Explore Project Ö: A Scandi-cool cabin on a private island in Finland's Archipelago National Park

Nestled amid an organic paradise in the most joyful nation on the globe – this is the ultimate happy home

Exterior of Project Ö cabins
(Image credit: Courtesy of Aleksi Hautamäki)

It is perhaps inevitable that the search for the happiest home in the world begins and ends with the happiest country – Finland. The award, granted by the United Nations for its fourth consecutive year, is a result of several factors, but as we draw to the end of our Happy Homes week, we believe Finnish design deserves even more recognition. 

Cue, the aptly named Project Ö – 'Ö' translating to 'an island' in Swedish – which are two secluded, stylish, and undeniably sophisticated modern homes on a rocky island in the Archipelago National Park. Designed by designer couple Aleksi Hautamaki and Milla Selkimaki, Project Ö is accessed by a flight of wooden stairs that lead from the shores of the Norrfjärden sea. Standing as wooden jewels in the crown of this 5-acre island, the 70 square meter properties include a living room, kitchen, workshop, and a sauna. 

Inside Project Ö cabins living room

(Image credit: Courtesy of Aleksi Hautamäki)

The signature long and narrow design allows for extended views across the preserved landscape and water so that you can enjoy breakfast in bed with the backdrop of your dreams. Despite its size, however, each cabin can sleep up to ten adults without compromising comfort. 

'We had a limited surface area to use, and the house is located within the national park with no visible neighbors, so we wanted to maximize the visibility from inside with large windows. And the narrower the plan, the more windows we get,' shares designer Aleksi in the discussion of his architectural masterpiece.  

Kitchen in Project Ö in Finland

(Image credit: Courtesy of Aleksi Hautamäki)

Each cabin is also carefully curated to showcase traditional Finnish archipelago aesthetics, including long eaves and a quintessential gabled roof. 

'Aesthetically, this concept of eaveless house has not been around forever, and I was a bit wary if that was more of a trend right now and how that will look in 40 years. Secondly, there are practical issues of leading the water and snow away from the building,' Aleksi adds. 

See: Five interior design lessons from Finland – the happiest country in the world

Interior of Project Ö in Finland

(Image credit: Courtesy of Aleksi Hautamäki)

While the exterior is made of thermo-pine, the fixed home decor is the work of sustainable kitchen designer Puustelli Miinusm, who created pieces to mirror the cabin's ecological ethos. Other furnishings pay homage to the swinging '60s, with original pieces from the Helsinki-based brand, Kuusilinna.

Beyond this minimalist haven, the entirety of Aleksi and Milla's island is self-sufficient. As the couple share, it uses 'solar power for energy and filtered seawater for all drinking water.' 

Project Ö sea view from island in Finland

(Image credit: Courtesy of Aleksi Hautamäki)

'The houses have running water, flush toilets, heating, cooling, and a modern kitchen. Hot running water is produced with a sauna stove, and the same system provides heat to the floors,' they add. 

See: Neutral bedroom ideas: 27 stylish ideas for a calm and restful bedroom scheme

Project Ö exterior on Finnish island

(Image credit: Courtesy of Aleksi Hautamäki)

It looks like we've found our happy place, two and a half hours from Helsinki, in the shape of Project Ö. We'll be thinking about this summer home long into the brighter months, and beyond.  

Megan Slack

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team.

Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US whilst studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site.

Megan currently lives in London, where she relocated from her hometown in Yorkshire. In her home, she experiments with interior design trends and draws inspiration from the home decor ideas she observes in her everyday work life. Her favorite pieces include her antique typewriter and her expansive collection of houseplants. When she isn’t writing, she is browsing London’s coffee shops and bookstores to add to her ever-growing library, taking over the open shelving in her apartment.