Log cabin by lake Saimaa. That would be my ideal summer cottage, Sanna Kaipia told her husband Kimmo Kammonen.

This is an understandable dream, because Kaipia is from Lappeenranta and has spent a lot of time near lake Saimaa. For Kammonen, who is from Helsinki, the reasonable distance was a more important criterion. He wanted to be able to drive from Helsinki to the cottage within an hour. 

After a long search, the couple found a compromise in Karkkila, ­Uusimaa. 

“Kimmo was right about the distance. We visit the cottage much more often than we had planned,” Kaipia admits.

She enjoys spending time in nature so much that she would be ready to move to the countryside for good. 

The cottage is a place of small projects and relaxation.

Kaipia works in imports at Nissan and Kammonen is a car painter and the stage and guitar technician of the Finntroll band. The couple had no previous ties to Karkkila, but they had visited the area before.

Kaipia, Kammonen and their ­Miniature Bull Terrier had been, for example, to the Karkkila rapids and the Karkkila dog park, which ­Kaipia­­ identifies as a “definite plus” for the municipality. 

Outdoor toilet was a dream come true

When the search watch notified the couple of a summer cottage at the ­Kaitalampi lake, they decided to visit it and walked to the house along the fo­rest road. It turned out that the previous owners were also dog owners; the plot had a fence around it with a gate. This was a great discovery and another pull factor alongside the short drive. 

The outdoor toilet sealed the deal, as it was on Kaipia’s “must have” list.  

The couple bought the cabin and had the keys in October 2021. They had found their safe haven.

Sanna Kaipia would be ready to move to their second home for good.  

In the past, they had travelled around the world together, spending countless hours in airports, and now they changed their weekend getaways and holidays abroad for cottage life. This also helped them to reduce their personal climate impact. 

The summer cottage is also like a nest egg that stabilises the couple’s finances.
“Our funds are tied to the plot and the property instead of being flown off in the air as we fly around the world,” Kaipia says.  

Cottage life inspired both

The new owners transformed the one-floor board cabin that was originally built in the late 1960s into a winter-proof second home.  The cottage is not heat insulated, but the air source heat pump, electric radiators and the heat-storing fireplace, which the coup­le heats daily, generate enough heat even on cold winter days. 

Kaipia can work remotely at the cottage, but Kammonen cannot. On the day of the interview, Kammonen is painting cars in Helsinki. 

There is a fire in the fireplace and Eino, the couple’s dog, is laying in front of it, enjoying the cosy warmth.

“Dogs are such pleasure-seekers,” Kaipia says, looking amused.

The fifty-square metre cottage has two bedrooms, a living room and a small kitchen. Additional accommodation space for guests can also be found elsewhere on the plot: the outbuilding and the dressing room of the barrel sauna.

“We carry our own water from the well, also in the winter. I love starting the day with pushing snow and carrying water.”

Being busy with chores that benefit our property inspires both. Kaipia has established a kitchen garden and cannot wait for the growing season to start. Kammonen has put his craftsmanship to use and built up a pizza stove with the help of YouTube tutorials.

“Kimmo immediately sees what can be done here and finishes the task quickly.”

The flat and fenced plot is Eino’s (right) and Kuuno’s playground.

Kaipia and Kammonen demolished the old porch and built a large terrace in its place. They finished constructing the outbuilding that the previous owners had started and painted the interior walls and ceiling of the cottage. Even the outdoor toilets received a fresh coat of paint and new felt roofing. They painted the dock and built new pathways. The list of small improvements is endless. Next summer, the couple will paint the cottage on the outside and replace the drainpipes. 

Kaipia and Kammonen budgeted EUR 20,000 for the alterations. They paid EUR 124,000 for the cottage. 

“We wanted an affordable cottage so that we could spend money on our own projects,” Kaipia says. 

There seem to be endless expenses, and endless projects. The couple playfully call their cottage a “work camp”, as there is always something to be cleared and weeds to remove on the yard. 

Barrel sauna gets heated every day

The star attraction of the sauna is in the immediate vicinity of the Kaitalampi lake. The owners heat up the wood stove of the barrel sauna every day when they are at the cottage. In the summer, they go ice swimming and in the summer, they spend longer times swimming in the lake. 

When the lake unfreezes, the couple go boating with the boat they bought in their first spring. The only downside is that the lake is small so they cannot spend the whole day in the boat. Saimaa would be a better lake for making these dreams true. 

Kaipia has not forgotten her ori­ginal dream. Maybe she and her husband will one day have their own log cabin by lake Saimaa.

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