Designer Desire: Ristomatti Ratia

Mosaic of Ristomatti Ratia designs | H is for Home

Last week, we blogged about a couple of vintage Palaset storage boxes we put into our shop. Today, we’re featuring their designer, Ristomatti Ratia.

By all accounts, he has so far led a very colourful life. He’s been married numerous times, had a challenging relationship with his mother and had even appeared on the Finnish version of Dancing with the Stars.

He has, however, found the time to design all manner of products in his 50-year career. From clothing, spectacles, jewellery, glassware, cutlery and bedding to a free-standing fire and even a boat-shaped coffin and urn for ashes!

He’s best known for a couple of his early designs; firstly, his 301 shoulder bag (shown above in green) for his parents’ company, Marimekko. The other is the aforementioned, award-winning Palaset modular storage system – the LP units are especially sought after by vintage vinyl junkies. I discovered today that the ever forward-thinking Sir Terence Conran stocked Palaset in his Habitat shops in the 1970s. The image of the beanbag-seated lady is taken from a vintage Habitat catalogue.

His contemporary designs are readily available from the Finnish Design Shop and the Ratia Shop. His vintage designs pop up from time to time on 1st Dibs, eBay and Etsy.

Ristomatti Ratia has, as one might expect, a beautifully furnished home. You can take a house tour here.

Portrait of Ristomatti Ratia

credit

Additional image credits:

70 Luvulta | Flickr | Mundadaa | Why not 2nd Cycle

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Price Points: Instant cameras

Instant cameras | H is for Home

It’s the 21st century and almost everyone may have cameras on their smart phones these days, however, there’s still a place for instant cameras.

They’re perfect for events like birthday parties, wedding receptions and stag and hen events. If you’re like Justin – one of those rare people in this day & age who doesn’t have a Facebook account – you won’t be able to see, share and tag images on there with friends and family.

My favourite is the most expensive one (and not the orange or purple one, for a change!). Being a hybrid, you get the best of both worlds. The photos are taken in a square, Instagram-like format and you can preview your shots before you print. Again, like with the Instagram app, you can add effects, create vignettes and adjust the brightness. You can save the last 50 images to print whenever and as often as you like. You can even export and save your snaps to a memory card.

  1. Polaroid instant film camera PIC-300, purple: £71.99, Viking
  2. Leica Sofort instant camera in orange: £224.00, Jessops
  3. FUJI Instax square SQ10 hybrid instant camera: £249.99, Selfridges

Cakes & Bakes: Rhubarb upside-down cake

Slice of home-made rhubarb upside-down cake with cream | H is for Home

We planted a rhubarb crown in a dolly tub in our garden about 3 years ago. Gardening/allotment experts say you should allow a young plant at least a year without harvesting to encourage vigour. We’ve finally felt able to pick a few stalks this year.

Rhubarb plant in a vintage dolly tub in our garden | H is for Home

I’d normally use it to make a crumble however, I’ve never made a rhubarb upside-down cake before and thought it would go down a treat.

Soft brown sugar and butter in a cast iron skillet | H is for Home

I tweaked a recipe I found on the Guardian website. The results were so delicious, I’m already planning on reusing the recipe to make a pear upside-down cake next week.

Sliced rhubarb in a cast iron skillet | H is for Home

I love the pretty patterns that you can make with fruit on the ‘top’ of upside-down cakes.

cake batter ingredients | H is for Home

The cake batter is one of the easiest I’ve ever thrown together. It calls for vegetable oil instead of butter, a couple of eggs, caster sugar, flour and baking powder – just mix the wet into the dry ingredients. It takes all of about 3 minutes!

Cooked rhubarb upside-down cake still in the skillet | H is for Home

The soft brown sugar and butter in the base of the skillet came together to form the most wonderful, chewy caramelised edges.

Home-made rhubarb upside-down cake | H is for Home

It was lovely with a little pouring cream but it would be equally good – hot or room temperature – with vanilla ice cream or on its own.

Save the recipe to Pinterest here!

Rhubarb upside-down cake
Serves 8
Ingredients
  1. 80g/3oz diced unsalted butter and a bit more for greasing
  2. 140g/5oz soft brown sugar
  3. 4-5 stalks rhubarb
  4. 150g/5¼oz caster sugar
  5. 175g/6oz plain flour
  6. 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  7. 150ml/5 fl oz sunflower oil
  8. 2 large eggsHome-made rhubarb upside-down-cake ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a 30cm/12-inch cast iron skillet with a little butter
  3. Scatter the brown sugar and butter over the bottom of the skillet and put it in the oven for 5 minutes
  4. Remove the skillet from the oven and press the raw rhubarb into the melted butter and sugar
  5. Mix the sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl
  6. In a measuring jug, beat the vegetable oil and eggs together
  7. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix well
  8. Pour the batter over the rhubarb in the skillet and return the pan to the oven for about 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
  9. Allow the cake to cool in the skillet on the top of the stove before running a sharp knife around the rim and carefully turning the pan upside down on to a plate
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Adapted from The Guardian
Adapted from The Guardian
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
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Palaset Treston storage boxes

Vintage Papaset Treston storage boxes | H is for Home

We picked up these fabulous red & white office drawers last week. They’re from the Palaset range designed by Ristomatti Ratia for Treston of Finland in the early 1970s.

