Eclectic Homes

An Idyllic Sauna by the Shore

Sail beyond this Lake Huron island also quickly and you might miss the surprise nuzzling the shore. Michael and Agneta Owen’s comfy, 112-square-foot sauna may just be a speck on the rocky Georgian Bay waterfront, a couple hours north of Toronto, but it looms large in the lives of its own appreciative owners.

Michael’s dad, John Edward Owen, constructed the neighboring cabin about 20 years ago for family summer vacations. Following Michael and Agneta took over the property, they decided to add a little sauna and deck to make the most of the house’s 1,000 ft of shoreline. For assistance they turned to Michael’s brother, landscape architect Peter Owen, who worked with the couple to create an understated sauna with a wraparound deck that provides easy accessibility across the stones to the sandy shore.

at a Glance
Who lives here: This is a summertime getaway for Michael and Agneta Owen
Location: An island in Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay, Canada
Architect and landscape architect: Peter Owen
Size: 112 square feet

Owen Landscape Architect

The Georgian Bay landscape is made up chiefly of granite bedrock and rock formations, punctuated by windswept eastern white pines. The sauna and the primary cabin remainder on one of those bay’s 30,000 islands. Surrounded by 7 acres of property, they islands are available from the mainland just via ship.

Owen Landscape Architect

Peter designed the sauna to match his father’s original cabin. Considering that the island is covered with granite boulders and the land slopes steeply in the cabin to the shore, finding the right spot for the sauna was tough. From scratch, Peter started without an existing site strategy, mapping each boulder out .

Peter and Michael designed this spot around the sauna, they purchased as a kit, embellishing the layout with two decks and a living room. The best deck wraps around the whole sauna and also overlaps with the primary lounging deck leading to the water.

Owen Landscape Architect

Considering that the sauna is roughly 100 feet away from the primary cabin, Peter designed it to blend in the island against a stone face and behind a row of trees, therefore it does not block the view in the cabin. Here both Owen families like the sauna’s sunny main deck.

Owen Landscape Architect

Although much of the sauna came from a kit, Peter added a large window for an uninterrupted view of the bay and the setting sun. There’s a little sitting and changing room with all the sauna, also.

Owen Landscape Architect

The angled roof has a profound overhang on three sides to shade the wraparound deck during different intervals of the day.

Owen Landscape Architect

Rustic Douglas fir roof beams and gray-stained cedar board and batten siding comparison with the more contemporary structure.

Owen Landscape Architect

The different deck elevations provide the structure an energetic profile, driven by the bay’s varying water levels. The lower deck contributes to a ramp that straddles the rocky shoreline, allowing people to move seamlessly from the sauna to the water without leaping from rock to rock.

Owen Landscape Architect

Behind the house Peter designed a fir gangway that acts like a bridge, connecting two granite outcroppings located on each side of a massive gap.

Owen Landscape Architect

From there two more gangways are stacked on top of the bedrock to lead up the slope to the cabin.

Now the family’s summertime is a flawless mixture of the first cabin with the new sauna — both designed by different generations of Owens.

More: 5 Hot Tips for Home Saunas

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