The old house will be torn down soon. Unfortunately, fixing it was not an option. When we bought the property, the house was sold as a teardown as it was not possible to bring it back to life without unreasonable investments due to its poor condition. However many of its still usable parts, like windows, doors, tiled ovens, light switches, floorboards etc. have been removed and recycled (by the way in Finland, a Facebook group called ”Purkutavarakirppis” is a great way of doing this).
Originally, the 122 m2 wood house was built in 1929-1930 by a local builder for his family. It served as the family’s home for seven years, until they moved to Helsinki as their daughter started school. After that, it was used as a summer house.
When the Second World War was ending, Finland had to rent Porkkala for the Soviet Union as war reparations. The Porkkala region, including this house, was controlled by the Soviet Union during 1944-1956. There is no information of the inhabitants or use of it during that time. In 1956, when the house was returned to the original owners, both the house and garden were in filthy condition. Tiled owens downstairs were still in place, but two fireplaces upstairs were missing, and had to be replaced. The house was thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and for many parts renovated.
Starting 1957, the house has been used as a summerhouse. The sellers also shared with us that the garden, especially the waterfront, has served as a filming location for a Finnish movie from 1987 called “Ihanat naiset rannalla” (“Beautiful Women at the Beach”).
We never really used the house, simply because the smell of the harmful substances has been so obvious inside and were known to cause headache if staying inside for extended times.
In addition to selling and donating useful parts of the house, we have also taken mementos to save, which we will find a place in our new home to remind us of the old house and its history. Those include for example an old map of the Porkkala region and some old light fixtures and shelves.
Quite honestly, we did not realize how much work all the prep work would be, especially taking the thorough way with recycling. But it has been a great learning process, and a fantastic opportunity to connect with interesting people and learn from them.
Now, when so many parts have already been removed, the house looks very different, almost like it is its time to go. It has certainly served well through its nearly 100 year journey, and it makes us happy that so much of it will be reused in different projects. So good bye and thank you for everything, espcially for making space for our dreams.
All photos by Stina Roth (@stinabroth)