This dog/mudroom gets WORKED, used, and abused by the furriest and muddiest (questionable) of our children. I love good marketing speak, so let’s just say having two long-haired dogs in Oregon (specifically in a backyard that is only mud) was a real “pain point” in our lives. We tried to predict this pain and avoid it as much as possible while planning the house, so today I’ll walk you through how we designed this specifically for our dogs, what we nailed, what we would change, and how it’s held up.
The Tile Floor
Now, when we shot this we had a big mat outside that we wiped our feet on but I didn’t want to put down an ugly mat inside and ruin the room, honestly (update on that dumb mistake below). Regardless of a mat, we chose to install this pretty Pratt + Larson green tile in a herringbone pattern that would be great for non-slippage when wet and wouldn’t get wet/damaged like wood would. Now the tile is a matte textured finish, in the Pratt + Larson brownstone clay so it looks really rustic which hides a lot more than something more clean, flat, and shiny.
The general rule is the more grout lines, the less slippery a floor is when wet (not always the case, but often). We did a 3/16th grout line which is fairly standard. I, of course, wanted slightly smaller grout lines but I’m glad we didn’t because it’s easier to clean it this wide. We used a medium-tone gray for this and I’m also so glad we did (platinum was the grout color). Dark grout can actually show a lot more than I thought (soap scum specifically) and light grout is obviously a bad idea for a mudroom, so this medium tone totally worked.
I will say that if you care only about practicality, then a rough topped large-scale floor tile is your best bet – that way you get fewer grout lines while still being non-slip (slate tile is a great choice – I loved it in our master bathroom at the mountain house for these exact reasons). We wanted a colorful tile in here so that’s why I chose a more textured tile, in a forgiving color, with forgiving grout and I’m VERY pleased with it. The grout around the dog bowl and near the dog wash is definitely browner from dirt/food when you look up close, but it’s pretty hard to notice. Would I do anything differently? Nope. Now it’s only been six months but zero regrets about the tile/grout in this dog mudroom.
The New Not Totally Ugly Wet/Mud Mat
After the first shoot I was like, “fine, I’ll invest in some wet mats” and like not cute rugs, but the kind of mats that help get the dirt off shoes/paws and the ones you can hose down. I found these blue-toned ones that had good reviews and bought a larger one for the door and a smaller one for the “bathtub”. They are GREAT. They don’t move, are super grippy, scratchy on top while still being comfortable, and they absorb a lot and dry fast. If I could have color-matched them I would, but this was pretty close and fairly unoffensive (and does the job GREAT).
The Dog Wash Station – Was It Worth It?
My biggest fear was that we were going to spend the money and time to do something for vanity purposes – sure, I knew that it would “perform well” but that’s not the reason to do it – it’s too expensive and too much-wasted space if unused. I’m happy to say that it gets used almost every day in the fall/winter/spring (we haven’t lived here in summer yet) and we LOVE IT SO MUCH. We use it for muddy paws/legs after long walks or if we are lazy/make poor judgment and just let them out to run around. Y’all, almost every. single. day. It’s extremely awesome and we (and the pups) are so grateful for it.
Now since it’s a huge investment (plumbing, stone, fixtures, etc), I want to give you more context about our lives so you can see if this is worth it to you. I don’t think everyone will benefit as much from this, but here’s why we use it a lot.
- We live on a large property and even after our landscaping is finished and grass has grown, we will have a lot of non-landscaped areas full of a lot of dirt. We walk them through a neighborhood but generally, it’s more rustic here, and eliminating mud is not possible.
- Our dogs are diggers (we are finding out their breed as I write this), so if there is dirt they will find it. It’s GREAT! They even eat mud!! WTF!
- Our dogs have long blonde hair so dirt really gets stuck to it. I think shorter-haired dogs are easier to clean, but these luscious locks are porous and you can’t just wipe them with a rag.
- We let our dogs on the furniture – mostly because we forgot to NOT let them on the furniture when we first got them, so yeah, the furniture has to be dog-friendly and their paws need to be furniture and rug-friendly.
- Our dogs are too big for a sink, but not so big that they won’t fit in one of these. AKA medium-sized dogs are great for this size of a dog wash station.
- We live in the PNW where there is a lot of wetness and mud for eight months of the year. I personally do not think a dog wash will get used frequently in Southern California and would not have prioritized it in any of our California houses. However, to be fair we only had the pups at the mountain house for a year and it was very dry.
- Portland is a huge dog city so for resale we weren’t worried about it being wasted space. PLUS it’s a GREAT utility sink (for flowers, potting, mops, etc).
But What About Actual Baths? Can You Bathe Them In This?
Yes! We don’t, but of course, you can. I personally think that if you live in a dry climate with a short-haired dog the monthly or bi-monthly bath could be done without a fancy dog washing station, just in a bathtub or shower. Again, do whatever makes you happy in your own home, but we were certainly nervous about putting it in because we feared spending the money and not using it. You see, once a month Brian puts on a speedo (???!!!!), turns on Opera music (???!!!), and brings them into our enclosed shower with him and shampoos and conditions them. It’s one of the most hilarious joys of our lives, hearing him fake sing opera to them… (He says he feels weird being naked with the pups), but seeing him in the gold speedo that he bought as a joke 10 years ago that he secretly loves is HILARIOUS.
