Calling all 3D sauna building enthusiasts: blueprints are back on Google SketchUp!

A big thank you to sauna builder Terry from the Sequoia National Forest area in California. Terry is just now in the midst of his own sauna build project. He reached out to saunatimes with some build questions and submitted to our Advisory Team a couple detailed SketchUp drawings which impressed our staff!

“I am pretty new to SketchUp, but really enjoyed making up some drawings of our sauna build plans.” Terry explains. “Glenn circled back with me and asked if I could adapt his pencil drawings of two configurations for his 8×12 sauna plans.”

Glenn’s hand drawn sauna plans from 2014, detailing two different hot room layouts

And Terry did it!

Terry advises: “You can create a free account for Sketch Up to fully view all the details and move around the 3D space, plus you can show/hide sections and get exact measurements as well. I’ve attached a few export images.  The actual .skp file is 23MB.”

We included Terry’s zip file within the folder of the saunatimes ebook “Sauna Build From Start to Finnish.”

Terry’s adaptation of Glenn’s two 8×12 backyard health and wellness retreat designs, with reverse gable, and out swing changing room man doors that won’t hit you in the ass.

What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding divine proportion?

“8×12 is a magical dimension,” Glenn says. “We are using dimensional lumber. Being under 100 square feet, in most municipalities, the structure does not require a building permit.” Glenn goes on to add: “8/12 is a golden ratio. Divine proportion isn’t just for woo woo tarot card readers. Divine proportion is a foundation for all of Nature and Science.

If Leonardo di Vinci were alive today, chances are he’d be advancing his ideas while sitting on the upper bench of his own 8’x12′ health and wellness backyard retreat. He’d extend his arm out to toss water on the rocks and would be reminded that the length of his arm, from his elbow to the end of his hand is 2/3 the length of his entire arm.” More on the Golden Ratio and the human body here.

This fact may not mean much, but the 2/3 ratio exists everywhere. Because of this ubiquity, the Golden Ratio feels right. When we build by following the dimensions of divine proportion, we make art that looks and functions beautifully.

Terry’s SketchUp drawings of saunatimes sauna designs help us see Divine Proportion in action

8×12 may not be your sauna building dimensions. You may choose 12×16. And Leonardo di Vinci would nod approval for that dimension as well! (Check out these two 12×16 concepts here.)

Hot room bench analysis (down to the inch!)

Two different bench configurations for the sauna enthusiast in you

The SketchUp drawings offer two bench configurations for your consideration. The bench layout on the left is approximately 7’4″ long. The bench layout on the right is approximately 6′ long. The layout on the left has less standing space. The layout on the right has more standing space. As you can see, neither of these layouts offer an “L” bench, as for many applications, “L” benches look better on paper than in real life (and can easily be added after the fact).

Sauna builders can choose either layout with consideration towards how and where the structure will sit on their property. SUGGESTION: get the ball rolling (and right brain thinking) with 4 sticks and a roll of carpenter string.

Let’s look at window ideas

Three cheers for transom windows. With either design, we can introduce transom a transom window in the hot room to lighten the space and offer a welcoming view to nature, while sitting on the sauna bench. For more clarity of windows, please click here.

Overall building size matters

What is significant is that with either design, we are working with a hot room of just under 50 square feet. Why is this significant? Because this is a great hot room size. In the US, we have too many Big Homes, Big Cars, Big Cheeseburgers, But We Don’t Have To Build Big Saunas. This design, much like with Divine Proportion, prescribes to the Sauna Party Equation.

So, a big thank you to Terry for his great work with adapting the saunatimes sauna drawings to SketchUp. Collaborating and helping others with realize own health and wellness retreat is contagious (and rewarding!).

For extra credit reading, here is the development of above, with original SketchUp drawing from 2009. Tried and true and tested by a madman’s journey to 50 saunas in 12 days in Finland, this still probably remains “the perfect size outdoor sauna.”

A final word from Terry: “People can link up with me on: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/terry.majamaki/ or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/majamaki/ . I’ve been documenting our build progress via stories and have a Sauna Build collection you can see on my Instagram profile.”

