DIY Indoor Doghouse

by Michelle Considine

We don’t keep the cabin warm at night, and our lovely dog, Lucy (RIP July 2020), needed a shelter to stay warm while sleeping.  We located this doghouse in the kitchen since there was no other space available, and more counter space in the kitchen couldn’t hurt!

After conceiving of the idea of the doghouse/kitchen counter, I went to Resource Central for the supplies.  Though I might have gone to Resource Central envisioning a more uniform selection of wood, that’s not what was available that day.  Instead of prolonging the hunt for supplies, I went with it and took home boards of various shapes, sizes, and degrees of weathering. Some things are meant to be; we love the calico look of The Hausico (named by our Hungarian exchange student —The Little House.)  

Lucy enjoyed spending time in the Hausico day and night.  Hugo, our five-year-old, doesn’t sleep in The Hausico but he agreed to pose for some photos upon payment of cheese. Notice that in one photo, Hugo demonstrates the egress possibilities of the window.  (Lucy was too tall to take advantage of that.)  In case you’re wondering, Hugo sleeps in bed with humans.  He’s mastered blanket technology. For Lucy, we kept a big square pillow in the bottom. In fact, the dimensions of the little house were determined by that pillow!  This was built from the bottom up.

Supplies Here’s what you’ll need to get started.

  • Wood, of course. Pre-measure the space that you’re intending to use for your kitchen doghouse.  It is helpful to calculate the number of linear feet of boards you will need.  Take a tape measure to Resource Central when you go.
  • Resource Central will more than likely have screws. Tip: Take a bag, can, or little tub with you so that you have somewhere to put the screws!
  • Hooks for towels, bags, or your hot pads? Look for these at Resource Central.
  • Stain? Paint? Clear polyurethane? Try to get these from Boulder County’s Hazardous Materials Facility. Supplies are free if you’re a Boulder County resident.
  • Curtains? Try to find fabric that suits your needs from Art Parts or a thrift store.
  • Look at thrift stores for a blanket or pillow for your dog to nestle upon!

Instructions Let the building begin!

  • First, build the square base. Pre-drilling the holes through the boards reduces the risk of the wood splitting.  You typically don’t need to pre-drill the boards that the tips of the screws will reside in, just the ones that the screws go all the way through.
  • Attach the vertical boards by screwing them into the base from the inside. Notice in one of the photos that one of my boards was too short so I held it up to the correct height before screwing.
  • Attach the trim along the outside of the top and the outside of the window.
  • Attach the planks on the top. (The countertop.)
  • On the top surface, I sanded the wood, and then used a Minwax stain, color “Fruitwood”. Later, I added two coats of clear, satin polyurethane making them waterproof and wipeable.  Sometimes you can obtain stain and polyurethane from Boulder County’s Hazardous Materials Facility. Supplies are free if you’re a Boulder County resident.
  • The curtains served to hold in a little heat for Lucy. Though this is hardly a sophisticated solution, I stapled the curtains from the inside. I recommend looking for fabric for the curtains at Boulder’s Art Parts or a thrift store. I will probably need to un-staple this fabric at some point to clean it.  At that point, I will come up with a different method of attaching it so that I can clean it more regularly.
  • A nice feature of the doghouse is that it’s portable so we can pick it up to vacuum on occasion.
  • I added a hook on the side for our tote bags for groceries and everything else. Resource Central most often has hooks available. Art Parts certainly has fabric for making tote bags like the ones in the photos.

Michelle Considine, long time enthusiast of Boulder’s Resource Central and, more recently, Art Parts, volunteers for these organizations with the intention of promoting reuse and creativity.  Aside from being an environmentalist and upcycling artist of many mediums, Michelle privately tutors high school math and physics in the Boulder area as well as online, hikes year-round, and loves time with her family and friends.