Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The $100 dog room...

Bare with me now...this one is long!

We will celebrate our 1 year anniversary in the new house on October 22nd. We have spent the past year trying to make it ours. We've painted, purchased some new pieces, got rid of some old pieces, rearranged all of the pieces, re-worked items and slowly but surely have transformed the place from a new house to our home. It's truly been wonderful.

One of the biggest dilemmas after we moved in was deciding where our dogs would go. At the time, it was just Kenzie (black lab) and Katie (blue lacy). Having flagstone floors throughout the majority of the downstairs didn't worry me. However, their paws on the wood floors throughout the rest of the house made me cringe. Josh and I agreed that the girls could not have free reign of the place like the old house and would need to find a spot in the house to call their own.

At first they moved into the laundry room. However, all of the black lab hair on my white shirts wasn't all that attractive. We wrestled with what to do. Although there are some dogs that can sleep outside, due to my psychotic love of dogs, ours cannot. They simply cannot. It's true. Just ask them (please don't ask Josh though).

Josh asked me to indulge him in the idea of converting a huge walk-in closet that is under our stairs and directly beside our back door into a dog room. I was leery and hated the idea of losing the added storage. But after examining it and slipping on Katie's slobber from the water bowl while ironing one of my hair covered white shirts, it all became clear.

It was the perfect spot.

The closet would need a little conversion, but it was something that could be done AND it was another opportunity to decorate (this is when you need to disregard the fact that one of the guest rooms doesn't have sheets or lamps and that we still have the same lamps from college in our bedroom at this time).

The dog room was urgent. This was the next project that needed to be started. A special room just for our girls.

Now, because I truly did want new lamps for my bedroom and I knew that our guests would need light and sheets eventually, I put myself on a very strict $100 budget for the room. It kind of made it a challenge which was fun.

So, here's what I did...

We took the wooden door off of the closet because there was no way that Katie would be able to stay in her new casa without being able to see out. Ventilation into the room would be key for a hot black lab too. I tried a doggy gate for awhile but Katie, the too-smart-for-her-own-good blue lacy, figured out how to open and close that at her leisure. Something with a lock was required.

So, I started with a $34.00 screen door from Home Depot.
I knew it was way too tall for the doorway (it's a mini door because it's under the stairs). So, Josh happily chopped it in half. We then cut the screen and stapled it to the back of the frame. I primed and painted the base of the door.

Since I knew the door would be banged around and beat up over time, I went ahead and distressed it intentionally. I, personally, like distressed pieces a lot. So, this was perfect! I used a simple distressing technique of applying wax directly to the wood where you wanted the base layer of paint to show through. I had white paint leftover from the laundry room and black paint leftover from the guest bathroom. I just used an unscented white candle and rubbed the base of the door in various places. I then painted it black. You could see the areas where the white was coming through so I used a paper towel and wiped off the excess black paint that would not soak into the wood due to the candle wax.

I used a little bit of sandpaper once it all dried to beat it up even more. I added a handle and hinges that we had leftover from another project and my cute husband installed it for me. He also installed a very necessary $1.50 lock to the inside of it to keep Katie from being able to open the door. The best $1.50 that I've ever spent!

The floor of the room is concrete...perfect for 2 dogs. I added a leopard print straw rug that I had outside to cover up some of the concrete. I can sweep and shop-vac the rug and concrete in 2-3 min. Easy for cleaning up black lab hair!

The large wall that borders most of the 8ft. room was so boring. Katie and Kenzie could not agree on artwork...typical women. So, I decided to have a decal printed by the Etsy shop Visions in Vinyl. The decal was $25.00 (they were running a special) so it fit right into the budget. Heather at Visions in Vinyl created the perfect decal for the room. I received it a few days later and applied it that night.

Applying it was very easy.
Heather threw in some cute paw print decals that I added in the corners of the room.

Since I was sticking with a basic black, white, and khaki theme for the room, I was beyond thrilled when I stopped into Marshall's one day and found two damask dog beds for $19.99 each!

Katie loves her cozy bed. It makes her sleepy!

The final touch added to the room was framed pics of the girls. We had a box of black frames in the attic that weren't being used so a few minutes of assembly and they were put together and hung. Katie loves the photos of herself.

The room came together in a couple of days all under $100.00.

So here's my breakdown:

Screen door $34.00
White and black paint - we already had
Hinges and handle - we already had
One very necessary lock - $1.50
Rug - we already had; just needed a little cleaning
Decal for the wall - $25.00
2 dog beds - $40.00
Pictures and frames - we already had.

Grand total: $100.50 (plus a little bit of tax)

Now our girls are happy and love their own space, our girls are contained, and I can wear white shirts again!

Katie just chilling in her new house.
She actually plays in here and sleeps in here even when we have the gate open.

A definite $100 success!

Addendum to this post: After one week Katie, the too-smart-and-stubborn-for-her-own-good blue lacy, decided to walk through the screen door. Lovely. So, the screen was taken off and chicken wire was added. we thought. Three days later she pealed the chicken wire and metal staples off of the back of the door and set herself free. No, I'm not proud of her success. We then added heavy gauge rabbit wire and metal plates screwed into the back of the door to hold it in place and keep her from pulling it off. It's week 3 and it's holding. Success really can't be used to describe this...all I can say is that we are smarter than our dog for the time being and the $100 budget was blown by rabbit wire and steel plates. Lovely.


  1. Awesome... while reading this my first thought was, "there is no way mesh screen will contain Katie." The addendum brought it all together for me.. Looks great, but I think you should make a little loft in there for the pugs!!

  2. This is so cute and a hilarious post. Love you!