Home
Mary Jo Bowling

Mary Jo Bowling is a Houzz contributor, writer, reader, serial remodeler.

Dog's Life: Home & Garden
A Mudroom Dedicated to Muddy Paws and Sleepy Dogs
Muddy paws are no problem in this new multipurpose room

Ken Perrin, owner of Artistic Renovations of Ohio, says he’s being asked more often to make accommodations for the furriest members of the family. “We aren’t asked to do remodels just for dogs and cats,” he says. “But if we are hired to do a remodel, we are often asked to include elements based on the animals.” Case in point: When Perrin was hired to redo the kitchen, dining area and utility room of this Akron, Ohio, home, the owners asked him to include a dog shower in the mix. “They have two dogs, and there’s a large lawn and a creek on their property,” Perrin says. “They were constantly cleaning the dogs’ paws to keep their floors and carpets clean. At some point, they had had enough.”

Room at a Glance
What happens here: The room acts as a laundry, mudroom and dog washing area.
Location: Akron, Ohio
Size: 50 square feet (4½ square meters)
Tip: In a room with heavy traffic where the door is usually open to another room, as with this one, use similar colors and finishes in both so that the two rooms read as one.

In the new room, the washer and dryer, which had been side by side, are stacked, which freed up room for a dog shower. “The shower is designed to do almost everything a utility sink can do, but it can also be used to wash dogs,” Perrin says.

The shower and the bed are the territory of Roxy (pictured) and Bella.

“Both dogs share the bed,” Perrin says. “They seem to like being near the washer when it’s running. I think they like the vibrations.”

Roxy is seen here (she looks bigger in the previous picture, due to the camera angle); her bunkmate, Bella, was out running in the yard when the photo was taken.

“If you have an animal, these kinds of spaces are great to have,” says Perrin. “Anyone who has a dog knows how hard it is to clean their muddy paws. This space makes it easier.”

The homeowner requested that the hand shower be the kind of industrial sprayer restaurants use to quickly wash pots and pans. It’s operated by squeezing a handle that looks a bit like the hand brake on a bicycle. “She wanted to be able to fill and wash out buckets here,” Perrin says. “The problem was that the force of the water was so strong, the dogs didn’t like it.” Perrin and his team solved the problem by drilling more holes in the sprayer head, creating a gentler water stream. Once that happened, tails wagged. “They love getting in it now,” Perrin says. “They jump right up in there.”

The homeowner also requested handrails that were petite, so they would not take over the space. Perrin installed a corner hand rail that doubles as a hanger for the sprayer and a straight rail that hangs a bit higher. “They help steady the homeowners as they are washing the dogs,” he says.

The countertop can serve as a landing spot for items used in the shower or for the laundry. Perrin installed undercabinet lighting so there’s plenty of illumination when needed.

 

By Mary Jo Bowling - See more Home Design Photos

 

BEFORE: The utility room has three doors; one leads outside, one is for coming in from the garage, and one goes into the kitchen. In addition to the coming and going, this is where the laundry gets done. “With dogs running in and out, the grout had gotten really dirty and stained,” Perrin says. “The homeowner had stained the grout a dark color so stains were less noticeable.”

Plus, the washer and dryer took up a lot of real estate.

From the dining area, you can see how the utility room is often on display. Perrin had the dog bed crafted in a fabric similar to the covering on the bench seat around the table.

Tell us: Where do your dogs sleep and get bathed? Share your ideas and pictures in the Comments.

Dog's Life: Home & Garden
Pet-Friendly Design: Making Room for the Dog Dish
In a dog’s life, you eat on the floor. Except in kitchens like these, where pets are factored into the design

When I say there is nothing quite so unpleasant as stepping in a dog’s water dish, I speak from experience (no thanks, Augie). Like a good pet owner, I keep my pup’s water bowl filled with fresh water. It’s located in the kitchen, where I inevitably get busy and distracted and step in the drink. It has happened a lot, which goes to show you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

When I next remodel, I’m going to plan for this condition, using the clever ideas from these fellow pet owners as inspiration.

In this project, by Buckenmeyer Architecture, finding a space for the dog dishes was a key design consideration. “A recess at one end of the island keeps the bowls out of the way,” says Marty Buckenmeyer.

Judging from the gray around his or her muzzle, I’m guessing this sweet dog is a little long in the tooth. I’m sure the elevated bowls are appreciated.

 

Photo by Haddad Hakansson Design Studio - Search traditional kitchen pictures

 

The designers at Haddad Hakansson employed a similar strategy in this kitchen, but they placed the bowls at the end of a cabinet run as opposed to an island. It’s a smart move in a kitchen that has the room. “One of the highlights of this space is the custom dog dishes,” the designers write. They are “inset into a small slab of white quartzite. The cabinet above has a tilt-out tray for dog treats.”

Perhaps the feature helped the space win first place in the 2014 NKBA northern New England kitchen design competition. And, as you can tell by the blur running toward the eating area, it clearly has won the popular canine vote too.

 

Photo by Shannon Ggem ASID - Search eclectic kitchen pictures

 

In this kitchen, by Shannon Ggem, the lucky dog can pretend he or she is eating in the wild, thanks to a dining niche lined with artificial turf.

A closer look reveals the other features. Not only does the space have bowls printed with a grass image, but it has a faucet with an above-counter control. As the designer says: “No bending!”

 

Photo by Studio Zerbey Architecture + Design - More modern kitchen photos

 

With built-in bowls and the same material treatment as the kitchen island, this dog eating area, by Studio Zerbey Architecture + Design, is almost undercover.

 

Ideas for storing all of your pet’s stuff

Photo by Plain & Fancy by Dandamudi's - More contemporary kitchen photos

 

This niche, by Plain & Fancy by Dandamudi’s, is outfitted with a pullout drawer and an easy-to-clean stone surface.

 

Photo by Kathleen Donohue, Neil Kelly Co. - Browse traditional kitchen photos

 

Some smart and space-endowed homeowners take the dog dishes farther from the kitchen triangle. In this project, by Kathleen Donohue, Neil Kelly, the eating area is under the command center.

 

Photo by Anthony Wilder Design/Build, Inc. - More transitional hallway ideas

 

Anthony Wilder Design/Build, Inc. In this project, by Anthony Wilder Design/Build, an eating and storage area for the dog is tucked into the end of a wall. Below are the bowls; above are dog accessories and treats.

 

Photo by Dreamstructure DesignBuild - Discover traditional entryway design inspiration

 

This mudroom, by Dreamstructure DesignBuild, is outfitted for everyone — four-legged and two. Due to the recessed and elevated nature of the bowls, you’d be unlikely to step in them — but if you did, you might be wearing your boots.

More: A Romp Through Pet-Friendly Materials

Tell us: Have you accommodated your pet in a remodel? Tell us about it and post your photos in the Comments section below.