Barkitecture’s New Meaning–A Dog’s Architectural Pawprint

by Mary Haight on June 15, 2009

Hansel - The Doll House
Image by linda yvonne/ Selling on eBay via Flickr

Architects and designers may be working with Fluffy and Fido to make a more integrated pawprint in the home.  While we are busy working overtime, Fluffy is bored and wants her own room and Fido just wants to enjoy the good weather and be outside when the sun is shining, never mind a dog house.  So what are they up to?  Barkitecture, with a twist.

Barkitecture has been used to describe dog houses that range from a standard A-frame dog house with hand painted faux pickets fences, with grass, flowers, and sky scenes, to mini-versions of the family home or another favored style of architecture. The term is getting a second definition as we speak, or at least as the Washington Times reported Friday.

On somewhat flimsy but fun evidence, the article suggests that while some people purchase multiple pet beds for various rooms around the house, others are building in hidden spring-loaded panels, a la Murphy bed, housing “comfort zones” for their pets, even in this economy ($279, available in black or white mahogany). This apparently justifies the new meaning for the word Barkitecture.

We have all seen the fancy dog beds available for hundreds of dollars, and know that even catalog dog beds of the simplest kind provide fabric swatches before purchase– these are, after all, design issues. The days of the big old loud clashing print dog bed covers are (thankfully) over. “Jane Huelle, owner of the Dog Spot in D.C.’s District, said she has seen just about everything – from extravagant cat climbers to custom jungle rooms and dog crates that look like designer furniture” the writer reports. Dog furniture makers have taken to following the furniture industry’s trends, making it easier for more potential customers to make different choices for their dogs and cats.

So the second definition of the term Barkitecture, as I understand it, involves intentional architectural changes in houses to make life more comfortable, fun, and/or safe for pets, like the recent accommodations made by some car companies for the family pet(s). Or is the new secret panel mahogany bed, the cat jungle room, and the attached purpose-built fenced dog porch (oh yes they did!) a way to please our aesthetic sense of style, tidiness, and ultimately serve our own convenience? Maybe it’s a little of both, but what I do know is that cats will leap for joy at a jungle room any day, and dogs will do the happy dance at having their own porch where they can run in and out of the house at will. And thinking of ways big or small to keep pets happy and satisfied puts a smile on any pet lover’s face!

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