Vintage Papaset Treston storage boxes | H is for Home

They come in individual units which slot on top of one another allowing you to customize your own larger system as required. They’re also available in brown, yellow and green colourways. For vinyl junkies out there, the open cubes are the perfect size to accommodate LPs. The modular range was very popular at the time, selling worldwide, but it’s increasingly hard to find these days. We think that there was a later re-launch, but the manufacturer used an inferior plastic and production didn’t last very long.

Vintage Papaset Treston storage boxes | H is for Home

Look out for the early examples. They have real solid weight to them – people often think they’re made of wood when first handled.

Lable on the bottom of a vintage Papaset Treston storage box | H is for Home

In addition to designing office products, Ristomatti Ratia worked on a variety of homewares – fashion accessories too – including spectacles and a best selling shoulder bag. Incidentally, he’s the son of Armi Ratia, née Airaksinen, the founder of Marimekko.

Our Picturehouse Antiques shop space | H is for Home

We’ve put the drawers into shop space number 2. The look of this space changes quite often, but it tends to mix mid century modern design with much older country antiques. It’s certainly quite eclectic at the moment!

Our Picturehouse Antiques shop space | H is for Home

These two stacking units are priced at £195 (ish!) for the pair – ‘collection only’ for these. Drop us a line if you’re interested and would like us to reserve them for you… or, if there’s anything else in the pictures that takes your fancy, we can advise on prices, shipping options if applicable etc.

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How to organise a self-storage unit

How to organise a self-storage unit

Self-storage units can be an absolute godsend when trying to keep a cluttered house under control. Unfortunately, attempting to store a large number of items in a plain concrete room tends to lead to more clutter than you started with at home. How do you manage to keep things organised and be able to find anything in storage?

Having all the right storage supplies as well as a bit of a plan for your unit is the way to go. You can get your self-storage unit in ship shape with just a few tips.

Different sized seld-storage units

Right sized space

Before you can start planning on organising your unit, you really need to be sure you get one that’s large enough for your belongings. Trying to jam too much stuff into a tiny space makes organising almost impossible. Before renting space, make a list of what you want to keep in it and make some realistic estimates. Perhaps even gather everything up in one spot first and measure how many square feet it all needs.

Stack of banana boxes

Proper containers

Don’t resort to the hasty (and cheap) solution of jamming things into big garbage bags. They are very difficult to manage in terms of organisation because they don’t have a rigid shape. You can’t pile or stack bags, and they’re notorious for tearing at the wrong moment. The best option is plastic totes with lids, but even sturdy cardboard boxes are better than bags. Not only are boxes easier to label than bags, they are a lot more secure for your belongings. Moisture, dust, insects or even rodents can get into your stuff if it’s not well protected.

Labelled files on shelves in storage

Label and list

This is probably the biggest key to keeping your self-storage unit organised. Label everything in clear, large letters. Never assume that you will always remember what’s in certain boxes. Add more detail whenever you can as well. Labelling a box “Kitchen Stuff” is minimally helpful, so tape on a label or sheet of paper that has a quick bullet list of what’s actually in the box.

To be really on top of things, go one step further and put together a master list of the contents that you can keep at home. Knowing what’s in your unit without having to go back and paw through boxes can (and will) save a lot of time.

Shelves with numbered boxes

Shelves

If you’ve taken our earlier suggestion and stored your stuff in boxes or totes, it can be really tempting to just stack one on top the other. That can work if you are storing things you don’t access much. In situations where you do need to get at things periodically, having to move 4 or 5 boxes around because what you need is invariably at the bottom can be irritating and difficult. Having your boxes organised on shelves means you can pull out the one you need without having to shuffle everything else around.

So, taking these ideas into account, you should be able to put your storage unit to better use and have your important belongings right to hand when you need them.

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Get their look: Classic design lounge diner

Classic design lounge dinercredit

This lounge diner belonging to Toronto-based architect, Stephane Chamard is tastefully filled with classic design furniture pieces. Examples from international leviathan designers, manufacturers and retailers in the interior design world such as Holmegaard, Otto Brauer, Vitra, Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, Norman Cherner and Serge Mouille. There are also contemporary, classics-in-the-making such as the green Ploum sofa designed by brothers, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec for Ligne Roset.

The rest of the house is equally awe-inspiring – go take a look!

  1. LZF Link SG in cherry designed by Ray Power
  2. Mouille three arm floor lamp
  3. Large olive green Holmegaard Kastrup Gulvase designed by Otto Brauer
  4. Vitra Eames House bird
  5. Vintage Laurids Lønbørg kinetic ball sculpture
  6. Ploum 4-seater sofa designed by R. & E. Bouroullec
  7. Saarinen round dining table
  8. Cherner chairs for Plycraft

Get their look: Classic design lounge diner | H is for Home

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