Story | 06/18/2024 11:10:51 | 5 min Read time

Pekka builds a comforting plywood cottage on the windswept shore of the Bothnian Sea

Pekka Pöyhtäri and his family are building their dream cottage on the Bothnian Sea in Finland. A deep love for wood shows on the outside as well as on the inside, as WISA®-Spruce dominates both the structure and the interior.

On a rough and windswept spot where the waves meet the rocky shore of the Bothnian Sea, Pekka Pöyhtäri and his family are building their new holiday home.  

“We wanted an ascetic and simple cottage where we can enjoy spending time together as a family: A warm and safe haven, no matter what the weather is like,” Pekka captures the essence of the fisherman hut-inspired building designed to fit into the place’s rugged surroundings and history. 

Sold the sailboat and hired an architect 

Pekka Pöyhtäri initially dreamt of sailing around the world with his wife and their five kids, but due to his wife’s seasickness, they had to find another way of enjoying the sea and each other’s company. 

They found it on the western tip of a windy and rocky peninsula in the Finnish town of Ii, about 50 kilometres north of their home near Oulu.  

“The harsh beauty of this place appealed to us,” says Pekka, who sold the sailboat and hired an architect to help design the family’s dream getaway. The open sea and untamed surroundings have been the main inspiration for the cottage as has the history of the place and Pekka’s forefathers. 

 
 

“A fisherman's cottage came to mind because fishing has always been an important livelihood here. My grandmother's family earned their living solely from fishing, and there have been many skippers on my father's side since the 19th century. They have sailed these same waters,” Pekka explains, adding that a luxury villa with huge glass facades would not fit in the rugged landscape. Instead, the family went for modest, humble and simple.  

Beautiful, responsible and easy to work with 

Pekka’s love for wood and good craftmanship runs like a vein through the cottage. He has enjoyed creating with his own hands since he was a child, and today, he uses his passion professionally as a technical craft teacher and class teacher.  

“Wood is extremely beautiful. It’s a living material that changes with the environment. You must get to know it to work with it,” he says. 

Pekka is particularly fond of local, Finnish wood species, so he chose WISA®-Spruce Special plywood, sourced from responsibly managed Finnish forests, as the main material for the cottage.  

 
 

“It warms my heart to know that the wood material we use comes from nearby forests, providing many families with food on the table. To me, it is also crucial that UPM is a pioneer in responsible forest management,” Pekka stresses. 

With hundreds of square metres worth of plywood ceilings, walls and fixed furniture, Pekka was looking for an affordable product without compromising performance. Quick installation and consistently high quality were also on his wish list. 

“Before choosing WISA, I did a lot of research. It turns out that WISA-Spruce Special is the best softwood plywood on the market,” Pekka says about UPM’s high-grade special panels with no open defects on the cross-sanded, smooth surface.  

Spreading the love of wood 

Lightweight and strong, WISA-Spruce is widely used in structural and load-bearing constructions. However, in the Pöyhtäri cottage, it is not hidden from the eye. It is visible everywhere, as practically all the interior – except for the plank floor – is made of plywood: The ceiling, the walls, and the built-in furniture are all made of WISA-Spruce Special. 

 
 

“We have a lot of built-in furniture made of plywood, creating cozy nooks that invite you to curl up with a book on a stormy autumn day,” describes Pekka, who is fascinated by the vibrant and rustic wood grain look of WISA-Spruce. So are his kids, who see everything from the Neighbour’s dog, bears and owls to northern lights and maps in the lively spruce surface.  

To inspire others, Pekka shares photos and experiences on the Instagram account, @perameren_rannalla (meaning on the shore of the Bothnian Bay). 

“I want to show that you can build incredibly beautiful surfaces with plain spruce plywood. In our cottage, the wood’s nature and character are allowed to show!”

 
 

The Pöyhtäri Family’s cottage in the Bothnian Bay

  • The family consists of Pekka, his wife, five kids and a dog.
  • They have also built their own home. 
  • The whole family has been involved, but professionals have taken care of many phases.
  • The cottage is designed by Marketta Saukkonen from Studio Rappu.
  • Planning took several years, but the construction stage has been quick. The cottage might be ready this summer, after less than a year of construction.  
  • The 66-square-metre main cottage shares a roof with a 14-square-metre “teenage cabin”. The property also contains a sauna and a shed. 
  • WISA plywood was used in a host of applications:
    • For foundation concrete formwork  
    • For all interior, including walls, ceilings and furniture (except for in the sauna)
    • For the construction phase outhouse, working tables and as covers for the plank floor. 
 
 
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