Who we are
We are Merja and Jari Paksuniemi, two education professionals from Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland and the entrepreneurs behind Lapland Deluxe.
In 2017, we gained ownership of Merja’s family estate called Saariniemi that was first established in the 1860’s in Vanttausjärvi, a tiny village an hour’s drive from Rovaniemi. We decided to save the estate from demolition and renovate the old buildings to a condition they deserved.
Throughout the renovation process, we wanted to respect the history of the estate using traditional building methods that honoured the appearance and structures of the buildings, some of which are more than 150 years old.
The work was demanding, and the help of our families, friends and the people of Vanttausjärvi village have been indispensable – we want to thank everyone involved from the bottom of our hearts! We have also received help from the Villages’ Development Foundation in Rovaniemi and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment in Lapland.
The result is Lapland Deluxe, a beautifully unique place with a warm atmosphere, a rich history and hundreds of stories from years past. We warmly welcome you to visit our labour of love and have a genuinely authentic Lapland experience!
Saariniemi estate through the years
Saariniemi estate is a rarity in Lapland, as it has survived no less than four wars fought in Northern Finland: The Civil War, the Winter War, the Continuation War and the Lapland War. The estate has seen the times under Russian rule, Finland becoming independent and prospering into the modern state it is today.
The first written mention of Saariniemi is from 1862, when forest ranger Esaias Pekkala settled there and had two log buildings, a sauna and a granary, built on the site.
The main building was built in 1904, with the others following suit in the early 1900’s. The estate was a traditional farm with cattle and grain. The adjacent Vanttausjärvi was a natural source for fish, as it still is today.
The main building has survived arson, among other things. At the end of the Lapland War, as German troops were retreating, they famously destroyed a large number of buildings in Lapland. In Saariniemi, a fire was started inside the main buidling, but for reason unknown, the fire didn’t spread and the house remained standing. Traces of the fire are still evident in the original floorboards.
As Saariniemi has been renovated respecting the original building methods, log builders have visited the estate to study the structures and techniques in order to prevent the craftsmanship from dying out. Besides the buildings, countless objects and artifacts found on the estate are the sources for many a fascinating story from days past.
Welcome to explore and discover!