Friday, January 4, 2013


Creativity and new ideas are a hot topic around the world right now. It seems as though everyone is looking for the next best thing. Unfortunately, the world we are living in today is getting more and more cluttered—making it harder to concentrate and harder to be more innovative.
My parents were very creative; my mom especially was amazingly talented with her hands. She could cook the tastiest meal without following any recipe or make stylish garments without instructions. My dad, a civil engineer, inventor, and an artist, also loved to create.  Both of them insisted on having their surroundings neat and orderly.  They lived in a time of war when there was so much turmoil. In this atmosphere, a clean neat home clearly provided some comfort. No wonder I grew up appreciating a clean, well organized home and studied to be an interior designer.
A clean table is one of the greatest inspirations for creativity. I particularly love my kitchen island; the white Corian surface is easy to clean and it has ample space to spread out materials. My grandkids flock to it every time they come over and insist on getting their craft materials out. They can sit at the table for a long time just coloring, cutting and gluing without any need for fancy toys or videos.
Nothing beats natural light, our huge kitchen window offer plenty of light and relaxing garden views.  To balance out the large white island, I chose easy-to-maintain horizontal grain oak cabinets with some frosted glass doors. The metal and glass doors give some depth and interest against the heavy wooden doors. A walk-in pantry allows plenty of storage for large items and a metal shelf holds small appliances that would usually clutter kitchen countertops.
Because of the large pantry I was able to save the main wall in the kitchen for one of my favorite pieces of art. During parties, guests like to congregate around this area—perhaps the aromas from the large rotisserie oven draw people closer? The kitchen is open and very much part of the main floor living and dining area. We can easily accommodate even larger groups of people at one time. It is inviting and best of all, easy to clean at a moment’s notice.

Women from around the world participating in a Thai Cooking class
Cardamom smell from fresh Pulla  is fantastic.

Mayor Jussi Pajunen from Helsinki, my husband and friend Virva Hanba

Solar shades controls clair and heat from the afternoon sun
Bar area on the opposite side of food preparation helps traffic flow  

Plenty of counter space makes it easy to prepare food for big parties

Happiness is creating something original.