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
Thanks for the update! I really like hearing about the things that work well/better than you thought, and the things that you would do differently now that you have used the space for a while. So glad you got those mats! I have one (same color, different pattern) by my back door and it has been a game changer for the three seasons that are messy here in Michigan. Your dogs are the sweetest and I am headed to work with a smile on my face. What a great way to start the day!
ugh they are CUTE!
This room is so. freaking. pretty.
And so cute to see you with the pups Em!
That is hilarious about Brian.
Loved the post even though we don’t have dogs (yet).
Please come up with as many reasons as possible to keep shooting in here! 😍
Just came to say that i literally can’t handle the cuteness.
Love the pups photo op! It’s officially mud season here in Idaho … where did you find those mats?
They are waterhog mats. Just google them. I’m pretty sure LLBean carries them, but so do lots of other webhops.
They’re linked under the picture https://www.crateandbarrel.com/thirsty-dots-blue-34×22-doormat/s311852?SID=.NjU5NTAtMA.45a26707-c40c-11ed-9aff-3378d6477326&aff=cj&utm_source=cj&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=2975314&cjevent=4805309ec40c11ed825200b60a82b839
They’re linked under the photo…click on “pet mats.”
Love it! Couple of questions – did you think about having the food/water bowls built into the cabinets (I’ve seen the ones that pull out from the very bottom but wondered how they clean up? does the water splash?)? Were you warned away from that or were you worried it would be in the way right where kids were putting their stuff into the cupboard? I’m wondering about putting something like that into our laundry room.
And secondly, looking at the pictures I just want to caulk the slight gaps between the stone and the beadboard/the wood cabinet sides and the stone and the floor before stuff gets in there and they swell/dirt gets trapped. (Over the couple of years that my mom put her dishes on dish towels next to the wood cabinet walls and I saw how the bottom of that wall started to swell and flake, it’s top of mind for me and I don’t want your lovely wood to be destroyed that way). Is there a reason it’s not sealed?
Love learning about the decision processes here. Thank you!
Putting food in a pull out is fine, but dogs need access to water continuously so it needs to be out in the open…
I agree about the 24/7 water access with Monica. I’d also prefer they had access to the bowl in the kitchen as I’d often put some food in their bowl during meal prep. In terms of wall/floor damage, you can put a floor mat, and a big picture frame/art behind the bowls to minimize damage to walls or cabinets. I didn’t see much damage myself, just some dried drops of water/food on the wall, Even the floor mat was always dried, but there might have been a little food on it occasionally. But that will depend on a breed and their tendencies. I found my dog to be clean in general in terms of how the food area looked and how little if any drool there was.
Dogs just make a mess I mean isn’t wear and tear on the house and furniture just come with the territory?
Absolutely it does! I actually have two cats and that’s why I was asking about putting one of those pull out food drawers in the base of the prospective laundry cabinets. Not that they are much less messy. 🙂
Oh man a pull out cat food drawer.. that just sounds like a terrible critter magnet. I’d have SO many mice there…
I’ve seen the built-in food and water trays that just stay open – like an opening in the cabinet, with round slots for the food and water bowls. And then with a faucet to fill the water above, which is genius! The Makerista did one in her laundry room that was pretty dang cool! No more having to take wet bowls over to the sink to fill.
Gold speedo + “live” opera + dog shower! Now, THAT would make for a stellar photo shoot! But this one is totally lovely too:).
Darn, was really anticipating the photo to go with this description!
Curious to find out the dog breed, please share with us!!!
This is the BEST POST EVER!!!🐾🐾
I can nevvver get enough of Buttercup and Oscar!!! (They could be fog food ad stars!)
The dog-washing station is amazing!!
I washed my Rosie-bear in 1/2 of a very large double stainless steel sink out in the wash house (100 yrs old original building) witha old shower head on a long flexible pipe, with warm water. I’d carry her outside wrapped in a towel and onto a table in the sun to scruffle towel-dry her. Nice. Super-functional, but it was not pretty.
This, however, is THE BEST, baby!!!!
Um, tell Brian that gold Speedos sales are gonna rocket upwards now!!😏🤣
If you decide you want the same type of mat but in blue gray that’s a bit more subtle in color, you can try the Waterhog mats in bluestone from LL Bean: https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/506645. We have Waterhog mats in different colors & sizes that we use on the porches, in the entries, in the kitchen, & under the dog dishes, & they are wonderful!
The manufacturer/supplier of Waterhog mats also has 56 colors to choose from: https://www.americanfloormats.com/waterhog-classic-entrance-mats-designer-colors/.
I’ve been thinking of getting a Waterhog mat! We are in MN with a dog and two kiddos, so a cute little rug would not do the trick. That manufacturer link has a million size options, too, which fits our front/back doors so much better than the sizes I had seen at LL Bean. Thanks for sharing the review and link!
