Here is a sketch of my ideal sauna, drawn in ideal conditions
on graph paper in a dimly lit changing room, between sauna rounds with two buddies: an architect and contractor, while sipping a couple beers at my island lake cabin:
- Efficient: a 6’x8′ hot room is a nice size. Big enough to accommodate as a one person sauna to a six person sauna, yet small enough to heat quickly and efficiently.
- Compact: 8’x12′ overall building dimensions. Most building codes don’t require a building permit for structures less than 100 sq. ft.
- Divine proportion: the golden ratio of architecture, harmony within nature, plus all your building materials come in dimensions that offer minimal cutting and waste (to burn in your sauna stove).
- Two rooms: Critical in cold climates. Just as grocery stores have double doors as an energy saver, your sauna should have a changing room. It’s impossible to have an efficient sauna if the door from the hot room opens to the outside. Close the door!
- Stadium seating: 24″ wide benches are the bomb. Great flow.
- Versatile: A great sauna party by night can also be a nice home office escape or kids play area by day. Storage above your hot room, and allow yourself to make a cabin style patio, that flows out from your changing room. Turn your 8×12 sauna into a backyard escape.
- Odds & Ends: A few tips to consider:
- Put a dimmer light in your hot room.
- 7′ internal ceiling in hot room, never higher. Less unneeded cube mass to heat.
- Before cedar paneling your sauna/changing room, wire for sound and Ovi/Nokia mobile device technology. Plus, I’m a fan of music in the sauna.