Here in Estonia, most people prefer to enjoy saunas at home. Having your own home sauna is considered normal in our part of the world, even if you live in a modest apartment.
Elsewhere, it’s often thought that only the rich and famous would have their own sauna at home — but we can see that’s slowly changing. More people are discovering the value of having their own sauna and new sauna stove technology is making this more practical, convenient, and affordable.
We just visited one of our customers, Mari-Ann, who has built her sauna in her apartment in Tallinn using a Drop stove made in Estonia by HUUM. Their sauna is so impressive that we asked if could share pictures to inspire more people around the world.
It makes great use of space and is well designed for promoting all-round wellness. Here’s Anni inside giving it her thumbs up.
As you can see, it’s pretty dark in that photo. These are standard low level lights that are common in saunas. However, this sauna also has some extra — and very powerful — lights above.
These are SAD lights, which are designed to ease the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder by mimicking daylight, even on the darkest winter nights. We love the idea of combining light therapy with a good sauna session.
Take another look at that picture and you’ll see two rectangular panels at the back that can be removed. There are infrared heaters behind there so that this sauna can be used for either a traditional sauna session or for infrared treatment.
In addition, those speakers in the corners are for playing relaxing music, guided meditations, or the sounds of nature into the sauna*. Behind their wooden covers, those are actually boat speakers. They’re designed for use out on deck where they need to withstand both high temperatures and moisture — which makes them perfect for using in a sauna too.
*I originally referred to this as music therapy, alongside the light therapy offered by the SAD lights. However, a music therapist has just pointed out to us that this would need to involve a therapeutic relationship with a qualified professional too. We always avoid exaggerated or unscientific wellness claims on this blog so we are happy to correct it.
Despite all these great features, you can see from a bit further out that this is a relatively small leiliruum (sauna hot room). The floor area is 3.3 square metres, while the total space is 6.5 cubic metres. This space was previously just used for a washing machine!
As a general rule, you need a sauna stove with 1 kW output for every cubic metre of space that it’s heating, although additional factors — like these glass walls — require a bit more so we helped them choose a 9 kW Drop sauna stove as the best option.
The Drop was the first sauna stove made by HUUM. Like all HUUM stoves, it uses minimal metal and a large number of stones in order to provide a superior heat and leil (sauna steam).
We supply grey rounded volcanic stones, which have been used to fill up the inside. However, Mari-Ann loved the look of these white stones so she’s used them on the outer layer of the stove (and plans to add a few more on top).
The first bench level provides a step then there’s two more levels above that. There’s an important design feature here that earns this sauna top marks. The bench level for feat is just above the top of the stones in the sauna, which means your whole body experiences the heat and leil together.
When building a sauna, this isn’t always practical depending on the ceiling height, but you should at least aim to have the feet resting as high as possible compared to the stove. Even the most luxurious spas often overlook this.
This stove is just being connected, although you can see the UKU controller on the wall next to the bathroom mirror. This stove also has a WiFi connection so it works with the HUUM app and can be controlled from anywhere, which means you can heat it up before arriving home.
We’ve never seen a sauna with so many great features packed into a compact space. It beats saunas in some of the top spas, yet there’s nothing better than enjoying a sauna at home.
Once the stove is connected and the sauna is ready to use, Mari-Ann says she’ll invite us back. So, if you want, we’ll put together a video of this sauna in future too.
Alternative HUUM sauna stoves for apartments
It’s now even easier to have a sauna installed in your apartment.
HUUM have just unveiled two new sauna stoves, Steel and Cliff, which are designed for smaller apartments with lower power input. They are ideal for homes across Europe, the UK and beyond, and available for sale at EstonianSaunas.com
Thanks for reading
This Estonian Saunas blog is run by Anni and Adam. We introduce people to Estonian sauna culture to support the export of Estonian sauna design and technology from HUUM, as well as encourage more sauna tourism to Estonia. We also sponsor the European Sauna Marathon in the Estonian winter capital of Otepää.
You can contact us at email@example.com.
You can check out our online HUUM store at EstonianSaunas.com (or EstonianSaunas.co.uk for the UK). HUUM stoves combine ancient sauna building knowledge with a contemporary design that is inspired by nature and keeps the stones as the central design focus of any sauna. Their large number of exposed stones is not just beautiful, but also delivers a superior heat and steam.
You can check out our own saunas built with the best of Estonian design and technology, and also other recommended saunas in Estonia at EstonianSaunas.com/our-saunas. We often host events at these saunas where we talk to people about the history and traditions of Estonian saunas.
We’re also currently crowdfunding to open a pop-up Estonian sauna inside an old Soviet Army truck. You can support us here on Hooandja (an Estonian equivalent of Kickstarter).
In addition to our blog, you can follow our own adventures exploring and exporting Estonian saunas on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. You can also join our Facebook group for fans of Estonian saunas.