A custom home allows you to create a space that is tailored to the needs of you and your family.

For many of us that includes members of the four legged variety.  Our pets are an essential part of our household and with a little creativity their needs can be considered in the design.

photos from “Better Homes and Gardens”

These first two photos show clever ways different spaces can be created to meet your pet’s need for security.  Smaller animals gravitate to spaces in which they can feel secure against such predators as the vacuum cleaner or have places to hide their toys.

You also spend a large portion of your budget on the look and ambiance of your kitchen and a large bag of dog food does nothing for the decor. Likewise there is nothing quite like walking into your kitchen at night and ending up with one foot in the dog’s water dish.  Planning for the pet’s needs and tying them into the kitchen design will address both form and function.  If your animal is older a raised dish system may be easier to access.

Your lifestyle helps dictate the design of your home. The same can be considered for your individual pets.  Do they tend to live on your couches? The fabric choices should be stain resistant and washable.  Do they like to perch higher up? Maybe design some platform spaces from which they can monitor the flow of toddlers, sunbeams and their loyal subjects.  Whatever their personalities one area that is important in any design choices is the flooring.

Leanne Potts, writer for HGTV wrote:

“Bare floors are the way to go, but bare doesn’t have to be boring.  Painted concrete is lovely and durable, as are terrazzo and brick.  Hardwood floors are simple to mop or vacuum and add a warm glow to a room, but keep in mind that large dogs can scratch wood.” (If you love hardwood then talk to us about the best type for your pets.)

“The best floor is ceramic tile,  because it’s easy to clean and resistant to any stain an animal can dish out.  Tile is toenail-proof, it makes a room look sleek and elegant, and it gives furry animals a cool place to nap during hot weather.  Porous materials like marble or other natural stones aren’t as pet-proof as other hard surfaces, since acids present in pet spit-up can stain them, even if they’re sealed. (Quoting designer Nan Ruvel).

When it comes to carpets Nan’s advice is to avoid wall to wall carpeting as it absorbs odors, traps pet hair and soaks of pet stains like a sponge.  She said if you do decide on carpet choose a low pile as it is easier to clean if there’s an accident and avoid continuous loop carpet because a pet toenail can unravel it.”  (http://www.hgtv.com/design/packages/pet-friendly-design)  There is also the consideration of the older pet who might benefit from radiant heating on a tiled surface to keep warm in the winter and also to ease aging bones and joints.

For some pet owners space is set aside for a pet area that transitions them from the outside to the living space.  It may have a dog shower or tub and separate storage for food, treats, leashes and grooming supplies.  It can be a room on its own or combined with a mudroom.  It might be separated from the rest of the home with a door or a gate.  Some doors are half doors and can be solid or transparent.  The style is completely up to you and needs to factor in whether you are bathing a 1oo lb. dog or a 9 lb. dog.  You cat will probably have very strong opinions about any attempts to bath her/him.

It is also important for an animal to have a space that is theirs.  According to dog trainer Kathy Santo dogs need a designated sleep space.

Cynthia Ramnarace of Bobvila.com wrote:

” If a pet bed or crate is not in your design plans there is the option of remodeling a closet into a pet room.  You can install a pet door into the closet door for easy access, or simply remove the door altogether. The bed can be placed inside, as well as food and water bowls. These can be as simple or luxurious as you’d like. New York City-based pet expert Charlotte Reed, owner of Two Dogs and a Goat pet care service, says she has worked on rooms outfitted with grooming tables, bathtubs, and a television for the pet’s favorite programs. “The new trend is to create something opulent,” Reed says. “Some rooms have a real bed that is low to the ground, with comfortable pillows. In one house there was a closet with all of the dog’s clothing.” “

Cynthia also comments on the not so delicate issue of the litter box.

‘Giving cats a private place to do their business is more about the owner’s comfort than the pet’s, Reed says. But because dogs love to nose around in the litter box, concealment is a priority if you have both cats and dogs.

There are many creative solutions to this problem. One recent trend is installing hidden litter box spots in cabinetry, such as built-in sofas or entertainment units, with hideaway entry points too small for dogs to access. Reed recommends adding a sensor-operated light that goes on when the cat enters. Also, if you have a cat that sprays, make sure to line the space with plastic or linoleum for easy disinfecting. This same approach can be used with small dogs and puppies that use training pads, Reed says.

If you have a dog that lets himself out of the house when nature calls, consider upgrading your pet door. New models, such as Pet Safe’s Extreme Weather Pet Door, have an insulated flap that can withstand 40-mile-per-hour winds. And a pet door doesn’t need to be installed in a door. In fact, one of Pet Safe’s bestsellers is a through-the-wall entry door. It’s a self-framing, do-it-yourself project that is especially appealing to people with glass doors.

And if critters or other intruders are your concern, there are pet doors that come with “keys” installed on the pet’s collar that automatically unlock the door when the pet approaches.’ http://www.bobvila.com/articles/369-how-to-create-a-pet-friendly-home/#.VUcmCyiOXOE

In designing your home who also spend a good deal of time creating the landscaping.  Remember to make sure your chosen materials are pet friendly and think about whether you want a fenced area for your animals or might prefer an electric fence.  These can come either through in-ground wiring or a portable wireless system.

There are many choices that can be made to accommodate all the members of your family when you choose to build a custom home.

At Wescraft we’d love the opportunity to make your dreams a reality.  Contact us if you’d like to discuss the possibilities.