You’ve widened hallways for grandma and adapted basements for boomerang kids, but have you designed for the dog? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pets fuel a $61.4 billion industry in which homeowners spend almost three times as much as renters. This dog bath in the 2013 New American Home—co-sponsored by BUILDER and the NAHB—was designed with pet lovers in mind.
Essentially a miniature shower, the piece also functions as an oversized laundry sink, says Michael Gardner, a principal at Las Vegas design/build firm Blue Heron. “We try not to have a particular room only be one thing all the time,” he adds. “By mixing functional elements, we’re forcing people to use spaces more than they already would.”
Affectionately called the “doggy bath,” the feature gives the room a double life, complete with storage for dog food, toys, and a bed. Quartz surfacing runs from the countertop down to flank the bath, which is built with a steel frame integrated into the cabinets. The backsplash extends up the wall, providing a focal point and durability.
There currently are more pet pooches in the world than babies, but beyond the occasional doggy door, home design has rarely accounted for man’s best friend. As Gardner sees it, designing around dogs recognizes the importance of the animals in family life. And with 37 percent of U.S. households having a dog, there’s a wide audience for canine-friendly design.