Sit, Stay, Play: Creating a Space for your Furry Friend

If you are a dog owner, you know how quickly they become beloved members of the family. 

But like any family member, they create messes and require room for food, toys, bedding, and supplies. Today, adding a pet-specific space in a home is becoming less of a luxury and more of a commonplace amenity. Not only does it provide dogs with a comfortable place of their own, but it frees up precious space in family rooms, kitchens, and pantries. 

For Branden and Carly McLaughlin creating a room for their four-legged companions was a natural choice. The Wichita couple owns five dogs and fosters others for weeks to months at a time. They wanted a room for the dogs to feel safe and at home while away at work or when family and friends visit. Carly spent hours researching Instagram and Pinterest to find inspiration for this “stop and drop” space before hiring Hagan Construction to bring her ideas to life. 


Using one and a half stalls from the three-car garage, the doggie area, conveniently located just off the home’s laundry room, began to take shape. The room features generous counter and cabinet space, a refrigerator, toy bins, kennels built into the cabinets, an elevated washing station, and a spigot below the washing station to ensure water dishes never go dry. A doggie door allows for easy access to the backyard.  When designing the room, the couple carefully considered the materials they would use. 

They decided on a split Dutch door from the laundry room to keep it closed when they’re at work and leave the top half open when home to check on the dogs. Carly says this simple feature is beneficial for foster dogs who need a quiet space to themselves and require the reassurance of hearing their voices nearby. Knowing that the room would see plenty of traffic from humans and canines alike, having an easy to clean floor was a must-have.

“We considered a brick floor initially but went with a ceramic tile that looks like a hardwood floor,” says Carly. 


The cabinet color and design were also intentional. Carly originally envisioned white upper and lower cabinets, but she opted for navy on the bottom after considering dirty paws. She also recommends using doors on lower cabinets. The family quickly discovered open cabinets were not ideal as the space also serves as a mudroom for the family. 

“Not only were the dogs able to grab our shoes, but they were also getting our jackets to chew on as well,” Carly laughs. 

Are you considering a dog-dedicated space in your home? For the McLaughlins, the decision has benefitted the entire family. It provides a comfortable area for pets, a safe place to care for foster dogs, and a practical stop-and-drop space that can handle the family’s busy schedule.—By Sasha Kuchinski, photography courtesy of the Fur Parents.