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12 thoughts on “Calling all 3D sauna building enthusiasts: blueprints are back on Google SketchUp!”

  1. very cool, nice work! amazing how 3d views really help tell a story. one item that is often overlooked when framing a building is blind cavities and how to insulate them. ideally, framing is such that they are not created but if they happen to be, be sure to insulate them before putting up the exterior sheathing.

    for those that are not familiar, take a look at the exterior wall corners as well as the intersection of the dividing wall with the exterior wall, the model shows it very well. note the small ‘cavity’ in between the closely-spaced studs and the one perpendicular to them. once the exterior sheathing goes up, there is not an easy way to access these ares and insulate them, short of drilling a hole in one of the studs and trying to force some insulation in there. best to place insulation in those cavities before putting up exterior sheathing, very easy way to completely insulate the exterior wall and avoid potential cold spots.

  2. Such a great thread! Ive been messing around with sketchup for a few years now so this seems very interesting. I am starting to build a sauna and want to get your e-book but I am curious as to what designs/sizes to you include in the book?? Cedarbrook.com has a cool sauna design about 5×7, just wondering if I could create something like theirs? I am sure your designs are cool too!

  3. Alex,

    The book, like that scene in Wizard of Oz when everything goes from black and white to color, allows the sauna builder to open themselves up to all kinds of thinking and seeing. You can create exactly what works best for you and apply all the nuances of good sauna building (ventilation, insulation, bench design, etc.) and the process has all the possibility to be as awesome as walking through a field of poppies…. kind of. sort of.. but I think so!

  4. On the L bench…

    As I doodled various hot room layouts before I began my build, it became clear to me, too, that an L bench would fit clumsily, at best. But, I wanted more top bench real estate. What to do?

    My base configuration is the 7.5′ (internal) cube. The door is centered on the bottom ‘front’ wall. Low & high benches span the top/far wall. The stove, a small kuuma, is to the left of the door in the front corner. A transom window, 8×25 is on the left wall, at eye level for high bench sitters. This leaves a fair amount of open space on the right. I filled it with a removable high bench.

    The removable L section sits on 2x4s screwed to the walls, per Glenn’s standard design. It is not braced from below, other than a hinged leg at the L corner. The leg rests on the lower bench, which has center legs of its own. This layout gives us room for two adults to fully recline on the high/hot benches. We lose one seat on the low bench, which sees less use anyway. And, if we don’t like it, it can be removed in seconds.

  5. Brian: Awesome. What a great example of a sauna builder who is a sauna user. This is the thing about architects and designers laying out sauna plans who never sauna. It’s hard to make that work.

    But with you, you use your sauna and you’ve messed around and made it work for you. German car engineers would be pleased to hear your story. Ergonomics. Zen and the art of using your sauna and figuring out benches how they best work for you. Great stuff!

  6. Must be Upper and lower case and not a password you’ve used in 12 months with no consecutive characters and 3 Finnish letters to be valid in Alaska or Hawaii. jk.. i emailed you, Slava. Enjoy !

  7. We are planning on building a sauna in the woods in northern MN hopefully next spring. I want to know if your book has information on building a shower room using water heated from the wood stove? We will be able to bring water over for the shower from our pressurized well more than likely thru a garden hose. So before purchasing your book I wanted to know if there would be information on this to guide us thru this project. We know of saunas, but to build one and to do it correctly we definitely need guidance. Also why does it say your book is $20.00 but when you put it in the shopping cart it is $25.00?

  8. Hey Glenn
    I love what your doing here!…so glad I found you before I started my sauna build. I’d like to purchase your E book. I live in Ontario, will it convert to Canadian$ at checkout?


  9. Hi Ian:

    Yes, payment will automatically convert from Canadian dowlers, to US dollars.

    Glad you found saunatimes.

    Also, you may be happy to know that in the spirit of Canadian content, we’ve been using Silkerk brand chimney components (from your native land) for decades. And growing up in Buffalo, NY, my Grandfather and I would head over to Fort Erie for Tim Horton’s before they came to US. Glad you’re advancing with your sauna project.

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