Anyway, again I’m not here to tell you whether or not you should splurge on this luxury, just giving you my experience. We use it a ton already and are so glad that we don’t have to stand outside in the cold and hose off their paws after their 8 pm walk in the winter.
What Size Do You Make Your Dog Wash Station?
I’m so happy to report that we nailed these dimensions (for our pups). We quite literally measured these dogs (much to their confusion) and put them in our kitchen sink at the mountain house to gauge what size would be big enough but not so big as to waste square footage. It was A THING. Here are the dimensions that we went with (that we LOVE)
- Height from Floor to Front Apron – 18″ on the outside. This height needs to be tall enough to keep the bulk of the splashing inside, but not so tall that you can’t bend over it and easily access paws. This height works great. I have to kneel but also can just crouch easily.
- Inside Height – The drain and stone took up some space. It’s a large sink after all, so the interior height is 12″ which again works great.
- Interior Width – Our dogs are around 30-36″ (hard to tell with fur) so we went for 40″ wide (inside) and it’s great. Roomy but not abundant.
- The Interior Depth is 27″ – This measurement was more dictated by the washer/dryer depth but works great.
- Height of Plumbing (from the inside of the stone, so 6″ higher than the tile floor) is 21″.
- Overall “Dog Bath” Height – From the floor tile to the top of where the stone stops on the wall is 41″ tall.
Do your Dogs Actually Like it?
They stand in line like they are waiting patiently for their turn in a buffet. It’s unbearably cute. We use warm water with the hand shower and then wipe off each paw while we say “good boy” and “good girl. They seem to legitimately love the warmth, petting, and attention (they probably like feeling clean after too as I bet mud in the paws sucks). It actually makes it so fun to do. If they hated it, it could really be a chore that I avoided, but they hop right in.
Does It Drain Well Or Is It Hard To Clean?
Ok, so this is where either we messed up or the stone fabricators did. I’m not sure even if it’s possible to do what we thought we were getting which was a stone basin that slopes towards the drain. So if you are doing this I’d take extra care to make sure that water/dirt don’t get stuck in the corners. The dirt gets caked in the corners and is totally cleanable, obviously, but if you are going through the pain to invest in this next time I’d ensure that the basin drains better.
Now after talking it over with Adam, he recommends anyone wanting easy drainage is to treat it like a shower floor. You can either use small tiles and have them installed to slope down towards a center drain or use a stone slab that angles towards a linear drain. Hope that’s helpful.
The stone is fine to clean (it’s honed and just dirt so it’s ok) but I fear it’s likely to slowly stain if we aren’t vigilant about cleaning after each paw bath. I’m still glad we chose real stone because I love it so much, but obviously a composite or porcelain stone would be more practical. Bedrosian actually has this porcelain that I literally couldn’t believe wasn’t real marble. It was SO GOOD. The edges of it are thin (as printed porcelain is) so the fabricators couldn’t work with it in this application (yet… I think over time they’ll get more comfortable with it). So we went with the same stone we did throughout the house (that we love) but it’s less practical than a Quartz would be, for sure. (Read our guide to stone if you are interested).
The Built-In Dog Food Bucket “Drawer” Cabinet
If you have a dog and are doing cabinets near where they eat don’t sleep on this one. It’s integrated into the cabinets like a trash or recycling bin would be and keeps away another random trash or bucket to clutter up your floor. Unique Kitchen and Baths did a great job of integrating it into our white oak cabinetry and it keeps the smell relatively down as well.
The Dog Food (Eating) Area
When we shot this I could NOT find a pretty dog food tray (and I think there is a large hole in the market). There are a lot of dorky mats, but so few large utilitarian trays that keep in food and splashes. I love this room so much and was so excited to show all my friends (you) that I refused to put a not-pretty plastic tray in here for her debut. So we found these two wood trays at my favorite local design store (shout out to JP General) and while I knew that wood was NOT the most practical I thought maybe it would be ok?
Well, the wood trays were NOT ok. The dogs basically just pulled out the food with their mouths and ate it off of the floor. The water got splashed everywhere and I knew that I had to figure out a better long-term solution (before these trays got ruined because they were expensive and pretty).
So I ordered these faux copper boot trays from Pottery Barn which look pretty dang good and fit all four bowls. I bought one for shoes/boots and one for food and they look pretty darn great. I wish I had them in the first place, but at least you can see them here. Recommend them 10/10.
So there you have it! I know I just said it a hundred times but I truly am so grateful we were able to put in our dog washing station and customize a few other things to make life with our dogs a little easier. ARCIFORM obviously was such an incredible help in making everything in this room come together beautifully. For all the other resources head to the original reveal post HERE! Talk soon. xx
Cabinetry: Unique Kitchen and Baths (Get 10% off with the code “EH2022”)
Wall Paint Color: Extra White by Sherwin-Williams
Paneling and Trim Paint Color: Dew Drop by Sherwin-Williams
Floor Tile: Pratt + Larson
Tile Installer: Level Plane
Dog Washing Stone: Bedrosians Tile & Stone
Appliances: Build with Ferguson
Stone Fabrication: Alpha StoneWorks
Light Fixtures: Rejuvenation
*Design by Emily Henderson and ARCIFORM
*Photos by Kaitlin Green
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