If a home is about family, then it should be about every member of the family — including those with fur and four legs.
However, pets are often an afterthought in the home. You only think about your pet dog or cat's needs after the fact, rather than planning for them during design.
That's not how we do things at Raymond Design Builders. We believe in being intentional about every aspect of your home and building a space that accommodates everyone in the household.
As such, we take our time to plan for your pet in a practice known as barkitecture (alternatively meowitecture), and today we're sharing our tips on creating a pet-friendly sophisticated home that man's best friend will love just as much as you do!
How Do I Make My Pet Happy?
Before diving into barkitecture ideas, you must consider your pet's personality. Different cat and dog breeds have varying interests, levels of energy, and needs.
Take a moment to put yourself in your pet's paws. What do they like or dislike? Do they need a large play area and a robust set of toys to be happy? Or are they more of a relaxed, lounge-in-the-sun-all-day type of creature? If they love playing outside, your backyard should be fully outfitted. You may also want an easy way to clean them up if they often come inside covered in dirt.
While you're at it, consider your needs too. What would make living with your four-legged friend more harmonious? For some, it's hiding away the litter box or putting down mats so their dogs don't drip water all over the floor.
We'll discuss these ideas below; just be sure to remember what would make life better for you and your pet.
How Can I Make My Home More Pet-Friendly?
There are tons of ways you can design your home around your pet. Here are some of our favorite ideas!
1. Built-In Feeding Area
Everybody needs somewhere to eat. The humans in your family have the dining table (or, let's be honest, in front of the T.V.), and your pet should have a special dining place too. Depending on your preference, we recommend building a food and water area in your kitchen or mudroom.
You can carve a cubby out of your island or leave a section of cabinetry open for a feeding station. Keep your pet food in storage nearby for easy access. You can even add a small faucet to make filling the water bowl a breeze!
Some homeowners build their feeding stations into drawers that they can quickly close and put out of sight. However, we DON'T recommend this option because it makes it difficult for your pet to access food and water whenever they need it.
2. Private Sleeping Spot
Who doesn't need a little quiet time once in a while? Even if your pet prefers to snuggle with you every night, they'll appreciate having a private sleeping spot all to themselves for those mid-day naps. Cats especially love little nooks and crannies, so they'll adore having a secret location to tuck themselves away. Try placing their sleeping spot in that unused area under the stairs or building it into the wall with a small opening so they can get in and out easily.
3. Sophisticated Cat & Doggie Doors
If you have an indoor-outdoor cat or a dog who loves to play outside, giving them unfettered access to the outside will make their day! But a traditional dog door or cat flap can ruin the look of your entrance and exit. Instead, work with your builder or remodeler to create a sleek, built-in pet entrance that leads to the outside. Be sure to give yourself a way to close it (perhaps with a built-in sliding door), so you can restrict your pet's comings and goings if needed.
4. Creative Cat Courses & Catios
Cats are curious creatures (says that five times fast). They love exploring your home, from under the bed to above the kitchen cabinets and everywhere in between. Accommodate this natural tendency by giving your cats places to play. With custom trim, you can create a catwalk where your kitty will feel like a real jungle creature, waiting to pounce on prey from high above. You can use a combination of open shelves or cat trees to continue the effect. Or consider dedicating an entire wall to a cat course with walkways, sitting stations, rope bridges, and a cat wheel.
There are also catios, enclosed outdoor cat stations, where your kitty can enjoy the fresh air while climbing around.
5. Plenty of Play Accessories & Pet-Proofed Yards
If your incessantly barking dog is driving you up a wall, there's a good chance your poor pup is just understimulated. You can fix that by investing in various chew toys, tug ropes, bones, and other dog supplies; the same principle goes for your cats.
Keep your pet's favorite playthings in a basket, box, or built-in cubby near their play area, whether outside, in the living room, or their own play zone. If your furry friend loves going outdoors, ensure your backyard is safe and secure with an appropriately sized fence and no prickly landscaping.
6. Pet Spa
You love your pet, but that doesn't mean you love the dirt and hair they leave all over your home. Tackle this problem with a pet shower or bath (or both!), depending on what your pet prefers. You can create a pet-centric room for this addition or place it in your laundry or mudroom. Keep a shelf or cabinet nearby, so you can quickly grab shampoo, towels, and other bathing essentials. It also helps to install a handheld shower head to make rinsing down simple.
Design for the Entire Family
Not every builder is up to tackling the unique challenges and opportunities barkitecture presents; some might even look at you like you have two heads if you asked them to design around your dog. Good thing we're not every builder.
At Raymond Design-Builders, we create homes that enhance our clients' lifestyles. Every project we take on starts with the needs and wants of our clients; we work backward from there, utilizing our all-inclusive design-build services to construct an environment where you — and your pet — can thrive.
Contact us to learn more about our specialized services and start building your fur-friendly haven today.