The Olson Family of Hudson, Wisconsin has a slice of paradise in their backyard with a woodburning outdoor sauna and a screened porch attached. “It feels like we are a million miles away from everything – pure bliss,” states Mrs. Olson. Below she shares their family’s love for their “unplugged escape” that is enjoyed during all seasons.
1. What motivated you to get an outdoor sauna at your home?
A friend of mine invited a few of us for a weekend at her family cottage in Ontario. The cottage was rustic and simple and the bathhouse, was a wood-fired sauna, a few steps away. The ritual of the daily sauna was deeply relaxing and healing. The minute I returned home; I began dreaming about creating a backyard retreat of my own.
2. How did you come up with your sauna plan? How did you decide where to install your sauna?
I spent a lot of time daydreaming, reading blogs, and collecting images of simple cabins and backyard retreats. At this point my husband was a little skeptical but we knew a local architect and reached out to him with our collection of ideas. We live on a couple of acres and the back of our lot has a large clearing surrounded by pine trees. It feels very secluded.
3.What are some of the special features of your custom outdoor sauna? What do you like the most about your sauna?
We wanted to create a low maintenance space for all seasons that was an extension of nature. We installed a high window in the sauna where we can view the treetops and the starry sky. The double-sided woodburning heater is another favorite feature. It’s what ultimately sold my husband on the sauna – he has always wanted a woodburning fireplace. After a good steam we relax in front of the fire in the screen porch and simply appreciate the present moment.
4.How do you use your sauna? Do you have any sauna routine?
In the winter we usually start a fire just before dinner. By the time dinner dishes are done- the sauna is almost at 140 degrees, and we head to out to enjoy our ritual with a good book. That first blast of warmth feels amazing. We often sit in silence as the heat warms us to the core. It’s easy to lose track of time. We generally like the sauna around 160 degrees. After 15-20 minutes we pour a ladle of water over the rocks, and they hiss as steam fills the air. We keep basins of water under the sauna benches to cool off with (our granddaughter loves to jump in the snow) and then we move to the porch for a cool down– sometimes we chat, sometimes we read, sometimes we nap. Then we do the cycle all over again. It feels like we are a million miles away from everything – pure bliss.
5.Why do you like to sauna? What are the primary benefits you and your family get from your beautiful outdoor sauna?
We find the sauna deeply relaxing. It’s our unplugged, escape. Even our grandchildren look forward to trekking out to experience the ritual. A sauna is a guaranteed good night’s sleep!
6.What do you like about the Saga 22T woodburning heater that is in your sauna?
The double-sided design is absolutely our favorite feature. My husband often lights the fire and then stays in the screen porch to enjoy it.
7.What were your thoughts about the sauna design and materials? How did it go for you working with our Finnleo dealer, FinnSisu?
The sauna turned out even better than I expected. Our salesperson was knowledgeable and helpful throughout the design process. He met our contractor onsite for final measurements and was a great resource for questions during construction. I highly recommend FinnSisu.
8. Would you recommend Finnleo?
I would recommend Finnleo without hesitation- it’s especially nice knowing the company was founded in Minnesota.
9. What would you tell someone who is considering a Finnleo sauna?
- Finnleo Dealer: FinnSisu (Lauderdale, MN)
- Type: Custom Outdoor Sauna
- Heater: Saga 22T Woodburning Heater
- Interior wood: Nordic White Spruce
- Bench & backrest design: Abachi benches; standard backrest design
- Sauna accessories: Rento bucket, ladle & towels
Screen Porch Details:
- Architect: John Kalmon, J.P. Kalmon Architecture
- General Construction: Bill Brinkman, Crimson Valley Construction
- Windows: Amazing EZ-Screen Porch Windows
- Furniture: Yardbird
- Butterfly Chair: Cuero Design
- Sheepskin: East Perry
- Blog Photo Credits: Andrea Rugg Photography