“A home without a sauna is not a home.” -Finnish saying.
In Finland, where the sauna originated, the experience is engrained in the culture. With approximately one sauna per household, it is considered a necessity rather than a luxury.
As a means of physical and mental cleansing, the sauna is a place to relax and enjoy family and friends. In fact, it is uncouth to discuss job, title or religion in the sauna.
Also called the “poor man’s pharmacy,” a Finnish proverb states, “If a sick person is not cured by tar, spirits or sauna, then they will die.”
Ensitio Design was tasked with redesigning an existing hand-built sauna that had undergone a fire. The original sauna was an outdoor centerpiece, serving as the hub of pizza parties and friends, a place to relax together. Everyone took turns rotating through the sauna and as the owner says, “By the end everyone would just be calm, like a rainstorm.”
We brought a mixture of classic and contemporary to the project. In keeping with the natural surroundings, we used reclaimed wood on the exterior but created smooth lines. The interior is sleek and simple, made of cedar which has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, (not to mention the wonderful smell.)
Typically saunas are designed without windows, but we added a slim window along the roof and down the side, providing an element of soft light and a glimpse of the cottonwood trees, while still keeping the sauna private.
Heated by wood, water is thrown on the rocks creating the steam, or “loyly” in Finnish, which means the “spirit of the steam,” an almost spiritual feeling for the heat that fills the room. It is considered an honor to be in charge of the steam. There are no rules as to how much water is added, but it should be adjusted based on the preferences of those in the sauna. Essential oils can be added such as Eucalyptus for congestion, allergies and to energize, or lavender which is used to relax.
Sessions are generally 30 minutes to 2 hours with breaks in between to cool down. It is important to drink plenty of fluids. In addition to water, the Finns enjoy cold beer or cider, and salty foods such as grilled sausages.
Our sauna design is specific to your site and takes into consideration your weather patterns. In cold climates, the location should be closer to your home, in warm climates, the distance is flexible.
Most importantly, the relaxed feeling that comes from the sauna is something to relish. The physical, mental and social benefits are an unparalleled addition to anyone’s lifestyle.