Great info on the dog washing station, and on the mats, they look great. One thing I’ve wondered … would your life be easier if you had the dogs groomed so that their hair was shorter? Not shaved, but not so long, especially on their legs? Our dog brings in pieces of grass, etc. if her leg hair gets past a certain point.
Along these lines, wouldn’t it be easier if you used kitchen door to take dogs in and out of if they are going on a leash walk? That way the entire walk would be on patio/drivewayy/streets so their feet would not get muddy!
I don’t think much is paved around the farmhouse based on this sentence “You drive up a long tree-covered driveway that definitely needs to be paved, but because it’s not, you bounce around on dirt, potholes and gravel, and INSTANTLY you are transported to an old country farm.” From this full farmhouse tour: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/the-farmhouse-full-property-tour
Just what I was about to comment to say! Your life will be so much easier if you have them groomed shorter!
I got second hand joy from the description of Brian and the dogs! That sounds hilarious and amazing.
Thank you for the pet mat recommendation!! That blue would be perfect in my space and is just what I’ve been looking for.
The (mental) image of your husband in a gold speedo singing opera to your wet dogs is making my WHOLE MORNING more joyous. 100% wish you had an actual image to go with that!! 🙂 Hahahaha. Now I wish I had a huge shower to do the same with my dog.
Makes sense if Brian wouldn’t want an image shared, but a video just capturing the audio of his singing opera to the dogs would be VERY entertaining.
The most joyous paragraph I’ve read in awhile. >_<
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.
Great post with lots of useful information. I hope I didn’t miss if you mentioned this, but since you take the dogs out multiple times in a day, (right?), do you do this process each time they come in? How long does the whole washing paws episode take, in total? Great use of a beautiful space in your home. Thanks for sharing.
I mean maybe a darker stone for the dog wash station wouldn’t show dirt as much like grey.
I don’t know how you keep your house so organized with kids and dogs it’s a full time job.
I guess you do have all that awesome storage in the mudroom it just looks really pristine!
Just want to say I always thought your husband was the best, but now I’m officially in love with him.
If only you’d included a tik tok of Brian in his speedo with the dogs and fake opera… he’d go viral in minutes.
Glad this is working so well for you.
One caveat (from a former groomer) a waist-high tub is much easier on your back over the long haul. If your dog is too heavy for you to lift, stairs are the best option. It’s easy to teach dogs to enter and leave the tub on cue. If you can really customize, having the tub front about mid-chest height will keep you drier.
And a waterproof apron can be a very good idea…
I have to agree with this. We have collies (think Lassie) and also live in the PNW. I cringed when I saw you kneeling on the floor – my knees and back would not take that. For too many years I bathed our dogs in the bath tub but can’t do that anymore. On the positive side for our dogs, when dry, mud just falls off a properly textured coat which we’ve been lucky enough to have with all our collies over the years. Your mud room is beautiful.
We use our outdoor dog wash station ALL THE TIME (and we’re just right outside Los Angeles). We hooked it up to hot water and our dogs happily use it. I think if you’re somewhere with a lot of wild outdoor space, it’s seriously a lifesaver!
Here for the speedos 👏👏
I want to take bets on what the breed of the pups are! My guess is Wheaten Terrier crossed with a Poodle. A Whoodle, if you will. (I have a dog wash for my Doodle and it is the best!!! We put a shower drain in ours and I like it a lot!)
I’ve always thpugh Wheaten Terrier with a touch of Poodle/Groodle/or Golden Retriever.
Can’t wait to hear!
My Rosie-bear was a Red Irish Terrier and very similar looking, obvs red though. 🐾
I’m betting on terrier too! They’re like a giant lighter long haired version of my toto cairn terrier.
Love the pull-out idea for dog food! We’re about to start our renovation and I’m totally stealing that idea 🙂
So cute! And thanks for the practical post. I don’t even have any pets but it was fun to read.
curious where your Bermuda sweatshirt is from? 🙂
have to comment and say +100 to JP General!! Great stop if you’re in/near Multnomah Village 🙂
This info is so great! So helpful for when we put a dog bath station in. We also have a very muddy property, even when some parts get landscaped.
did you get new dog bowls to go in that copper tray as well? They look so cute and like they match! Brilliant idea BTW.
also, the dog shower with the speedo and opera is the best! 😅
The new elevated dog feeder is possibly the Frisco Copper Stainless Steel Elevated Foldable Double Dog & Cat Bowls. Here’s a link: https://www.chewy.com/frisco-copper-stainless-steel/dp/279525
I love this room so much! We did a full room devoted to dogs and laundry in our renovation. My only word of caution to readers is about the dog food cabinet. We have a pull out garbage cabinet of nearly the exact same design and my dogs have destroyed the cabinet because they smell food and try (often successfully) to open it. We eventually had to put a child safe lock on it, but the damage has been done and the door needed to be replaced after only a few months. I think if the cabinet is in an area where the dogs are not left unattended ever, it may not be as much of an issue. I also have a lot of dogs (9 as I type this) and some are very large (34″ tall) and evidently very hungry!