By popular demand, here is a deep dive into the details of the crazy dog den that lives under our bookcase.
Wow, you guys. First of all, I am so happy to share that this room was featured on Apartment Therapy earlier this week! Pinch me. The write-up was so good, and there was a lot of interest expressed in the comments to see more of the dog den.
Ask and ye shall receive! I’m presenting the keys to the kingdom…
The Search For The Perfect Dog Bed
Let’s back up a bit. We got two puppies less than a month after we moved in. Not our smartest move ever, but we were acting with our hearts, not our heads. They have proven to be a giant handful: rather destructive (RIP vintage runner) and all-around pains in the butt. But they are also very sweet and part of the family so oh well.
That aside, they needed a place to sleep and call their own. We have a big fenced-in yard so getting a dog door was a no-brainer. The head-scratcher was finding a spot for the door that:
- was somewhat inconspicuous, and
- led to the front porch.
The side and the back of the house have a steep drop-off, so the door could only go in the front. At first, we thought the powder room might work, but what if somebody was using it and there was a dog frantically scratching at the door? Sounds… relaxing.
Also, these maniacs quickly proved that they needed to be crated if nobody was watching them so they somehow needed access to the door from the crate. Hmmm.
We left the issue for a bit since I work from home and could bring them out as needed but we quickly grew sick of having a random dog crate in the middle of an empty room.
And one day…
The Perfect Dog Bed Appears In A Vision
That’s a lie. I thought of it in the shower, ha.
We were planning to do a built-in in the empty crate room anyway, so what if we built around a secret dog den?
The plan was already to make the center cabinet a crate, so why not make the cabinets to the right false fronts that concealed a tunnel that led to a dog door?
We grew excited… this could work! And isn’t it every kid’s dream to have a bookcase with a secret tunnel behind it? Just me?
I sketched up the overall idea and showed it to our woodworker, Nick Sousa of NS Woodworking, and he was on board.
Before we get to the good stuff, I want you to be aware that I sometimes use affiliate links in my posts. I may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase through those links but it is never at any additional cost to you and I only recommend products I would use in my own home. Thanks for supporting Bloom in the Black!
He installed the dog door ASAP, then a couple months later built the bookshelves and cabinets around it.
I labeled where the dog door is in these two shots so you can get a better sense of how this works. And work it does. The dogs LOVE their den. They go there to rest, they go there to play.
highly-rated dog doors (we have the Endura)
Making the Dog Bed Pretty AND Functional
Speaking of play, Franklin (the big guy) was playing a little too enthusiastically and broke the door in half one day. You see, we didn’t initially think through how the doors would function, so one had to be open at all times aside from when they were locked in. It was awkward to maneuver around and it was just a matter of time before it snapped. Because, #bullterriers.
This actually proved to be fortunate in the long run because we came up with a much better solution. We realized it made sense to have one door fixed at all times (we can unlatch it if needed) and have the one recess into the den. Now it functions like this:
Obviously, this is a lair for dogs so it can get stinky if not cleaned on the reg, but the doors on the tunnel side needed to not be opened by sneaky puppies. So, much like with human babies, we child-proofed with these handy magnetic cabinet locks.
Here’s what it looks like all opened up:
Why yes, I did accidentally order the wrong scale pattern for the remainder of the tunnel! Luckily only the dogs see that part and they don’t care.
Things To Consider If You Take On A Similar Project
- Remember function first. How do you want it to work? What problem will it solve? Start there.
- Consider the non-negotiables. What are the things that can’t be changed? What do you have to work with? Location? Limitations? Budget?
- Infuse your style. What can you add to make this a feature to be proud of and not something to be hidden?
The Dogs’ View
Here is the dogs’ point of view as they enter their bed:
And here is what it looks like in the tunnel:
And finally, this is where it leads:
It’s a feat of modern engineering and cute to boot. And most importantly — it contains the dogs!! They’re sweet, but they sure are a handful.
If a full-scale dog palace is a little much, here are some smaller options 🙂
I can certainly get detailed on tips to make something like this happen in your own home if that would be of interest to anyone. Let me know in the comments below if part two is wanted!