This Pet-Friendly Mudroom Will Make You Swoon With Envy
Hey, dog moms and dads, we bet you make sure your precious pup gets the best of everything—from premium dog treats to the comfiest dog bed on the market. Take your puppy love one step further by integrating your dog's needs into that most practical of spaces: the utility room.
"Dogs want to be with their humans," says Courtney Thomas, ASID, principal of Courtney Thomas Design. "And dog owners spend so much time at home with their pups that they're investing in [beautiful spaces to enjoy together]. That's why we're incorporating dog-friendly features into a room so as not to be noticeable."
Case in point: The utility room with dog spa that Thomas designed for the Pasadena Showcase. Every detail of this 10x12-foot space makes life easier and more enjoyable for the pets—and people—who use it. The gorgeous materials and stylish color scheme help this room blend into the rest of the home and announce to the world that "We treat our dog like a member of the family."
"Plus, I designed this room to be a retreat amidst chaos with kids," Thomas says. "I love the idea that a utilitarian space can offer a respite that helps people better focus on their family."
Here are some lessons you can take away from this mudroom and incorporate in your own dog-friendly spaces.
Make It a Place You and Your Pet Will Enjoy
A mudroom might be the first thing you see when you arrive home from work or a dog walk. Just because it's a practical space, doesn't mean it has to lack personality. "Combine beauty with function to create a space that invites lingering," Thomas says.
The designer used color and texture to make this room feel welcoming despite its practical nature. Blue-gray upper cabinets are paired with whitewashed oak base cabinets. Concrete floor tiles add a graceful arabesque pattern in blues and grays. Open cabinets display collectibles and artwork. A 7-foot-long window seat makes a sunny perch for talking on the phone—or for your dog to keep watch over the neighborhood.
The overall effect is a room that's a delight to come home to and to spend time in.
Include Easy-to-Clean Surfaces
Muddy paw prints, hair, leaves, grass, and plain old dirt: sooner or later, they'll show up in a room that people share with pets. Especially rooms that lead directly into the house from the garage—as this one does. Make your life easier by choosing durable, water-resistant surfaces to cover your walls, floors, and cabinets.
In this room, marble-look quartz counters, patterned concrete floor tiles, hand-made porcelain wall tiles, and a concrete sink hold up to everything from wet pups to potted plants. The slick, nonporous surfaces prevent fur, dirt, and potty accidents from settling into the cracks. And when your wet dog gives one of those full-body shakes that flings water everywhere? Subtly striped washable wallpaper can be wiped clean without damaging its surface.
"Dogs are not known for treating things delicately," Thomas says. "Nor are children. That's why you want surfaces that are easy to take care of … one less thing in your home to worry about maintaining."
Streamline Grooming With a Dog Bathing Zone
Why add a pet bathing area to your mudroom? "You can address your dog's dirty paws or stinky fur here before going into the rest of the home," Thomas says.
This pet bath (which is lined in handmade Japanese tiles) features an 18-inch-high, 10-inch-wide ledge for pet parents to sit on while bathing their dog. Inside the surround, the base of the shower is raised to 12 inches higher than the floor, and a hand-held thermostatic sprayer simplifies the washing-and-rinsing process.
"The ledge puts the owner side-by-side with their dog, giving them control over a pooch who may not love the idea of water," Thomas says. "And the handheld sprayer is ideal for dogs that won't stand still; you can move the hose around the dog instead of moving the dog."
Don't forget to add wall-mounted hooks that will keep items used every day—like towels and leashes—easily accessible.
Amp Up Functionality With a Sink Station
Even if your mudroom includes a dog shower, there are lots of practical reasons to add a nice deep sink too. It may come in handy for spot-cleaning your pet—like if he just has dirty paws and you're not planning to do a full bath. It's also great for laundry, like handwashing your pup's favorite sweater or for soaking a grimy leash or harness. Note how this basin has a gooseneck faucet, which leaves plenty of room for cleaning large items like a pet bed or travel crate.
"I was drawn to the concrete sink for earthy, textural reasons," Thomas says. And she says she specified a wide-open apron-front sink—that sits a little lower than normal counter height—to let humans scooch in closer while bathing and rinsing a pet.
Storage-wise, the quartz-lined open sink base keeps dog bowls from becoming tripping hazards. Small drawers, cubbies, and lightweight baskets keep mess at a minimum. A pullout cabinet to the left of the sink holds trash.
And don't forget the tech connection: Artwork in the bottom cubby next to this sink hides two USB ports that can be used for charging and connecting your pet-related technology.
Cut Clutter With Thoughtful Storage
When pets and people share a room, it's easy to accumulate clutter. So treat your pet-friendly room like it's a kitchen by stowing items close to point of use. For example, keep towels and dog shampoo by the pet bath. Store heavy objects (like bags of dog food) close to the floor and smaller, lighter things (like flea and tick treatments) up high.
In this utility room, ceiling-high upper cabinets, cubbies, small drawers, and lightweight baskets contain objects that might otherwise end up on the floor. It's especially important to be able to store household hazards safely out of reach from your curious canine (or feline). Base cabinets and the window seat's four large drawers are great for pet gear like toys and grooming tools.
"I love using drawers for storage," Thomas says. "You get to look down at everything rather than trying to peer into a cabinet."
Add a Cozy Canine Cave
Dog parents know that pooches need a safe space to recover from overly energetic little kids and hide from thunder and fireworks. Sure, you could just set up a wire crate in your mudroom, but integrating a custom kennel into cabinetry flows with the space and feels purposeful, Thomas says.
Thomas's showcase kennel design was based on counter-height clearance suitable for a medium or small dog. "If you're doing a utility room with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, you can adjust the kennel size for a larger breed," she says.
The decorative grid on the door (which matches upper cabinets) keeps the kennel breathable and lets your pet watch the action while she stays safe. Placing this sleeping spot next to the laundry might also help you block out anxiety-inducing noises by running the washer or dryer.
If your four-legged family member is a cat rather than a dog, you can use a similar undercounter set-up to house the litterbox.
With amenities like these, your pet will truly feel that his home is his castle.