canada

Table from Canadian Tire 

Champagne Flutes and candle holder from iittala