Sauna in a Tiny House

Sauna in a Tiny House | Sacred HabitatsKerry Alexander designed and built the lovely Tiny Hope Island Cottage, one of my favorite tiny house designs. Here are details on the gorgeous bathroom which boasts a two person sauna, a feature not found in many tiny homes.

While we did try to maximize space in our tiny house, we still made sure to have a warm relaxing space to revitalize and detox. We originally had the sauna in our cabin, but decided we would utilize it in our Tiny House Hope Cottage and made our tiny living cottage into a “glamping” bed-and-breakfast amenity.

The bathroom vanity lights have a motion sensor which turns on the lights automatically when you enter the bathroom. And turn off automatically after 5 minutes unless you are still moving about in the bathroom. Use of the motion sensor means those who are not familiar with where the light switch is located do not have to fumble around in the dark.

Much of the time this is the only light I use in the entire tiny house, because there is so many windows and skylights. And there seems to be enough light to even light up the stairway when I am finished in the bathroom and head up to the sleeping loft. After a few minutes the light turns off by itself and I am ready for sleep.

The Bathroom became more important in our situation than most of the Tiny Houses on Wheels because we designed it to include a two person sauna. Most tiny houses on wheels will not fit two people in the bathroom let alone have room for a shower, sauna, flushing toilet, dressing area, closet and a sink vanity with three storage drawers, says Kerry.

Kerry designed a cedar bench seat in the shower so he could sit and soak his feet in the shower pan and also doubles as a water tight compartment. He demonstrates the watertight like a boat bench seat that offers a place to sit and doubles as a water tight compartment to store shampoo and other bathroom items.

The toilet is a flushing toilet with a circular water flow which empties into a portable black waste water storage tank that is on wheels. When the tank is full it can be rolled like a wagon with a built-in handle to the property’s private septic system. By simply placing the drain hose in the septic clean-out and using a garden hose to help flush out the tank into the septic system. Since we already had a septic system for the cabin, it made more sense than a composting toilet. And Kerry says it is a lot easier than dealing with the “poop-in-a-bucket” method, says Kerry.

Kerry designed the glass door to protect the sauna from water splashing onto the sauna from the shower. The sauna has a glass window on the corner and it is useful to get light from the bathroom window and see out from the sauna. This glass window also makes the sauna feel less confining. So Kerry installed a glass door so that both sides of the glass could be cleaned simply opening the door. However, it is not the door for the shower, he uses a shower curtain. The glass door is just to protect the sauna from getting wet during a shower. The sauna also has its own music system with DVD player and Radio.

I love what Kerry did ‘above’ the sauna, in the video below he points out that the heat from the Sauna rises through a vent in the Sauna which warms the floor of the loft above. The sauna infrared heater is equivalent to a 800 watt heater. And is more than adequate to heat the entire tiny house. In fact the heater works very quickly in heating the entire Tiny House and usually in less than 10 minutes even on very cold winter days. Kerry says that he almost always has a small window open in the loft for fresh air circulation and to keep it from getting too warm.

A Fresh air circulation fan is important in a tiny space. Mold and mildew are a major problem with tiny spaces. Having adequate fresh air is important to prevent mold and mildew. This bathroom has a window that opens for fresh air as well as a powerful vent fan. Kerry ducted the fan directly through the wall rather than run duct work through the roof. No penetrations in the roof is a terrific idea, fewer spaces where roof leakage might occur. The fan is capable of exhausting the entire volume of air for the entire tiny house in less than two minutes.

I am particularly interested in installing a Near Infrared Sauna when I go to build my tiny house because of the wonderful health benefits derived from sweating out toxins, plus the heat feels so good on the muscles and my skin so refreshed!

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