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sauna, bathroom, storage, relaxation, architect on demand, advice without strings

This smallish bathroom is designed to feel as large as possible. It doubles as an entryway to a sauna and has to feel like a sanctuary, a space to unwind. A room for relaxation, it is supposed to be used by a few people at a time. And most importantly, there should be enough storage.

sauna, bathroom, storage, relaxationplan

All of that in a nine-by-nine-feet space… Yes, a bathroom with such high expectations can be tough to plan. There are so many bulky non-negotiable fixtures to fit into it. Finding a pretty small toilet at the Home Depot is a place to start, but still — a toilet stall would take up so much room!

sauna, bathroom, storage, relaxationtoilet enclosure

Thus, to save inches, instead of building a regular 5” wall, I decided to make an enclosure out of a steel frame filled in with cedar planks. Three inches saved. I angled the whole thing to make it as compact as possible.

sauna, bathroom, storage, relaxationtrack

Aside from being slender, the graphic simplicity of this “privacy partition” infuses the space with tranquility of the garden. Marriage of wood and metal or blend of industrial and rustic is consistently present throughout the entire project. Remember the fence? Obviously, it is only fitting to use wood in a room adjacent to a sauna. A 24-inch-wide Douglas Fir door is hung on rollers — very sleek pocket door hardware from Hafele.

sauna, bathroom, storage, relaxationshower

Lucky for me, I was able to get a shower cage out of the deal — bonus track (pun intended). It turned out to be very handy when mounting a shower curtain rail. 3/8-inch-thick translucent “rain” glass separates and provides seclusion for both shower and toilet areas.

One of the most important aspects of the sauna bathroom is storage. For the sake of relaxation, it has to be clutter-free!

I don’t believe in sacrifice due to space constraints. By getting creative with storage or taking advantage of small nooks and crannies, a small space can be forced to work just a little harder.

sauna, bathroom, storage, relaxationhanging system

Case in point, is a 3-tier rod installation that transforms a blank wall into a well-stocked dressing station, a customized multitasking organizing system in a spot you’d barely even notice. Hanging buckets, besides accommodating a plant and adding a little bit of greenery, act as cosmetic catchalls while s-hooks hold bathrobes and special sauna hats (IKEA FINTORP series).

Wall-mounted shallow storage can be a real lifesaver and help a small bathroom feel more spacious. No matter how tiny, there’s probably a spot where you can squeeze in a floating ledge or two, and provide a spot for towels, a clock, or toiletries.

In the corner, hidden behind a 19-inch-wide by 90-inch-high mirrored VIKEDAL door from IKEA is a tiny closet, a place to stash cleaning supplies, a hamper, and extra toilet paper. That’s where we keep new “veniki” or oak bath brooms used in the sauna.

sauna, bathroom, storage, relaxationsauna

Our seven-by-seven-feet sauna or Russian “banya” gets extremely hot. It’s impossible to stay inside for more than a few minutes. We come out to grab a cold shower and rest on the benches (MOLGER bench from IKEA doubles as storage). Conducive to relaxation, instead of focusing on my breath, I scrutinize all of the design details, such as the original rustic ceiling paired with contemporary elements. In fact, warm wood accents enhance the gray and white palette of this streamlined bathroom making me feel calm.


  • July 3, 2017


    I really like the layout of your sauna bathroom! I have also noticed that you incorporate angled wall in your designs from time to time. When do you like to use an angled wall in your designs and why?


    • Alla DIY Ally
      July 5, 2017

      Sometimes it makes sense. In this particular case, it helps give just enough space around the toilet and open-up for someone to use it, and then get wider for the shower. Thanks for your question, Bob. alla

  • Mia S Kazovsky
    July 19, 2017

    I am fortunate enough to have experienced this space firsthand. The sauna and bathroom are functional, comfortable, and, of course, very designable. I don’t think anyone else can make storage look so good! You maximize space so brilliantly!

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