Live Edge Sauna Interior

The sturdy benches that follow the shape of the live tree, and the dark colours take you to a modern version of the very traditional smoke sauna.

Our customer wanted us to build a sauna to their brand new house, with just one wish: to make it have “modern smoke sauna feeling”. Smoke sauna is deeply rooted in the Finnish culture, with smoke-stained walls and dark, a bit mystic atmosphere, not-so-polished wooden surfaces… So we took these elements and started thinking how to bring the feel of the wood-burning stove and rustic benches into the modern day.

We chose aspen as the wood material for the benches. We started from non-edged, 60-millimeter planks, leaving the edges untrimmed, “live edge” style, in their natural shape. We copied the shape of the planks to the adjacent ones, which creates a nice, natural look. To add modern touch and make the whole sauna look like a finalised, cabinetmaker-style product, we made the benches with precise mitered joints.

What links the sauna with the rest of the bathroom interior is the same material in the walls and ceilings: we paneled the sauna and the dressing room with poplar plywood panel with ash veneer, and waxed it pitch black.

What made this project very exciting was the fact that the customer didn’t want to see even a sketch of the sauna beforehand. The first time they saw it was when it was ready, right before the housewarming party. Apparently we succeeded in achieving the kind of feel they were looking for, since they seemed to be very happy with the result, commenting: “The result was well worth waiting for. We truly love the atmosphere and the pleasant heat and bathing experience.”

As woodworkers, we were especially happy to see the courage to try something new in modern sauna interiors. Something where genuine wood really shows its best features.

Design: Miikka Kotilainen | Woodartist
Woodwork: Woodartist
Photos: Joona Kotilainen