Tuesday, 4 September 2012

House renovation under way, and Reader Request: Sauna interior

When I wrote that our new house was rough on the inside, I wasn't kidding! The interior is pretty raw at the moment. The previous inhabitants had done some work in the house in the 1980s, but the choices they made back then weren't exactly our cup of tea. The old wood floors were covered with cheap linoleum and the walls with ugly paneling. Radiator pipes and electric wires were drawn on the surface of the walls and the ceiling. We could see that the house had a lot of potential, so we decided to reverse the house to its original condition and then work from there. After two days of intense wreckage, the 1980s kitchen is gone, the linoleum is gone, the paneling is gone, the radiators and the pipes are gone. At the moment the house resembles an empty shell, but the old wood floors, as banged up as they are, give me some hope that one day the house will live to its full potential. As the old structures of the house are being revealed from underneath the layers, little glimpses into the life that once was, emerge. Below is where the old phone used to be. Back then, phone numbers had only five digits, and the wall was as good of a place as any to serve as a phone book.

And now: Reader Request! Terri of Rags Against the Machine asked to see more pictures of my mother's old sauna building. This sauna was built in the 1940s.

Here are some pictures of the interior.

Above you can see two wood-burning stoves-of-sort: on the left is what us Finns call kiuas. The burning wood heats up the stones, and when water is thrown on the stones, wonderful hot steam is released into the air. On the right is the container for hot water. Old saunas don't have plumbing, so water is either pumped or carried manually in buckets into the sauna from the lake. A portion of the water is heated in the wood-burning container, and the hot water is then mixed with cold water, in buckets, until it is comfortable to use for washing up. 

Here is what the rest of the sauna looks like.

The floor is concrete but wooden floor panels are put on the floor before one enters the sauna, for comfort and cleanliness. In the picture here the wooden floor panels were lifted up to dry on the right-hand side. The buckets of cold water are usually kept on the floor or on small benches, but here they are still waiting to be placed on the floor as the paneling is still up, and they are on the seating area instead. In this sauna there are three levels of seating: the heat is the most intense on top.

 The best time to relax in the sauna is in the evening. The lake shore is quiet and the water still.


Anonymous said...

Great post, hon! I LOVE that you can see the bones of the house, now...and I almost wish we could keep that area around the old phone...maybe put a picture frame around it as an homage to the past. And the last photo is amazing! How beautiful the lake is. Well, must run...let me know what you think about framing the phone area!! :) CR

Shey said...

Wow! You sure have a lot of work in your hands but I'm sure your house will look beautiful once you're done with it, keep up the hard work! Sauna baths are very common in Mexico, they look different though because they are built out of mud bricks, they recommend sauna baths especially to women once they give birth to their babies, after I had my son I used to have a lot of back pain and after I took a sauna bath (along with some medicinal herb conjunction) I felt much much better. =)

Milla said...

Ihana sauna! voi ei. tommosen kun sais. It's funny how so many old farm houses have that same 1980s remodel scene going on. What were folks thinking?

Jessie Tsui said...

That sauna is approximately 70 years old by now, and yet it still in good shape! Anyway, how’s the reconstruction going? As there are a lot of changes, it will probably take a long time before we can see the final product. What's definite is that it'll be worth the wait :)

Neil Dalby said...

I hope everything is well and good now and that you are able to enjoy the sauna you have. What I would suggest is that to stay inside the sauna for 45 minutes to 1 hour every night. You will see improvements in your health within a month! You can also use it when you have a fever to sweat away the headache.