What happened when Kim and Curt Myers became pet parents and remodeled their home during Covid? The Myers’ new laundry became a multi-functional space that caters to the needs of the newest family member, Whiskey, their goldendoodle.
The Myers’ daughter started the ball rolling for the cause of adopting a dog. According to Kim, she convinced her father that having a furry family member would be fun and fulfilling. “She said, ‘Let’s just go and look,’” Kim recalls. “Well, you can guess what looking at puppies led to!”
Whiskey no sooner became a member of the family when the Myers’ daughter set off to take a job in Wilmington, North Carolina. To their surprise, the now empty nesters found themselves wholeheartedly doting on the puppy they named Whiskey. “The color of his fur reminded me of whiskey and Curt’s favorite drink is whiskey, so that became his name,” says Kim, who has since discovered that their dog shares his name with the band, Whiskey Myers, whose music is often heard on the television show, Yellowstone. “I’ve had a few people comment on that and ask if that’s how he got his name,” Kim notes.
Kim admits that Whiskey is one spoiled dog. “He’s our third child,” she says of the soon-to-be two-year-old canine.
One Thing Led to Another
Kim points to a patio door that needed to be replaced as the motivating factor for the remodeling project. Having lived in their Strasburg home for nearly 25 years, Kim and Curt deemed that perhaps it was an opportune time to undertake a full-fledged remodel of the first-floor living areas. They chose to work with Garman Builders Renovations, as well as Kountry Kraft (custom cabinetry). Plans called for the kitchen and living room to swap spaces. A bathroom, which is now accessed by a short hallway that is lined with storage cabinets/closets, was also remodeled and is now part of a guest suite.
As for the laundry area, that was transformed into a beautiful multi-functional space that does duty as a laundry, a mudroom, a pantry and a spa/hangout for Whiskey. “He can be shy around strangers, so when people he doesn’t know are here, he’s happy to chill in his [laundry-room] crate,” Kim says.
The room is also equipped with a customized and elevated bathing station (complete with hand-held plumbing fixtures) that makes bath time for Whiskey easy on Kim’s back. “It’s also perfect for watering plants and washing off muddy boots,” she points out. Wall hooks provide easy access to Whiskey’s leashes and coats/sweaters. Baskets filled with toys fit neatly under a bench. Cabinets keep food, treats and other essentials organized and out of sight.
As for aesthetics, shiplap was high on Kim’s must-have list from a design perspective. Gray tones that define the wall color, custom cabinetry, tile and trim serve to create a serene and peaceful space. A low-maintenance tile floor can easily be cleaned after wet paws and feet have padded across it.
Before the remodel, the space was essentially a hallway that provided access to the first floor from the driveway and garage and was outfitted with a washer and dryer. “Every time I bent over to use the dryer, I’d bump into the wall behind me,” Kim recalls. “I had no counter space for folding things.” Through reclaiming space from the garage and relocating closets, a much larger laundry was able to be created. It’s accessible from the garage, driveway and a porch that Kim enlivens with seasonal plants and other décor. “Now, everyone comes into the house through the laundry,” she notes.
Laundries are Trending
The Myers’ multi-functional laundry is part of a post-Covid trend that sees homeowners making optimal use of every room. Over the past several years, laundries have become multi-purpose rooms whose intent is to bring order and organization to a house. Hence, the new-concept laundry is perceived as being more than a place to wash and dry clothing, as it often shares the space with a mudroom, pantry, office, pet suite (apparently a craze in California according to Houzz), craft/DIY space, potting/maintenance area for plants, a prep area for catering … and the possibilities go on.
As a result, laundries are being outfitted with high-tech appliances, sinks, islands, built-in desks, pet spaces and custom cabinets that contain pull-out shelves, drying racks and ironing boards. In the case of pet suites, Dutch doors are proving to be popular additions, as they allow for pets to enjoy privacy yet feel connected to the rest of the household. (Such a set-up also keeps them from being confined to a crate.)
A laundry also allows people to “unleash” their inner designer. Because the laundry is (relatively) small and usually removed from the living areas, it provides the perfect opportunity to go a little wild with color, wallpaper, flooring and other decorative elements. After all, if it’s a room that energizes you, doing laundry might not be perceived as a dreaded chore.
According to statistics compiled by Forbes, pets are even influencing where we choose to live. A recent survey of pet owners revealed that 14% of respondents admitted they moved from an apartment to a house so that their dog would have a yard. And, per an article in The Washington Post, realtors are reporting an uptick in clients who are seeking homes that are in close proximity to dog parks, daycare and vet services.
According to Megan Herr, Garman Builders Renovations’ sales manager, Lancaster pet owners are taking the needs of their dogs and cats into consideration when they are building or remodeling their homes. “Clients are factoring in pets when they are building or remodeling. Pets are an important part of a client’s home life and the way they live and move about a house is being taken into consideration,” she explains. “In the Myers’ case, they wanted to create a space off the garage that allows for Whiskey to easily come into the house and have an area to clean off. A shower space that is also adult-friendly solved that question. The built-in crate provides function while keeping a certain aesthetic.”
The needs of cats are also being taken into consideration. “Another request we have had is built-in closets for litter boxes,” notes Megan. “Such spaces provide a secluded area that cats can enter; the owners can then open a ‘hidden’ door to clean the area when necessary. We’re also often asked to incorporate the pet’s eating area into the kitchen design. That’s achieved with a built-in food dish area in the island or a pull-out drawer.”
Megan shares that the needs of pets are considered even before a project gets underway. “Garman and our field supervisors always ask about pets prior to construction so we can best ensure their safety and stress,” she notes.
All aspects of the home industry are heeding America’s love affair with pets and are creating products that allow for humans and animals to happily coexist. For example, performance fabrics hold up to the kind of wear and tear that only a cat or dog can create.
In the realm of flooring, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is beyond forgiving where scratches, spills and accidents are concerned. Stone and ceramic stand up to the same challenges.
If you’re painting, satin or semi-gloss finishes are washable and tend to repel fur.
Dogscaping has become an integral part of landscaping design.
Should you need a vacuum cleaner, funding for the BISSELL Pet Foundation is raised through the sale of the company’s floorcare products. Launched in 2011 by Cathy Bissell, the foundation supports rescue and welfare organizations across the country, as well as initiatives such as Empty the Shelters.
If you happen to be doing laundry, Bounce recently introduced a new line of dryer sheets called Pet Hair and Lint Guard, which is advertised to remove pet hair/fur and lint from clothing.
Design/remodel: Garman Builders Renovations
Cabinetry: Kountry Kraft
Appliances: L.H. Brubaker