Pukekohe, Auckland

An Outdoor Sauna for a Connoisseur

After spending several years in Europe, our client Beverly definitely knows her saunas and could specify exactly what she wanted. Set in a garden with loads of privacy on a semi-rural property, the design called for a free-standing outdoor sauna with a verandah.

A stable platform for the structure was built on posts of pressure-treated landscaping timber. Timber decking was used as a floor, raised for good drainage and air circulation.

The sauna has a tiled roof and an exterior constructed of Shadowclad, while the interior panelling is of Finnish Spruce. Timber selection is crucial to the correct
performance of the sauna, and Finnish Spruce, which has both low heat absorption and low resin content, is ideal.

Two broad tiers of Abachi benching are arranged in a L-shape. Abachi is moisture, stain and odour resistant; it’s also smooth, without knots and resin, and doesn’t become hot to the touch even at high temperatures. The spacious room, with a ceiling height of 2.1 metres, can accommodate up to six bathers.

The custom-made door is centrally positioned with narrow, symmetrical sidelight windows that provide light and safety. To add to the traditional touch, natural draught ventilation and natural light are used, with candles being lit during night-time sauna bathing.

An electric heater (with external controls) and a wood-burning stove heater were installed, both Harvia Legend models with large stone capacity, offering the client options as to the type of sauna experience they wish to enjoy. The Harvia Legend heaters are a lovely design, quite rustic and exactly what the client wanted.

The attractive wood-burning stove (a traditional ‘sauna cauldron’) with heated stones is designed for use mostly in outdoor saunas but works perfectly indoors as well. It adds a genuine Finnish sauna atmosphere — soft heat, soft steam and a crackling fire! The client was absolutely delighted with the completed project, especially since we agreed that until quite recently, every sauna used to be an outdoor sauna!

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