Inspirations for My New Space

Finland Countryside Path
This winding road was near a cabin that I stayed in just outside of Helsinki. I wanted to keep walking and see what I would find!

I’ve been hard at work over the last couple weeks getting things ready to go for my new space at the Andersonville Galleria. I’m still located on the second floor, but instead of being over by the windows, I’m nestled in between the two staircases. My space is set up like a little shop. I have counter space to use while working with my clients when it’s busy, and during slow times, it doubles as a little project area. This was a key element for me. I’m there during weekends, and offer repair services and free jewelry cleaning during that time, so it’s absolutely perfect.

Booth Left Side View
The new look! I love that it has a little entryway so customers can come in and get a closer look at the items in the shadowboxes when I’m not around. And don’t forget – if you want to see something, just ask one of the staff! They’re happy to help.

This last several months has been a big transition period for me. I’ve had my jewelry designs available online and in shops or boutiques before, but this is my very own space! Not only do I get to have some one on one time with my clients, which has proved to be an invaluable asset to building my business, but I get to experiment with my own retail environment. It’s so exciting!

Zurina Ketola Designs at the Andersonville Galleria version 1.0
This was my first try! It was a bit of a rush job, but I made my deadline! I am so happy I was able to add a bit more the second time around.

When I first moved in, I have to admit, I was a little under the gun. I had about a little over a week to set up for a big event in mid-October that was supposed to draw a big crowd. The walls in my new space were a super pale gray that I just decided to keep, and I had no displays to speak of. With the help of my amazingly talented husband, who built me those cool shadowboxes, and a much needed trip to IKEA, I was able to get something set up for the weekend. It was simple, and it was my first go at it.

Lake House Table
A beautiful little table inside a Finnish lake house. I loved the cheerful colors, and the light was just beautiful so I really wanted to capture it.

For the new space, I wanted to take my time and do it right. My inspiration? The little Finnish lake houses that sprinkle the lakesides in Finland. I was lucky enough to make a trip to that part of the world back in 2010, and really fell in love with pretty much everything. We were there for ten days in early June, and got a chance to be in both Helsinki and in the countryside.

Water around Helsinki.
We were initially staying just a few kilometers west of Helsinki, in my husband’s boyhood home of Lautasaari. It seems like there was water everywhere we went! This is a view of the Baltic Sea from the end of the road he grew up on.

It seems like there’s a million lakes in Finland, which I think has to do with the climate and geographical location being so far north. It reminds me a lot of the very northern midwest region of the United States. And it was so strange to me, but everywhere there was a lake, there were these tiny little houses! Like, really tiny. Maybe cottage is a better word. There is always a sauna, and just enough space to live. Basically a small bed, and kitchenette, with maybe a little sitting area. Nothing like super-sized American cabins, but totally quaint and charming nonetheless.

Tiny Flowers
These little blooms were everywhere! I think they might be yarrow or some kind of queen anne’s lace?

Flowers were blooming all over the place, and I just loved the simplicity of it all. I think it is a cultural thing. Very spare but still full of purpose, with elements of wood, and a nice use of light. I really wanted to try transport that feeling in my little space so the jewelry would be able to stand out.

Zurina Ketola Designs Andersonville Galleria Space
It’s so exciting to have my own retail refuge! I was thrilled to take inspiration from my travels for the project.

I am so happy with the outcome! We gave the shadowboxes some depth, and they remind me of windows calling for you to come and take a look. My favorite thing? The combination of blue and white with gold branch detailing. It’s very serene and relaxed, which is how I always seemed to feel when I was around the water in Finland. That’s the feeling I wanted to convey to clients who visit my shop.

I had to leave you with some final images of my trip. It was such an inspiring corner of the world – I highly recommend a visit. Both peaceful and playful, with truly striking imagery everywhere I turned. From the smallest flowers to the giant military fortress just off the coast, it really stuck with me. It was an amazing trip that I feel so fortunate to have taken, and I’d love to go back anytime!

A very cool door.
A beautiful antiquated door. What do you think is on the other side?

So what about you? Do your travels inspire your own personal projects or designs in some way? I’d love to hear about it! Leave your comments below.