A Cosy Sauna in a Private, Outdoor Setting

Our residential client located in Matakana, just North of Auckland, required a very traditional, free-standing outdoor sauna large enough to comfortably accommodate four bathers. The site selected for the structure is ideal: on top of a hill with stunning views and absolute privacy, tucked away in the garden but near enough to the house for convenient use, especially in cold, wet weather.

A relatively flat, well-drained site was chosen to make the sauna easier to build, less expensive to construct, and safer to use. The structure, with a monopitch roof, is built on posts made of pressure-treated landscaping timber for added stability and longevity. The sauna’s Shadowclad cladding provide a beautiful, natural wood exterior cladding that can be painted or stained.

The interior panels are crafted from imported Finnish Spruce, a softwood that does not become too hot to the touch since it is great at absorbing heat released from steam. It is also very traditional and beautiful with its unique wood grain (with small tight knots), having a lovely rustic look.

The benching is of Abachi, also a good choice as it, too, is a softwood that doesn’t become hot, resists stains and odour absorption, and has no knots, resin or splinters. Abachi feels pleasant to the touch and has a beautiful smooth and fine structure.

The wood-burning Harvia Legend sauna heater, with high stone volume capacity, was installed very much as one would a fireplace or wood stove ‒ and it looks as attractive and inviting. The heater is placed in the corner near the door to maximise the space available for benching.

The sauna door opens outward when standing inside to provide more space inside; it’s safer too. The sauna is ‘solid’, with no window other than that in the door to allow in natural light, as is the traditional way. The circular window in the door is a quaint feature, having been salvaged from an old sea vessel.

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