Loviisan Wanhat Talot ry: Idyllic wooden houses and ambitious renovations an hour from Helsinki
By Ester Laiho | Photos: Loviisan Wanhat Talot ry
Loviisan Wanhat Talot ry (LWT) is the association celebrating wooden houses and the building tradition of Eastern Uusimaa. It cherishes houses built over five centuries ago, with the oldest houses stemming back to the 16th century. You can visit these living heritage sites at the end of the summer when LWT will organise its annual open doors event, inviting visitors to explore the historical houses and interview their owners.
Loviisa is a quaint municipality and town 56 miles from Helsinki. The area has a vast amount of old wooden houses. It is these houses and the associated lifestyle that made the chair of LWT, Nina Wiklund fall in love with Loviisa and which led to her buying and renovating her own house, which won the title of third most beautiful home in Finland a few years ago.
“I actually won tickets to the event on Facebook in 2011 and I remember telling my friend that this is the way I want to live. In 2013 I had the opportunity to relocate here for work and while renting, I was feverishly looking for a house to call my own. There were many beautiful houses but I had to hold off, until I could find one that was the right size for me and my cat.”
The process of renovating a house, not to mention an older house, is nothing close to easy or linear. Wiklund had to install a bathroom that fits with the old architecture, so consulting with architects and waiting for different permits added extra time and cost to the process.
When she would find herself overwhelmed and second-guessing the process, she had to remind herself why she embarked on this journey in the first place: “I thought of the house and the whole renovation process as if it was a romantic partner. I reminded myself of why I fell in love with the house and how good things take time. And I have no regrets.”
This year there will be 42 houses to visit with a variety of newcomers and old favourites. The lineup will also include houses that are actively being renovated to showcase the process. The event takes place during the last weekend of August, and visitors will have the opportunity to admire the architecture but also visit the Antique or Crafts Fayre for a souvenir or to try some local food.
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