January 27, 2018Treehouse Masters Season 10, Episode 5: Alaskan Treetop Sauna

Tucked in a grove of birch trees in Talkeetna, Alaska, this treetop sauna makes the perfect relaxation retreat. While saunas and treehouses may seem like a strange combination at first glance, they truly are a perfect match: both are specialized, small spaces that tend to be lined with aromatic cedar wood. And they both are known for being healing, comforting environments!

We relished the opportunity to bring a sauna to the trees! Read on for a closer look at this inviting backyard getaway…

 Alaskan Sauna Hut - Nelson Treehouse

Our clients for this project love the outdoors and longed for a treetop getaway where they could rest after a long day spent hiking and climbing. The crew kept the aesthetic of the treehouse rustic, bringing the outdoors in for the perfect après-mountaineering retreat.

 Alaskan Sauna Hut side - Nelson Treehouse

Many of the materials for the treehouse, including the live-edge paneling, came from within a few miles of the site. Sourcing materials locally helped us keep the build budget-friendly.

 Alaskan Sauna Hut rough sawn siding - Nelson Treehouse

Four trees (with four TABs) and one log post support the treehouse.

 Alaskan Sauna Hut integration with forest - Nelson Treehouse

The treehouse is shaped like a circle with a small rectangular room off the back that holds the sauna. The frame for the main room is round – see the photo below for reference (it was taken by Nelson Treehouse carpenter Devin Hanley during construction).

Photo courtesy of Devin Hanley

This photo shows the circular framing and the joining of the rafters – what is not visible here is the underside of the rafters, which kept their natural, live-edge texture.

 Alaskan Sauna Hut staircase - Nelson Treehouse

At its highest point, the treehouse roosts about 13 feet off the ground.

 Alaskan Sauna Hut stair access - Nelson Treehouse

A sturdy staircase weaves to the deck. The climbing rope between railing posts came from the clients’ own collection.

 Alaskan Sauna Hut Front door - Nelson Treehouse

The crew added a funky spire atop the roof – they framed it with lumber and capped it with copper. They gave the copper the green patina by mixing simple vinegar with muriatic acid. The front door to the treehouse was reclaimed.

 Alaskan Sauna Hut Deck - Nelson Treehouse

The deck winds about two-thirds of the way around the treehouse.

 Alaskan Sauna Hut deck views - Nelson Treehouse

 Alaskan Sauna Hut interior - Nelson Treehouse

The main body of the treehouse holds a cozy seating area.

 Alaskan Sauna Hut wood stove - Nelson Treehouse

A wood stove keeps the space warm and toasty all year round. LED lights beneath the roofline gently cycle through a rainbow of colors, mimicking the aurora borealis.

  Alaskan Sauna Hut Roof detailing - Nelson Treehouse

The custom wood cutout that runs along the top of the curved walls matches the actual outline of the Alaska mountain range.

 Alaskan Sauna Hut - Door to Sauna - Nelson Treehouse

At the back of the treehouse, a door leads to the small steam room.

 Alaskan Sauna Hut - Sauna Room - Nelson Treehouse

The sauna is lined with cedar and fueled by an electric steamer. During winter months, the warmth inside this room provides therapeutic contrast to the snowy world beyond the treehouse walls

 Alaskan Sauna Hut - Sauna Room view 2 - Nelson Treehouse

All that cedar smells terrific!

 Alaskan Sauna Hut - Platform - Nelson Treehouse

The crew completed the build in ten days onsite. Not counting deck space, the treehouse encloses about 100 square feet.

 Alaskan treetop sauna - Nelson Treehouse

We hope you’ve enjoyed taking a closer look at this rustic and restful treetop sauna!

Stay tuned each weekend for our photo tours from Friday-night episodes of Treehouse Masters.

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To the trees!