Painting Our Cabin Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron

We recently painted our sauna cabin with Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron and a beautiful brown tinted stain from Valspar. We love the outcome, making our already cozy cabin even cozier!

Last fall, we bought a 12′ x 24′ pre-fab building in which to build our authentic Finnish sauna, and to one day create a small guest area and pool changing room.

Daniel has always had a dream of building a sauna with a wood stove, and initially planned to build the structure from scratch. He had just finished our DIY pool deck and I was like- “that’s an: absolutely not.” No way was I interested in him moving from one enormous project to the next!

To save our marriage, we compromised by purchasing the shell for the sauna, and then he built the sauna in the inside, using less than 1/3 of the building.

The building essentially was a shell with windows, a door, porch, and basic electrical. Daniel added two walls in the interior to create a 8’x 7.5′ room, and built a really awesome sauna with a wood stove inside.

Although we have been using the sauna since December, we haven’t quite finished every little detail. I can’t wait to blog about that process once its completed- Daniel did an amazing job and we have gotten so much use out of it!

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This was the building right after it was delivered

The exterior:

The interior:

I loved the look of the front porch and even liked the natural wood. However, over the winter, the boards became weathered and looked really grey.

Here is a picture of how it looked after a few months thanks to rain, humidity and sun damage.

Weathered sauna exterior after a few months of the elements.

We couldn’t let it continue as-is (it clearly needed to be weatherized) so we decided to paint it. Actually, we decided to stain it, but we’ll get to that.

Prepping The Cabin For Paint

Because the exterior was so weathered, we had to clean it up before we could stain/paint the siding.

Daniel took a solution of bleach and water in a backpack sprayer, and sprayed the outside walls.

Look at the immediate difference!

The Stain: Valspar Canyon Brown

As I mentioned, we initially thought we would stain the entire cabin. We agonized over colors, trying out so many samples of exterior stains. We finally settled on Valspar Canyon Brown from Lowes. In the sample we tried on a board, it looked like a true brown; what we were going for.

The stain on the cabin

Daniel applied the stain to the front; columns, ceiling, some of the trim, and part of the siding. After a few days, we determined it really wasn’t what we were going for.

The stain was just a bit too red. It was not an exact match with the raised garden beds we have right next to it, and it also didn’t look quite right with the color of our pool deck or the siding of our house.

If you’ve ever stained something this large, you know it is a LOT of work. So, it felt a bit harsh to admit that we needed to go a different direction.

However, it all worked out in the end, because we decided to keep the porch ceiling, columns, and some of the trim as-is- and we LOVE how it looks with the paint we eventually chose!

Stained ceiling of our sauna cabin.

The Paint: Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron

We decided to go with Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron for the siding paint color because it is a lovely soft shade of black and not at all harsh, like some of the other shades we sampled.

Wrought Iron has navy undertones and a really pretty depth to it. The building is mostly in the sun with very little shade, so we needed a black that wouldn’t look too stark and one-note.

Here’s a comparison between Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron and Tricorn Black, which is a true black.

Peep the sauna door inside!

In some lights, Wrought Iron looks grey or blueish.

I bought my paint at Sherwin Williams and they color matched perfectly. I like the Duration Exterior coverage- we’ve used it on both our home siding and our detached garage.

We painted this cabin black in the middle of summer in Georgia because we are stupid that was the time that worked for us, and it was HOT. Overall, it took a few days and four cans of paint and one can of stain. And a LOT of H2O and questioning why we do outdoor projects in the summer in the south.

Side note: we added a product to the paint that helps with insect repellent. We only added it to the low-traffic areas, places where our kids won’t come in contact with the stuff. We have more bugs and spiders than should be legally allowed here in Georgia, so this was a step we figured would be worth it. We’ve already had problems with carpenter bees and other bugs enjoying the cabin a little too much. You can find the product here.

So. Blasted. Hot.

We finally finished it after two coats, and in some places, three. We love the combination of the brown/red stain with the dark black/grey of the paint. It worked out great, despite it not being our original plan!

Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron
Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron
Sauna Front Porch

Questions You May Have

Why would you paint an exterior such a dark color when you live in the south?

Great question. Because its great, and we have modern things like insulation and air conditioning. And its not always hot in the south, 75% of the time, its quite pleasant.

What is an authentic Finnish Sauna?

Saunas (sow-nas) are super popular in Scandinavia, and Daniel and I are both of Finnish (and in my case, Norwegien) descent. We both grew up taking saunas, and “Sauna Nights” are a very common thing in our culture. According to Sauna From Finland, “A typical Finnish sauna is a wooden room or a separate building with wooden benches inside placed on different levels.” We chose to use a wood stove so as not to rely on electricity and keep it old-school. 

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