Yekaterina Prokofieva is busy in her bright open-plan kitchen in Helsinki’s Vuosaari district. Her husband Yevgeny Prokofiev is entertaining friends seated around the large dining table and on the living room sofa. Their five-year-old son is playing on the floor.
It’s a typical evening at the Prokofiev residence in Vuosaari. The family moved to Finland from Gatchina, a town near St. Petersburg. They like having friends over, and the large open-plan kitchen connected to the living room is the heart of their home.
“Russians like to get together, chat and spend time with each other. The kitchen is an important part of a Russian home. It is where Russians have always resolved any family issues and other problems in life,” Yevgeny explains.
In Russian apartments the kitchen is usually a separate room that can be closed off. Any messes and smells can be left behind the closed door. Yekaterina has become a big fan of the open-plan kitchen in Finland.
“I can talk to our guests while I am preparing food. Everyone shares the same space. Serving food is also easy because I don’t need to shuttle back and forth between the kitchen and the living room,” she says.
The effective ventilation system ensures that any smells from cooking are quickly eliminated.
“Our apartment is never stuffy. The air is always fresh. Even cooking a big meal leaves no smells in the apartment,” the Prokofievs point out.
The first aspect of the apartment that really appealed to the Prokofiev family was the large roof terrace with a view of the canal. They would consider the apartment almost perfect if the terrace could be accessed from the kitchen. As it stands, the terrace must be accessed via their son’s room.
Russian customers want to have a say in the choice of materials
In Russia, apartments are sold in unfinished condition, without household appliances and surface materials on floors and walls. This means that buyers must have significant work done on their apartments before they can move in.
The Prokofiev family appreciates the convenience of moving into a Finnish home. YIT sold the apartment in fully finished condition. All the Prokofievs needed to do was bring in their possessions.
As Russians are used to the idea of being responsible for the finishing of their apartments themselves, they often like to customise fully finished apartments according to their personal preferences. They like to have a say in the choices of materials inside the apartment. The Prokofiev family is pleased that YIT offered several different choices during construction; for example, with regard to kitchen cabinets, household appliances and flooring materials.
The only aspect of the floor plan of their 95-square-metre apartment that they are not entirely happy with is the small size of the bedrooms.
“Finland is not like China where people work long days and only go home to sleep,” Yevgeny points out.
“Our bedroom only has space for our bed. Our son’s room is so small that he prefers to play in the living room,” Yekaterina adds.
The Prokofievs would prefer to have two larger bedrooms instead of three small ones. The soundproofing of the apartment, however, is something they are very pleased with.
“The walls are thick and built with real quality. We can’t hear anything from the neighbouring apartments.”
Finns and their economical style
When Anton from Moscow was looking for an apartment in Helsinki for his family, the purchase decision was sealed by the brightness, spacious kitchen, large balcony and quiet park-side location of their three-room apartment in Lauttasaari.
“I like the Finnish style. It’s economical, simple and comfortable. The design is highly functional and it doesn’t involve any extraneous and unnecessary decorative elements,” he explains.
Anton is a cosmopolitan man who has previously lived in France and the United States. He places a high value on quality in all areas of life.
“Quality in housing and everyday life comes from details such as a well-designed lift that has ample space for a pram, as well as convenient doors that are easy to exit and enter with a pram. I also like the underground car park,” he adds.
Finnish apartments often include a sauna. Anton considers this a nice surprise, but he would be happy to exchange it for a bathtub.
“I do like the sauna, but not to the extent that I really need one in my home. My wife especially misses having a bathtub,” he explains.
Shared responsibility for the environment
YIT’s Russian customers consider the tidiness of common spaces and facilities to be one of the most important factors influencing the comfort of living. The stairwells are cleaned daily and the outdoor areas are maintained in volunteer work events by the residents.
“The maintenance of this building and the common areas is exemplary. Finnish people have a respectful attitude towards their homes, living environments and neighbours,” Anton says.
The Prokofjev family points out that the lift in their apartment building is always clean and waste management is very well handled in their housing company.
“The waste bins are unobtrusive and they don’t smell bad. There are separate containers for all types of waste, such as glass and metal, which makes recycling easy,” they explain.
The best aspects of a Finnish home
1. Good ventilation
2. Clean stairwells, lifts, outdoor areas and other common spaces
3. Effective waste management and recycling
The downsides of a Finnish home
1. Small rooms
2. No bathtub
3. Limited opportunities to influence the floor plan and materials
For further information, please contact:
Sari Hiilosvuo, Sales Manager, YIT Construction Ltd, tel. +358 40 5322 400, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hanna Malmivaara, Vice President, Communications, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 40 561 6568,email@example.com