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What I Rent: Henna, €750 a month for a three-bedroom apartment in Finland


Meet Henna, a designer and mum-of-two (Picture: Henna Cantrell)

This week’s What I Rent falls outside of our usual UK setting, heading north to Finland.

We’re chatting with Henna, 39, who lives in a rented three-bedroom apartment in Finland that she shares with her husband, Mike, their five-year-old son, her 17-year-old daughter, a dog, and a cat.

Henna is a fashion designer by trade, but in the pandemic has been working on creating medical supplies.

She lives in her hometown, where she moved back in 2013 after 10 years of living around the country.

Here’s what she rents.

Hey, Henna! How much do you pay to live here?

Rent is €750 a month and other bills (water/electricity) about €200-250 a month, depending if it’s summer or winter.

And what do you get for what you pay?

An apartment with three bedrooms, a kitchen, an open plan living/dining room, three bathrooms (we only use two of them) and a sauna/shower room.

She rents a three-bedroom apartment in Finland with her husband, Mike, their two children, a dog, and a cat (Picture: Henna Cantrell)

Do you feel like you have a good deal?

It’s a good deal compared to the other prices here.

Whereabouts is your home based? What do you think of the area?

We live in central Finland, a small city which is beautifully located on an island surrounded by lakes and forests.

Our apartment is located right in the city centre, but is walking distance from both the lakes and the forests.

It is also a culturally rich city with a large number of well known artists that have roots and beginnings here.

Unfortunately compared to my younger years here, we are losing a lot of businesses, happenings and events. We are about 60km away from a bigger city.

How did you find this property?

I had visited this apartment before when I was a teenager when an acquaintance of my family lived here.

I remember that day quite clearly, as it was the tragic day of Princess Diana’s death, which was being broadcast on the TV worldwide.

Later, my husband and I spent one New Year’s Eve party here with the previous tenant and after I knew she had moved out I asked directly from the owner if it was available for rent. We needed a bigger place as I was pregnant.

Being Finnish, a sauna was an essential for Henna (Picture: Henna Cantrell)

How have you made this place feel like home?

Living in this home, I’ve realised that even if we don’t own the place I can be bold and crazy with decorating it.

I’ve used colours and painted furniture. Our sofa and all that makes it feel and look more like us.

Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?

The layout of this apartment had potential, which was one of the reasons we wanted to rent it. The other reasons were the sauna, which is important for people living in Finland, and the size.

The wallpaper and white walls the place had when we moved in weren’t really our style, so it was a little bit difficult to decorate, but I was able to somewhat make it work.

In the beginning we didn’t even consider asking if we can make changes here, but when a few magazine photographers got interested in my interior style I thought now it’s time to ask the landlord if we could personalise this flat.

We got permission to give the home a facelift. After that, bit by bit, we’ve painted walls and used wallpaper.

I also decided to paint the kitchen cabinet doors. By doing all this, it has been easier to make this space feel more like home and personal.

We are keeping the budget low with the changes we are making as this is not our forever home.

She has loved making the flat her own (Picture: Henna Cantrell)

Do you feel like you have enough space?

The flat is pretty spacious but we are dreaming of having more work space as I do art and crafts and my husband would like a shed for his forging and knife making.

We also love to DIY, so a separate space for doing all that would be fantastic.

Are there any problems with the home?

There haven’t been any big problems during the time we’ve lived here – mainly some plumbing issues here and there.

The landlord will deal with any problems.

Do you have plans to move again? Would you like to own a place some day?

We are planning to buy our own place in the future.

Shall we take a look around?

Oh hi, stylish dog (Picture: Henna Cantrell)
A balcony provides some outdoor space (Picture: Henna Cantrell)
Henna would love some more space for tackling DIY projects (Picture: Henna Cantrell)
The home has undergone quite a transformation – Henna wasn’t a fan of the plain white walls (Picture: Henna Cantrell)
Here’s her home-working setup (Picture: Henna Cantrell)
The couple’s five-year-old son has a great mountain mural on the wall of his bedroom (Picture: Henna Cantrell)
And what a cute guitar (Picture: Henna Cantrell)
Here’s the main bedroom (Picture: Henna Cantrell)
You’ll spot lots of Henna’s DIY touches (Picture: Henna Cantrell)
And finally, the bathroom (Picture: Henna Cantrell)

What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am.

Check back next week to have another nose around a rented property.



How to get involved in What I Rent

What I Rent is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that takes you inside the places people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what’s normal and how much we should be paying.

If you fancy taking part, please email whatirent@metro.co.uk. You’ll need to take pictures of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your bedroom or living area.

Make sure you get permission from your housemates! You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.

We’re not just after the prettiest places out there, by the way. We want the reality of renting, so if you’re currently renting a place you hate, we’d love to see that too (and sympathise greatly!).

This article contains placements with affiliate links.  We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links on these placements.


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