Since 2018, prefab builder Aux Box has carved itself a little niche with its tiny backyard prefabs. The British Columbia company’s yoga studios, offices, and compact living spaces can be craned into place, allowing property owners to add square footage affordably and in turnkey fashion.
Now, Aux Box has taken to the water at the Tofino Resort & Marina on the west coast of Vancouver Island, where it just unveiled a wood-fired floating sauna that a group of four can book for the day.
A half-hour boat ride through the UNESCO-protected Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve delivers you to the cedar-clad prefab, where you can enjoy a steam, plunge in the icy Pacific, or relax in a hammock before an afternoon of kayaking, paddle boarding, or fishing.
To create the sauna, Aux Box modified one of its existing models, an 86-square-foot design with a covered deck and metal exterior cladding. Cedar was used throughout the interiors, from the floors, walls, and ceilings, and for the entryway and door. A large picture window, which was moved from the front to the back wall, gives guests a big, scenic view while they steam.
Building for the water wasn’t without its challenges. "From a high level, there were a lot of unknowns," says Aux Box cofounder Landon Sheck. "Any time we get into a custom project we have to be thoughtful." Effectively sealing the space, for example, was critical given the extreme West Coast climate. One precaution is the triple-pane window, which optimizes insulation while reducing condensation and fogging. "We doubled up on every layer of protection that we could," Sheck says.
The Aux Box model was modified in a few more ways. Additions include a rainwater catchment and storage space, and an enlarged deck with an intimate seating area and a coupling of floating hammocks suspended over the water.
Set in the pristine environs of the Pacific Northwest, the sauna promises visitors an immersive experience. Here, there is no cell service, and no Wi-Fi. "It’s serene," says Sheck. "You’re definitely by yourself out there."
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