Designer Desire: Heikki Orvola

Mosaic of Heikki Orvola designs | H is for Home

Heikki Orvola (b.1943) is at the vanguard of Finnish design. He works primarily in glass and ceramics and has produced designs for Notsjö Nuutajärvi, Arabia, Marimekko and Iittala. In 1998, he was awarded the prestigious Kaj Franck prize.

His designs are readily available on Etsy, eBay and the Scandinavian Design Center.

Portrait of Heikki Orvolacredit

Additional image credits:

1stDibs | Bukowskis | Invaluable

6 reasons using glass to improve your home is a great idea

Large circular window

Are you looking for the best way to improve your home?

Perhaps you want a new kitchen, you’ve eyed up a new colour scheme, you’re saving for a new bath, or you want your garden redone?

All great ideas, but, they might not necessarily give you the best value for money. There’s one addition to your home that can give you a wide range of benefits including:

  • Increasing home value
  • Increasing the liveability of the home
  • Increasing how eco-friendly a property is
  • Bumping up energy efficiency
  • Improving how aesthetically pleasing a home is

That addition is glass. Read on for 6 reasons using glass to improve your home is a truly fantastic idea.

Angular windows

1. Living in a home with lots of glass could improve your health

Our homes have a lot to do with our health, because they offer us protection, a space to express ourselves, and a place to rest and socialise.

Using a lot of glass in the home like floor to ceiling windows, glass connecting doors and glass roof windows can help you optimise the health benefits of your home. The benefits all relate to the circadian rhythm we all have naturally. This rhythm connects us to the sun and helps us regulate when we sleep and wake properly.

A glass home enables you to have natural light flooding in, satisfying some of your most basic human needs.

Wall of sliding glass doors

2. More glass means more beauty

Glass is a gorgeous material that lets the light pour into a home.

The most modern homes use glass to create an aesthetically pleasing, light and airy space. This is still quite a new change in home design, as a lot of the last 100 years of home design was obsessed with creating more rooms and contained areas. Different rooms for dining, sleeping, living, washing and anything else where necessary for a home to be desirable. Now, open plan living and ‘zoned’ spaces are key to a contemporary home fitting the needs of modern home buyers.

Glass lends itself to open plan living, and without a doubt creates a more beautiful home fit for the demands of home-owners today.

Greenhouse extension

3. Glass extensions add value

According to recent reports, extensions such as conservatories or glass box style rooms can add around 3% onto the value of your property. Any addition that adds space is likely to be of value, but glass extensions like orangeries and conservatories are very desirable because they are so modern and beautiful.

Attic bedroom with circular window and skylights

4. Windows could improve energy efficiency

You may think that having more windows or glass in the home will only decrease energy efficiency through leaking heat out of the building, but the most modern windows can actually increase the energy efficiency of your home overall. Triple glazed windows use three sheets of glass with gas filled gaps in between to keep heat in. If you also get a Low E glass and special glass coatings which keep the heat in even more, your home will let more light in and retain the heat inside. So, a home with more windows that are eco-friendly types will at the very least maintain a good energy efficiency rating, but possibly even improve the rating of the home because there are active products keeping the heat in.

Glass lean to

5. Glass in the home keeps you happy

Many different studies suggest that we are all happier when we are interacting with nature. MIND UK, a UK mental health charity, actively promote eco-therapy, a programme that involves being outdoors to improve mental health. The Japanese government is also a fan of using the outdoors to help with mental health, actively endorsing something called forest therapy, which is another version of eco-therapy.

Many studies suggest being in nature makes us happier, and part of that can be simply being able to see nature. Seeing your garden through your beautiful external bi-folding doors, or across the local area from your loft extension window, reminds you of the outdoors and that you’re part of nature and something bigger.

Internal glass sliding doors

6. Glass in the home improves airflow

It may sound basic, but good airflow in a home is actually really important. At its most basic, it provides more fresh oxygen for you to breathe in and benefit from as a family. It also improves the air quality in your home by working against condensation which causes mould, which in turn releases nasty spores into the air that can contribute to respiratory issues.

New build homes are exceptionally energy efficient but they can suffer from being so energy efficient they don’t let the building breathe. Having plenty of windows to open and close means you have the ability to control airflow in your home, contributing to a happier, healthier environment.

Glass really is an exceptional addition to any home. If you want to benefit from a happier, healthier, more valuable, more eco-friendly home, look into adding or improving glass features next time you plan your home improvements.

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Designer Desire: Kaj Franck

Mosaic of Kaj Franck designs | H is for Home

What? We’ve never featured Kaj Franck on Designer Desire before? How did that happen?!

We have some of his designs in our home and in our shop. So far, we own a ‘Muki’ mug decorated with Raija Uosikkinen’s ‘Lintu’ pattern and a large ‘Kulho’ bowl with Esteri Tomula’s ‘Tatti’ mushrooms pattern (6th from top, on the left).

The one design on his wares that I really, really desire is ‘Sydän’, the red hearts on white enamelware range (3rd from top, on the right). This pattern was designed by Gunvor Olin-Grönqvist. I’ve seen it on bowls, plates, kettles, jugs and mugs – but the condition and price has never been right.

