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Out of the Valley clads prefabricated Forest Sauna in charred wood


Architecture studio Out of the Valley has created a sauna in Devon with blackened-wood cladding and a large square window overlooking the adjacent forest.

Called Forest Sauna, the four-person structure aims to encourage UK residents to embrace the Scandinavian tradition of sauna bathing.

Exterior of Forest Sauna by Out of the Valley
Out of the Valley has created a sauna in Devon

The project joins the Out of the Valley‘s existing range of cabins and shelters, which are all handmade by founder Rupert McKelvie and his team at their Dartmoor workshop.

It is the first in the studio’s series of prefabricated saunas, with the others named Hive, Fjord and Mountain.

Cabin in woods
A large square window overlooks the adjacent forest

“The Scandinavians have been advocating for the health benefits of saunas for years, but many people don’t have room in their homes for a custom-built hot room,” said McKelvie.

“Small enough to be tucked away into the corner of a garden, our Forest Sauna in black larch comes pre-made and ready to use,” he continued. “It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in nature and escape the pressures of modern living.”

Woman outside Forest Sauna in Devon by Out of the Valley
It has blackened-wood cladding

Elevated slightly above the ground on metal supports, the six-square-metre Forest Sauna is constructed with a simple timber structure. It is clad in planks of larch that have been charred using the traditional Japanese method of Shou Sugi Ban.

A glass door provides access inside, where the walls and ceiling are lined with thermo alder wood – a popular wood for saunas – and a large glass window frames views of the landscape.

Two wooden benches sit on either side of the sauna’s central heater, which can be specified by customers to be either wood-fired or electric.

“The warm dry air, the smell of thermo alder wood and the view of the landscape outside all combine to create a calming effect,” said McKelvie.

Interior of wooden sauna by Out of the Valley
It is lined with thermo alder wood internally

“Internally the space is clad in knot-free thermo alder which gives a calming feel to the space, [and] large windows give an intimate connection with the surrounding landscape,” McKelvie continued.

The sauna is designed to be easy to construct as well as to move or relocate, with the idea that owners will be able to take it with them should they move home.

Cabin with central heater
Two wooden benches sit on either side of the central heater

Among Out of the Valley’s previous prefabricated projects are a timber holiday cabin with a sheltered verandah and the Oak Cabin that is designed to be either an urban garden room or an off-grid retreat.

Other sauna projects recently featured on Dezeen include a cylindrical lakeside sauna alongside an Art Museum in Finland by Mendoza Partida and BAX Studio and a movable floating sauna in Sweden by Sandellsandberg.

The photography is by OLCO Studios.


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