I often say that I wish I could live the life of my dog. She is spoiled. She wants for nothing. Except for maybe a custom doghouse doghome. Creatively called “Barkitecture”, there are many clever doghouse designs out there, there is even a book by the same name published in 1999 by Fred Albert. As a design + construct professional, I see the design possibilities in this genre are endless. Just a few moments perusing the Internet yields a dizzying variety of barkitecture homes, and of Barkitecture events. Many communities have doghouse design competitions as fundraisers for their local shelters. Austin, TX’s Barkitecture competition is in its 14th year. Pittsburgh, Richmond and Norfolk, VA, San Antonio all hold similar events.
There is designing houses for dogs and then there is designing houses for people with dogs. And of course, there is designing for both! For one of our clients we have designed a dog playpen in a section of the laundry room. The room has pretty wallpaper and fancy gates. It is an attractive way to allow the dogs their own space and to keep them contained.
One of our other remodels has incorporated a dog wash station in the mud room. This is a small raised bathtub and shower wand that makes cleaning off a pup less traumatic and more efficient for both pup and owner. And for all the furkid’s gear and accessories, we have designed built-in cabinetry with drawers, hooks and bins close to a side or front door to hold leashes, collars, poop bags, and treats.
We have designed outdoor spaces where dogs have the room to chase balls and frisbees and also feel safe and protected from visiting critters. For one client we enclosed the front yard with a fence that is just the right height to keep the dog in the yard while also giving him a view of the world beyond.
People who live with dogs should consider choosing flooring, furniture and fixtures that are resilient to the wear and tear that can be caused by canines. Porcelain or hardwood floors are less likely to show scratch marks than softer woods. Leather upholstery is surprisingly sturdy, but will show scratches. Upholstery that is stain resistant, or better yet, with removable and washable cushion covers, is ideal.
For all the spoiling that we do, it actually doesn’t take much to make our pups happy. A strip of sunlight on the floor to stretch out in, fresh food and water, boops on the nose and attention from us is enough.