Kaj Franck (1911-1989) was one of the leading modernist Finnish designers working in glass, ceramics, enamel and metalware. He was artistic director at Arabia (now Iittala) and produced many of their designs as well as ones for their subsidiary company, Finel. He also designed many pieces for glassware company, Notsjö Nuutajärvi.

After researching Franck’s back catalogue, we realised that there’s a similar scenario to the design collaboration between Cathrineholm designers Grete Prytz Kittelsen and Arne Clausen. One person designed the vessel (which was Franck’s domain) and others, such as Esteri Tomula and Raija Uosikkinen, produced the applied pattern.

Some of his popular ranges – such as Teema crockery, Scandia Cutlery and Kartio glassware – are still being manufactured and are available from the Scandinavian Design Center and Finnish Design Shop. I prefer his more colourful, more interesting vintage designs which are always available on eBay, Etsy, Pamono and Bukowskis.

There’s a book on Franck that I’d love to buy, or failing that, have a flick through entitled Kaj Franck – Muotoilija / Formgivare / Designer, currently on sale at around the £100 mark.

Portrait of Kaj Franckcredit

Additional image credits:
1st Dibs | Bukowskis

Forthcoming Attractions: Mid July 2017

Collection of vintage homewares

We put loads of new items in the web shop last week – one of our a ‘Forthcoming Attractions‘ posts would have been very much in order, but we didn’t get round to it – slapped wrists! We vowed to do one soon though – so here it is! It’s a much smaller selection this week, but some nice pieces all the same.

Collection of vintage art glass | H is for Home

For starters, a lovely selection of glass. Various sizes, shapes and colourways – and some famous designers such as Per Lutken and Otto Brauer.

Set of cream & green vintage spice tins with rack | H is for Home

Next up we have a very cute little spice rack. There’s a wall-mountable metal shelf with six labelled metal tin pots. It dates from the 1950s era and is in very good condition – the perfect vintage touch for any kitchen.

Vintage Mills Moore soup spoons and dessert spoons | H is for Home

We don’t normally pick up part sets of cutlery, but we had good reason this time. We had some of this walnut-handled Mills Moore cutlery in our web shop a couple of years ago – and so many people have enquired about it since it sold that we vowed to keep an eye out for more. Perhaps someone out there would like to add these soup and dessert spoons to their collection. It’s very stylish and beautifully made.

Vintage Hornsea Pottery witch birthday mug | H is for Home

One of last weeks item’s was a Hornsea ‘Birthday Mug’ by John Clappison. We’ve decided to add another example from our collection this week – a magnificent spooky witch design. The sweet verse underneath reads:

If I but had THREE WISHES
And only one came true,
I’d ride with these THREE WITCHES
Upon their broom to YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Orange vintage fondue set | H is for Home

From monochrome to eye-popping colour! This fab orange fondue set looks like the perfect thing for a cold winter’s evening. Log fire, glass of wine, melting cheese – bliss!

Vintage Esquire Drink Book | H is for Home

…and finally a late arrival (today in fact) – the Esquire Drink Book dating from the 1950s. It’s interesting, informative and funny… and is packed with the most gorgeous illustrations by renowned artist (and one of our personal favourites) Bill Charmatz. We already own a copy, so this one’s for sale.

Illustrations from the vintage Esquire Drink Book | H is for Home

As usual, these pieces will be split between web shop and physical shop, but blog readers will have first dibs – so let us know if anything catches your eye!

Price Points: Glass teapots

Selection of glass teapots | H is for Home

We love tea here at H is for Home headquarters – green, white or builders’. Always loose leaf of course! It tends to be strong ‘builders tea’ by day, but in the evening we’re a little more refined and opt for Silver Needle, Dragon Pearl, Yellow Sun and the like.

A glass teapot makes for the perfect brew when it comes to these delicate leaves. You can watch the colour and intensity of flavour develop – pouring at your optimum point. Also, some of these more exotic ones such as blooming tea are things of beauty that need to be seen – the petals & flowers unfurling like a spring day as the hot water penetrates the dried ball.

  1. Viva Scandinavia Bjorn glass teapot, transparent, large: £25.99, Amazon
  2. Loose leaf glass teapot with infuser by Bluebird Tea Co.: £60, Notonthehighstreet
  3. Wedgwood Tea Garden glass teapot: £80, House of Fraser

Designer Desire: Erik Höglund

Mosaic of Erik Höglund glass designs | H is for Home

We’ve not really featured any artists who specialise in glass so far in Designer Desire but that is about to change with this mosaic of work by Erik Höglund.

Best known for his people decanters for Kosta Boda (where he worked for 20 years), Höglund had a long and industrious career designing all manner of art glass. From the smallest coin-sized sun catchers to large-scale candelabra.

His decorative pieces are colourful and playful with organic, flowing forms. Many of them are designed to interact beautifully with light in some way – be it electric, fire, candle or the sun.

We have a few favourite pieces amongst this selection – perhaps the fabulous mid century modern fire-screen just edges it – or maybe that gorgeous ceiling candelabra. Tough choice!

There are always quite a lot of his works available for sale online – from just a few pounds to thousands & thousands. As a starting point, check out Etsy and eBay.

Erik Höglund portraits

Image credits:

1st Dibs | Artnet | Bukowskis | Invaluable