In the U.S., 68% of households included at least one pet in 2012, up from 62% in 2010 according to American Pet Products Association. Spending is also hitting highs with $53.33 billion spent on pets in 2012, up from $41.2 billion five years prior.
As a result homeowners are turning to architects, builders and interior designers to help them add special spaces and rooms for their pets. This includes everything from dog spas and grooming centers to pet-size furniture. Many of these design-conscious pet-owners want to integrate their pet spaces and items to flow with the design aesthetics of the house. Thus pet built-ins and cabinetry that blend with the rest of the home are being widely adopted.
Designer Melanie Charlton is working on an eating and dressing station for a client with two small dogs. There will be a room to hold the dogs’ coats and leashes, and offer a changing-table-height surface for dressing them. Charlton adds that, “Over the past five years we’ve really seen a jump in the level of cabinetry in certain rooms that the dogs live in”.
Condominium and apartment developers are also adding amenities for pets when constructing new buildings. A condo complex under construction in Coconut Grove, Florida, that is across the street from a 12-acre park found out through focus groups that many prospective buyers are pet-owners. As a result they dedicated a section of the building to include a dog spa with a shower and a separate platform for pet grooming.
A challenge that pet-owners face can be whether or no the pet will like the space they had custom built for it. Homeowner Beth Wright, didn’t want to clutter her newly remodeled house with a bulky dog crate, so she designed a cabinet/alcove for her dog. She even took the dog shopping with her to help pick out the cabinetry. In case the dog rejected the space, she thought it could be used as a storage area, but luckily the dog ended up loving it.
In the end, to many, accommodating space in their house for pets is not much different than designing a house with kids in mind.
Photo: GJW Titmuss