Backyard saunas bring Nordic serenity and luxury.
Nurturing nature was the theme behind a local couple’s quest to renovate their home. It was so majestic that Edina Magazine covered it in 2021. But even though Janet Skalicky and Brian Patty’s Scandinavian-style home was picture perfect, it was not complete.
“We found ourselves as we got older venturing inside when it gets colder, and we weren’t really enjoying winter,” Skalicky says. She and Patty turned to Duluth-based Cedar & Stone Nordic Sauna, to design and build a stand-alone sauna to match their home’s architectural design.
Another Edina couple—Kari and Matt Norman—added a sauna to their Bay Lake cabin. “We used it all summer. Swimming at night under the stars and then jumping in the sauna was amazing,” Kari says.
Both families love how their saunas have connected them with the outdoors and added quality family time. For Skalicky and Patty, their adult children visit more now that they have the sauna. Even their two Italian greyhounds have become sauna enthusiasts.
Justin Juntunen, owner of Cedar & Stone, says home sauna popularity has boomed over the past few years. “We’ve been living through one of the most stressful times in human history, and when you have stressful times, people are looking for ways to de-stress,” he says.
Modern sauna design has come a long way from the stereotypical small, dark, cedar-planked closets. Skalicky and Patty and the Normans’ saunas are independent structures tucked between towering trees with a large window inviting natural beauty inside.
Patty and Skalicky’s sauna is folded into their native landscape with privacy and an expansive view of the trees where they watch birds and flying squirrels. “It’s like watching a big-screen TV,” Skalicky says.
One modern touch that adds a hint of luxury is the sauna’s WiFi connectivity. Skalicky and Patty use an app to turn the sauna on while preparing dinner. The Normans set their sauna to warm up as they drive north. It takes about an hour to reach the ideal temperature.
The operation cost doesn’t weigh heavily on electricity bills. Patty says he noticed a small bump in their winter bill. “It’s up a bit but no more than plugging in my electric car,” he says.
From backyards in Edina to cabins Up North, the sauna provides a haven of relaxation with a Nordic touch, where warmth and well-being embrace Minnesota’s seasonal beauty and quality family time.