In the Doghouse: How to Create a Cosy Space for Your Dog
See how people are making special spaces for their beloved pups with cosy built-in crates.
EVEN though your dog’s crate training days are over, you may have found that he or she still loves to snuggle up in the cosy security of the bed. Alas, what was supposed to be a temporary eyesore has become a permanent fixture and you’re in need of a more stylish long-term solution. Luckily, cabinetmakers, furniture makers and designers have responded, coming up with all sorts of clever ideas.
Beneath a laundry bench
These lovely cabinets coordinate with other cabinetry used in this home and provide three separate kennels for the furry siblings.
Style note: This is a dedicated doggy area. With three pups, there’s a lot to keep organised. Note that each dog has a labelled basket overhead, there’s a portrait and a jar of treats, and there’s plenty of room to store leashes, toys, winter coats and other dog supplies in the upper cabinets.
Built into a wall These designers created a crate in a hallway space. They were able to gain space for the recessed area from an existing cupboard.
Style note: Check out the way the millwork creates a playful doghouse-shaped silhouette.
In the mudroom
Organisational built-ins in the mudroom are a hot item on homeowner must-have lists these days, and it’s fairly simple to add a dog crate into the scheme.
Style note: This crate fits into a wall of built-in shelves, but small to medium-sized dogs could be crated beneath a built-in bench. Your dog’s crate should be big enough for him or her to stand up and turn around in.
Style note: When exploring metal mesh and grilles, make sure they’re strong enough to hold your pup. Interior designer Stephanie Lalley designed these doors with custom metal mesh inserts for Lucky’s crate-bed. “They are strong enough for puppy paws,” she says.
Lucky also has some favourite things in the crate with him. In addition to a comfy bed, place some favourite toys or a piece of your clothing to give your pet comfort.
Under the stairs
These spaces, which often go to waste, are roomy yet cosy enough to give a dog crate-like security.
Style note: Note how this custom door matches the staircase’s slant and has an attractive grille rather than a more utilitarian-looking wire mesh.
In the kitchen
This clever setup lets the dogs hunker down for a nap in a favourite room. Built under a bench, it fits in with ease.
Style note: Designer Betsy Bassett recommended that her clients create the dog den by using base cabinets that matched the rest of the cabinetry in the kitchen. That way they can easily switch out the wire mesh for cabinet doors if they ever want to.
In the living room
More and more dog owners are using crate training these days, and that’s led to lots of furniture-like crate options out there.
Style note: These kinds of side-table dog crates are now available in different woods, stains and paint colours to let you fit them into your decor.
Style note: With new pieces on the market, it’s easier than ever to camouflage a crate in plain sight. This double dog kennel has the look of a farmhouse-style media console.
This beautiful bench has a cosy dog space beneath it and integrates into the room seamlessly.
Style note: The metal laser-cut mesh on the doors provides ventilation as well as chicness.
These wooden doors blend with the traditional millwork in this home. This idea also would work in the base cabinetry of a built-in bookcase.
Style note: The wrought iron latches also fit with the style of the home.
Style note: If you have a perfectly good dog kennel and find it silly to go out and buy a piece of crate furniture, you can adapt your crate to multitask. Cut a piece of wood to go on top of the crate and cover it with a textile. Just be sure that if you put a breakable item such as a lamp on top that it will stay in place when your dog is moving around in the crate. Here, the crates’ placement between the sofa and the walls keeps the items on top secure.
In the bedroom
If your pup likes to sleep in the same room as you and likes the security of a crate, a custom piece can keep your space from looking like a doggy day care.
Style note: If you have a larger dog, you may need a depth that’s deeper than a typical base cabinet. Again, make sure the space is big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in. Your dog’s comfort and well-being are always more important than style.
Dog wellness notes
Becky Harris the Houzz contributor didn’t feel right writing this story without including a few cautionary tips from the Humane Society about crate training.
Never put your dog in its crate as a punishment. Your dog will learn to fear it and refuse to go in.
Limit the amount of time you keep your dog in its crate. A dog that’s crated all day and night doesn’t get enough exercise or human interaction and can become depressed or anxious. Consider changing your schedule, hiring a pet sitter or taking your dog to a day-care facility to reduce crate time.
Puppies under six months of age shouldn’t be kept in a crate for more than three or four hours at a stretch. They can’t control their bladders and bowels longer than that. The same goes for adult dogs being house-trained. An older dog can hold it but doesn’t know it should.
Crate your dogs only until you can trust them not to destroy the house. After that, it should be a place they go to voluntarily.