Kiitos – The dream destination! Plus a Marimekko GIVEAWAY!!

Kiitos  Living by Design

Where: 5 Bridge Road, Barwon Heads

When: Open daily 10 – 5.30

Phone: 5254 1835


It’s confession time. Oh! Hello Geelong absolutely loves travel, whether it’s a mini-break to Tokyo or island hopping in Thailand, the world is our oyster! Without doubt, one of our favourite travel activities is burrowing through shops, markets, galleries, and nooks and crannies in the search for extra special designer goods that we can’t find at home. So for Oh! Hello Geelong it was a scene of  joyous celebration when we discovered the wonderful world of Kiitos in Barwon Heads! Not only did we find an abundance of perfectly designed homewares, textiles, ceramics and accessories (many by some of our fav Scandinavian design geniuses) but the little car ride down the Bellerine highway and Kiitos itself almost created the illusion of being abroad on a European holiday!


And your pilot today is the lovely Maria…

Kiitos owner and founder Maria Malakellis is a woman who has a wonderful ability to inspire, to make you laugh and to make you feel pretty fantastic! Maria is also a woman with passion and drive that you can’t learn or buy, but just comes naturally. So it’s no surprise, with Maria at the helm, that Kiitos is the success it is today.

Maria’s relationship with Barwon Heads and business began as a little lass growing up in the area and working for her parents after school, where she developed a keen eye for display and an interest in good, well considered design. After having three children and making the decision to move away from the family business, Maria worked for some time in real estate only to find that she needed to do something of her own that was more in line with her passions. So after a gentle nudge in the right direction from a friend, Maria made the decision in 2009 to return to her old stomping ground and convert an old retro-style Shell garage at the end of Barwon Heads’ main street into a shop that would bring together some of the world’s best design houses and emerging Australian designers. And the result of course is Kiitos (which means thank you in Finnish – perfect!!!)



Flying first class….

Maria has a genuine love for great design and high quality products and is especially drawn to Scandinavian products, especially those from Finland (hence the shop name!). Kiitos houses a stunning hand-picked collection of super stylish and innovative homewares, apparel,  textiles, ceramics, gifts and accessories from Scandinavian designers and other international and local designers who produce the highest quality products. Kiitos’ high ceilings and stark white walls provide the perfect canvas for the store’s uber colourful products to shine. The textiles, ceramics, homewares, clothing and accessories made by iconic Finnish brand Marimekko add splashes of bold colour and pattern to the walls and shelves, while the famous Acapulco Chairs (all the way from Mexico), iittala glassware and the super trendy Baggu bags and Basil Bangs beach umbrellas add pops of vibrant fun to the shop floor. Meanwhile, Kiitos brings it all back down to earth with ranges including Architect Made Vedel birdsAesop skin care, By Joost ceramics and wooden boards by Nel Lusso.

Apart from those already mentioned,  other fab products include F!NK + Co jugs (from Canberra yay!), Chilewich table mats, Design House Stockholm’s fab sculptural lights, ceramics and doily bike baskets which are oh so cool (laura owns one – sooo pretty), Mini block art prints by Me + Amber, Eva Solo and Alessi homewares, Mattias Stahlblom Pendant Lamps, Jurgen Bags. Oh and we also loooove the range of SaltWater sandals and Funkis shoes.



Kiitos frequent flyers….

Kiitos is a wonderful celebration of the amazing talent, ingenuity and spirit that exists in the design world and it’s such a treat for us that it is so close to home. This really is a one-stop destination to a world of stunning goods and the best part is we don’t need a passport to get there!

PS: While Maria has travelled to Helsinki and the Paris trade fair, she doesn’t have to travel too far to find artistic talent. Maria’s daughter Erini Pantopolis is a talented young artist, who has a collection of divine sketches hanging in the store! Ask proud Mum Maria to point you in their direction, so amazing!

PPS: According to Finnish born Terhi (who now lives in Geelong and happened to be in the store at the same time as Oh! Hello Geelong), Kiitos is the place she goes when in need of a little piece of home and for her marimekko fix! It certainly gets the Fin seal of approval!

PPPS: And most importantly…thank you so much Maria, for everything, you have inspired us both to reach for the stars!



And last but not least, we have an AMAZING GIVEAWAY for two lucky Oh! Hello Geelong readers….

The incredibly generous Maria has offered us 2 of the most beautiful Marimekko cushions worth $45 each to give away to two VERY lucky Oh! Hello Geelong readers (one to each winner)… kiitos Maria!

All you have to do is comment on this post by midnight this Friday (the 18th) to be in the running!

Just tell us: How do YOU like to add a splash of colour to your home?

The lucky winners also need to ‘Like’ us on Facebook to be in the running.

Winners will be chosen by us and notified by email on Monday 21st May.

Good luck ladies and gents!

