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Custom Homes for Pet Owners: 5 Design Details to Consider

You’ve thought about the heated floors in the en-suite bathroom, the cherry cabinetry in the dressing room, the over-sized kitchen island tilted just so to make the most of your lake view when you’re entertaining. Now it’s time to think about adding a few special touches to make life wonderful for your four-legged family member.

Among the latest trends in custom homes for Kelowna families with pets are elegant, thoughtful places for Bailey or Bella to easily do all the things that you do: eat, sleep, lounge and get clean.

1. DOG SHOWERS

With the mild temperatures of the Okanagan, several months of the year see mud and the other half are so hot that the lake is the only way to cool off. If you have a dog that likes to spend any amount of time outdoors, that could mean tracking all kinds of muck and mire into the house. Unless…

Dog washing stations are becoming an increasingly popular way for dog families to keep paws, floors and furniture clean. We’ve recently done a few dog showers that were incorporated into the mudroom or even the laundry room for easy access to plumbing.

Built specifically for the dog, these showers offer hand-held wands at your height to make it easy to spray down Fido. An elevated floor keeps you from bending over, and the added space creates storage for dog towels and toys.

If you have the budget, it’s worth outfitting the shower with custom tile that won’t scratch and contains a waterproof membrane. If you’re looking for the value option, acrylic flooring would certainly do.

2. BUILT-IN DOG DISHES

Imagine not having one of those round metal dog dishes jutting out from the wall, rattling and tripping you every time the dog noses it one way or the other. It’s actually very simple in the design phase to incorporate an elevated area for built-in food and water dishes that blend with the cabinetry and save space.

For the ultimate in feeding convenience, we can also hook the water dish up to a tap. There are even levers out there that dogs and cats can be trained to use for DIY water refilling!

3. BUILT-IN LITTER BOXES

There are all kinds of jokes out there about how we’re the ones getting walked or being ‘kept’ as we scoop up our pet’s messes. But the fact is, we love our pets and cleaning up after them is just part of having a furry companion. But wouldn’t it be nice if it were just a little more…out of the way?

In the design phase of your custom home, we can talk about adding in a closet with a cat door to the litter box, a tiny special room just for that special activity. If the litter box is going to live in a laundry room, we can also add ventilation to keep the house smelling neutral and the dog out.

4. CUSTOM DOG OR CAT DOORS

Today’s dog or cat doors offer a range of security features to help ensure only Fido or Fifi are coming in. One type of system incorporates an electronic lock so that when your dog’s collar passes through the door, the door locks to keep rodents out.

We’re also seeing a trend toward having dog or cat doors built into the wall rather the door as more and more homes use glass doors or doors made from other expensive materials. It’s also better for tying into insulation.

Whatever the location, it’s always more precise and easier to match your home’s architectural styling when you have your builders work on the dog or cat door for you.

5. SLEEPING NOOKS

The dog gets most of the hatch, half the leftovers and most of your attention every morning and night, so why not give it the stairwell too? Or any other unused area that could be converted into a cat nook or doghouse?

If your dog prefers to sleep under the stars than under his own roof, we love building custom dog houses that mirror the styling and materials of the main house.

OTHER DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS FOR PET-LOVERS

Your pets will spend as much—or more—time as you will in your new home, so we focus on talking about details to accommodate your pets early on. Other features and materials to consider include:

• Vinyl flooring for homes with dogs. Hardwood, however stunning, will get scratched. Modern luxury vinyl is incredibly durable and beautiful—the perfect alternative.

• Semi-gloss paint, much easier for clean-ups in dog areas.

• Exterior needs. Would you like your pet to have a dog run? What does that mean for space and grass? Will you want to include built-in gates that recess to the wall?

We hope we’ve given you some ideas about how everyday life with your dog or cat can be even better with these special home building considerations for pet owners. When you’re looking for a Kelowna designer builder with a reputation for building creative custom homes you’ll love for years to come, talk to Les Bellamy.