Isabelle made a sauna

I built my sauna in a house from 1824 that is standing on our grounds in Dalarna.  It was a lot of hard work all this past summer but I’m so pleased with how it all turned out! Let me take you on a tour.

The bought 3 windows really cheap on a net auction. I only needed two but since I had all of them I made use of them by making two walls in the sauna made out of windows. Like this a very small space now feels very airy. The third one is place on the upper level. Where we now also have extra sleeping quarters!

I love taking a sauna but never liked the pine feel of most of the saunas out there. Now there is a new kind of paint – made for saunas. I had to paint like 5 times to get it black like this but I love how it turned out. It goes so well with the 200 years old floorboards and walls. Everything that is painted was built from new wood – I mean we made two new walls and the benches plus isolation on the ceiling.  The stove is from Bastubutiken.

This spark protection is an old one we found in the main house. If you turn it – there is an old painting but you can’t really tell. So when they didn’t use the stove the showed the painting just to turn it around when the fire was on!


I bought the old gymnastic horse bench (?) on an auction. I think it found it’s place now.

The new walls I painted with vinegar and Tea. Now it matches the old feeling of the house. Watch me make this great paint blend – here. The new wood comes from Bergkvist i Insjön.

200 years of patina on these planks!


The upper level also got a huge window. Since the ground is at different levels outside – it kind of feels like being in middle of the forest.


It’s only from the forest that you can see the change of the house. From the village and our garden the house looks just the same. I also managed to build a wood shed so you are a bit protected when you take a shower. The shower from Dermerx is also heated by the sun and powered with a garden hose. I built the stairs outside with the timber that was taken out when the windows where put in!

Do you want some more info on how to build and paint and make the sauna – look at this pdf from a job a made about it in Aftonbladet. Or just let me know- I can make another post about it!

Have a great weekend!



All photo’s by me, Isabelle Mcallister


I had fantastic help from Jonas the builder Skarnfeldt – JSB Bygg & Bengt Kajgård who helped me with the chimney. If you need some help in Dalarna then you know who to call!

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31 Responses to Isabelle made a sauna

  1. Anna October 18, 2013 at 19:19 #

    Hi Isabelle!

    Your sauna looks wonderful, and you´ve done a great work there. I love the airy feeling you have created. I´m wondering about the benches in your sauna though, aren´t they a bit low? In Finland we build the benches up as the warm air is lighter and gets up. If the benches were so low in my sauna my feet would freese :)

    Love your blog, anyway!


    • Isabelle McAllister October 18, 2013 at 19:51 #

      Anna! We build them high here too – but the thing is since the sauna is so small. It doesn’t really make a different. I can assure you it’s warm enough!

    • Jenny at dos family October 18, 2013 at 22:51 #


      It is so freaking hot in there. I tried it last time i
      Was at isabelles cottage and let me tell you- I had to go out and shower every five minutes it was steaming.

      • Isabelle McAllister October 18, 2013 at 23:11 #

        Haha still remembering your face when it got too hot Jenny!

  2. Julie October 18, 2013 at 20:06 #

    Isabella you are amazing! Crazy good job you did!

    You guys are such an inspiration!!!

    • Isabelle McAllister October 18, 2013 at 23:12 #

      Thanks Julie!

  3. October 18, 2013 at 22:02 #

    Vad ska man säga, jag önskar att jag var din gamla moster som fick komma och prov basta lite eller kanske familjens ökenråtta som på grund av hemlängtan fick lov att använda bastun lite då och då för att inte bli deprimerad. Verkligen snyggt och välgjort. //Sanna

    • Isabelle McAllister October 18, 2013 at 23:13 #

      Haha gammelfaster eller ökenråtta, du är för rolig Sanna men tack för fina ord!!!

  4. Jenny at dos family October 18, 2013 at 22:48 #

    Isabelle!!! Detta är så fint!
    Och hett så in i!!!!

  5. Melissa@Julia's Bookbag October 19, 2013 at 01:46 #

    Wow this is so awesome! And I’ve been loving all the Halloween goodness you’ve been having around here lately :)

    • Isabelle McAllister October 20, 2013 at 20:21 #

      Great to hear from you Melissa! And thanks! Hope you are well?!

      • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag October 21, 2013 at 17:34 #

        I’m doing great! My daughter is going to be a girl dragon this year for Halloween. I wish I could talk her into painting a cyclops on her face……maybe my husband?? :)

  6. anni October 19, 2013 at 12:46 #

    Snyggt som bara den! Är dock själv i samma linje med Anna, trots att det är säkert varmt ändå i en liten bastu så måste (iaf according to me:) ) det finnas minst två “nivåer” för att en ska sitta högt nog. Grundregeln i bastubyggandet (i bastuns lovade land) är att lägsta nivån ska ligga på samma höjd så överkanten av aggregatet :) Men du har gjort fantastiskt bra jobb och det är en grymt fin bastu. Gillar också det där mörka väldigt mycket, det gör att hela rummet får en helt annan karaktär och dessutom så blir ju ljust träd ganska äckligt efter ett tag när trädet ändå blir slitet och det händer ju inte i det här fallet… Får mycket inspiration för blivande stug- och härbrerenoveringen när jag tittar på det här!

    • Isabelle McAllister October 20, 2013 at 20:23 #

      Jag vet- jag har läst 100 olika regler och id´ér om hur bastun ska byggas eller inte byggas. Jag var själv orolig att det inte skulle vara högt nog. Men måste verkligen helt ärligt säga att jag inte märker nån som helst skillnad på detta plan eller andra som jag suttit högre i. Kul att du gillar looken!

  7. gina October 19, 2013 at 13:49 #

    a sauna with big windows — my dream. This so original and saying that word, I love the attention that you mention to sustaining “what was” for passersby. As am American in Sweden, I love the maintenance of the original with a modern inflection! Thanks for sharing!

    • Isabelle McAllister October 20, 2013 at 20:24 #

      Well you know I think the village had gone mental if I did it another way around ;-) no but I love that duality about it. The not knowing and then modern/old in the same building! Glad you like it too!

  8. Tant Grön October 19, 2013 at 17:01 #

    Oh I think that is the most beautiful sauna i have ever seen. You have done an amazing job!

    • Isabelle McAllister October 20, 2013 at 20:25 #

      Tack Så väldigt mycket!!

  9. Gabrielle Kjellberg October 19, 2013 at 20:00 #

    Sååååååååå fint! Såååååååååå bra! Sååååå underbart. Basta, basta, basta baby

    • Isabelle McAllister October 20, 2013 at 20:25 #

      Gabis- du kommer väl? puss på dig

  10. Tara October 20, 2013 at 01:28 #

    This is absolutely brilliant! We are planning on building a sauna here in Northern Canada. Does it get very cold where you are? I have never seen a sauna with a window. I love it! Did you have to buy certain windows? Do they drip? I don’t know if we could use a window because of the temperature difference here (so cold outside). I would be worried about mold. No?

    Please, tell us more! Is this built into the cottage or is it a separate building?

    • Isabelle McAllister October 20, 2013 at 20:29 #

      Tara! thank you! Well you know it could be around – 30 C in the winters so yes it will be cold. I donät really know how the heat and the cold will react – dripping ans suck but I’ll let you know for sure. Normally you buy special windows for doors and such but loads of Saunas has jsut ordinary windows as well. I guess it’s better with special ones but I think (hope) these will be fine. I think we will have a problem if it’s really cold out and then if we are gonna splash cold water on the warm windows then they can crack. But we just have to be a bit careful and thest it out I guess. A Suana is a very dry place- Why would you worrie about mold?

      Anything more you wanna know?

  11. Malin October 21, 2013 at 09:52 #


    Du har byggt en jätte fin bastu! Vi har också byggt en bastu i sommar i ett häbre! Så det var kul att se något liknande. Vårat häbre är lite mindre så bastun blev placerad på övervåningen och omklädningsrummet under.

  12. Kicki October 21, 2013 at 13:23 #

    Herregud vilket fint ställe! Makalöst magiskt.

  13. Jens October 21, 2013 at 20:45 #

    Men vad bra du är Isabelle!

  14. Mia October 21, 2013 at 22:38 #

    Jag är på fönster-jakt! Vad är det för fönster ni har? Ser ut som det jag söker…

  15. Miss Gingerbread November 3, 2013 at 13:01 #

    Isabelle, you are my hero! The sauna looks so great and absolutely! A few days ago I’ve started renovating my flat on my own. I have never done this before and from time to time I am quite desperate! But I know, that I will make it after all. Your sauna is my motivation :)

    • Isabelle McAllister November 7, 2013 at 15:06 #

      oh thats sounds like so much fun! what are your plan with the flat? Good luck! isabelle

  16. Tina Lila November 5, 2013 at 05:27 #

    Simply amazing Isabelle!!!! Bravo!!!

    • Isabelle McAllister November 7, 2013 at 15:05 #

      thanks Tina!! xxx

  17. Jennifer July 23, 2015 at 22:47 #

    Hi Isabelle,
    I’ve shown my husband the photographs of your sauna…it is our inspiration! I love you natural it feels.

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