Love Penny + Laura


23 responses

  1. oh my goodness!!! I haven’t heard of this shop before, but thank you for opening my eyes to it!!! How beautiful is all the stock?! I’m loving the coffee mugs and I also spotted some stripy sunny yellow and white socks…I love the burst of happiness that yello can add!!
    I love to add a splash of colour to my home by streching material over canvas’s and hanging around the house…the best thing about it is if I change my mind about it, all I have to do is take the material off and stretch another piece over! Cheap yet very effective!!
    Love reading your posts :)

  2. Oh hello Kiitos!!
    I very much heart this shop!
    Too many delightful treats!!
    My home is lucky enough to have blue & white polka dot curtains!!
    One day I will get grow up furnishings.. (maybe I can start with a cool marimekko cushion!!)
    Love your work ladies xx

  3. What a beautiful shop and how colourful!! Looks like I’ll be making a trip to BH in the next few weeks!! The best and most personal way to add a splash of colour to our home, is to hang my 2 beautiful girls’ artwork all over the place. It’s impossible to keep all their school artwork, but for the really special pieces, well, they’re displayed, as it’s a waste to put them away in a cupboard. And like most children’s works of art, they’re full of colour. Every few weeks we change them, as they’re constantly bringing them home. That’s what makes our house our home. (Only recently discovered your blog and am loving it. You’re opening Geelong up for the world to see!! Thank you)

  4. Love Kiitos, love Marimekko, love colour! As a local I drop into Kiitos regularly for my colour fix :)

    My home is brightened by some soft furnishings from my travels (including a beautiful quilt bought from a H’mong girl in Sapa, Vietnam; a Thai floor cushion; and some wall prints bought along the banks of the Siene in Paris) the artwork by my three little girls, or a vase of flowers picked from my or my parents garden (by my 3 kids of course!).

  5. I wish that I could make more than a couple of trips to Kittos a year, its my favourite place to get my Marimekko fix and just feel lucky to be surrounded by such lovely things. I do have to include a trip to the beach, let my little boys tear along the sand in the nude and enjoy beautiful Barwon Heads. Its makes for a happy day. I generally use fabrics and soft furnishings to brighten up my home, keeping the slate white makes it easy to change themes with the seasons. At the moment the boys and I are loving making colourful flags out of vintage fabrics and hanging them on the walls. And of course we have lots of colourful paintings and artwork supplied by my two little guys.

  6. In my house adding a splash of colour may come with flowers in a vase, a painting by one of my children, a cushion on the couch or bed … so many different ways but all fantastic in their own way.

  7. I was so happy to find peace of Finland in Australia :) Thank you Kiitos for selling Marimekko and Iittala products in your store!! Now I can add colour to my home with the pink and light blue Iittala maribowls.

  8. ….color pops with my my vintage red vinyl chairs…they’d love a new cushion each…
    …and theres nothing like a smile in a room to brighten your day xx

  9. Hmmm at the moment it’s an alphabet foam mat……but really i love the splash of colour my shelf of teapots adds to the kitchen!!!! Not only look bright and cheerful but I love to pick a new one each day to use!!!!

  10. Thanks for the lovely post. Can’t wait to head down to the heads and pick up one of those whimsical vintage book with silhouette wall hangings, will look great in my study!

  11. Yay! I love that there is a dedicated design blog for the greater Geelong region – keep up the awesome work, ladies. My house (and life) is always pretty colourful, but my favorite way to add to the mix is by making a huge mess in the kitchen while cooking up a storm while entertaining friends and family with lots of great food, wine, dancing and laughing.

  12. Beautiful.

    Here is my “splash of colour” haiku:

    white walls plus plain sofa
    with dark woodgrain is my base
    then rug, vase, bowls, art

  13. Beautiful.

    Here is my “splash of colour” haiku:

    White walls and plain sofa
    Plus dark woodgrain is my base
    Add rug, bowls and art

  14. I love that shop and have had many visits there. In fact any trip to Barwon Heads is always fraught with money spending danger with the fabulous offerings. Recently I took a huge leap of bright colour faith and painted a TV cabinet I bought on ebay BRIGHT yellow and it rocks!!!! I now have to change all the colour decor in the living room and I do believe one of those cushions would do the trick.

  15. How do I like to add a bit of colour? Fabrics. [Probably don’t have to mention that Marimekko is def up there as a favourite… I am Scandinavian after all :) ] Loved this article. Kiitos is amazing, well done Maria. / Anna

  16. Cool walls, warm hearts. Ruby lips, shopping trips. Cats of clay, art by Kay. Our home gently transforms, season by season, fuel for the soul, that is the reason

  17. I have to agree with a few others my children’s artwork is one of the best ways to bring a splash of colour. I just put up a third canvas (these are large pieces about 100cm x 70cm) in our lounge room over the weekend and it makes the room so vibrant. Cushions and throws are also a great way to add colour. I like to change the with the seasons:) thanks for another great tour girls!

  18. Ideally – flowers, fruit and fabric…in reality – kids’ socks, clothes, books, toys flung randomly around the house… :)

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