‘Barkitecture’ Makes Your Pets the King of the Castle

A new home design movement prioritizes property features that are meant to raise the lifestyle of your four-legged sidekick.

Who’s the house for—you or your dog?

Americans are so devoted to their pets that most say they’d pass on their dream home if it didn’t suit their four-legged sidekick, according to a recent realtor.com® survey. So, it’s no surprise that pet-friendly property features, like a fenced-in yard with a dog run or a “catio,” are rising to the top of home buyers’ wish lists. The trend toward pet consciousness is sparking a new home design movement called “barkitecture.”

All about incorporating more pet-friendly features throughout the home, the barkitecture concept can add value and interest to a property and perhaps improve the odds of a sale. After all, 43% of households in 2020 indicated they’d be willing to move to better meet their pets’ needs, according to National Association of REALTORS® data. Caroline Danielson, director of showrooms at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, recently spoke to REALTOR® Magazine about the barkitecture features that are popping up in more homes.

Q: What is ‘barkitecture,’ and does it have staying power?

Danielson: Barkitecture is an evolving term that encompasses innovative ideas to create comfortable and stylish spaces for humans and their four-legged friends. Originally used to describe the design and construction of dog houses and other structures specifically for dogs, the trend today has grown popular due to its ability to incorporate practical elements of pet ownership into the design of kitchens and bathrooms that both humans and dogs can enjoy. Barkitecture is here to stay due to growing demand among pet owners who view their animals as true family members. They are willing to invest in ensuring that every part of their home reflects this sentiment.

What type of pet-friendly home features are buyers prioritizing?

One of the most popular pet-friendly design features is adding a dog wash station in the mudroom. This feature makes it easier and less messy to give the pup a quick bath after an outdoor adventure.

A dog wash station typically consists of a faucet with a flexible hose attachment and an elevated platform, providing easy step-in and step-out tub access to the pup. Installing a handheld showerhead and using a tiled area with a drain helps pet owners clean up muddy paws with ease while limiting messes and tracking water around the house.

Positioning this station near a home’s entrance makes it quick and easy for everyone to clean up before coming in. Plus, having a designated spot can make washing your dog much simpler. Throw in some toys or treats so that they look forward to baths!

The other popular trend is installing hidden food and watering stations, which offers numerous benefits for pets and their human owners. They make feeding time much easier by creating an organized system that is convenient to use. Many of these built-in feeding stations are incorporated into the kitchen island, including a pot-filler faucet for the pet’s water bowl. These stations can help keep bowls off the floor to avoid spills or messes while also providing an aesthetically pleasing solution that doesn’t compromise style or decor. These stations are immensely helpful for house-training puppies who need frequent access to water throughout the day. All in all, this is a great way for pet owners to combine both form and function in one convenient feature.

Additionally, homeowners who serve fresh foods or subscribe to a food delivery service for pets can install an under-counter refrigerator dedicated to Fido’s culinary delights. For those foods or treats that do not require refrigeration, kitchen cabinetry is a great place to hide or recess food storage compartments.

What’s even better is that any homeowner can incorporate barkitecture. Homeowners no longer need a dedicated mudroom or expensive renovations to make their homes more inviting for their furry friends. With a few simple changes and the addition of some special touches, any homeowner can create a space that both they and their pets will enjoy. One example could be installing a specially designed grooming hand shower and attachments in your existing tub or shower. A dog-friendly hand shower and attachments can create a luxurious and inviting environment for humans and pets alike without a ton of extra work or space.

What are the most unique barkitecture renovations you’ve seen?

We’ve seen some incredible barkitecture projects, both simple and complex, from converting a pantry into a luxurious pet lounge with fun wallpaper to crates built into cabinetry and custom-made furniture pieces. These unique renovations can seamlessly tie into existing decor, and they truly reflect the style and personality of the homeowner and pup.

There are so many unique and creative solutions out there. As this trend continues to grow in popularity, we’re excited to see what new ideas designers and homeowners dream of to make their homes more welcoming for their pets.