How a Laundry Room Cabinet Became a Stylish Custom Dog Kennel

A tool-savvy pet owner discovered a clever, decorative way to let her sleeping dogs lie cozily without taking up floor space. 

Inspired by a custom built-in dog kennel in a friend's house, Jessi Way figured out how to make one by retrofitting a laundry room cabinet in her own Carmel, IN, home. She converted a base cabinet into a safe, comfortable hangout and sleeping spot for her two dogs, Frankee, a Boston terrier-papillon mix, and BigBoy, a Chihuahua. "I found a way to make unused space functional for our needs," says Jessi, who shares her house projects on Instagram at The Good Wrench.

jessi with dogs in cabinet crates
Jay Wilde

To spruce up the rest of the room after completing the kennel, Jessi painted the walls, added a pink glass-tile backsplash, and built a pair of floating shelves. The walls are painted with Oyster Bay SW 6206 by Sherwin-Williams. What she describes as her easiest do-it-yourself project is also her most practical: The kennel is used daily for dog naps and bedtime, and to keep the pair secure when Jessi isn't home. "The dogs love it. This is their house, and they know it," she says.

Jessi spent only four hours and less than $100 adapting a standard base cabinet. She was happy to get rid of the dogs' freestanding crate, which made the laundry room feel cramped.

dog bed inside cabinet with furry rug outside
Jay Wilde

After removing the cabinet doors, Jessi cut out the fixed shelf inside using an oscillating multi-tool. For new doors, she took apart a three-panel pet gate from HomeGoods, then positioned new hinges to work with the cabinet openings. She mounted the doors to the face frame so they align in the center.

Thin magnetic drawer latches keep the doors in place. When the dogs are inside the kennel, a stainless steel flip latch on the doors adds security

For easy cleanup (accidents do happen), Jessi decided to tile the bottom of the cabinet and partway up the sides. The small space didn't take long to do, and she enjoyed the chance to practice her tiling skills. She chose 12×24-inch porcelain tiles from The Home Depot to cover the most surface area with the fewest grout lines. With a wet-tile saw, she cut each piece to size. Once the tile was in place and had set overnight, she applied leftover grout from another project and caulked the edges to cover any cracks or rough spots.

A fabric-wrapped cushion covers the tiled cabinet bottom. Just for fun, Jessi decorated the inside of the kennel. She painted the side surfaces a soothing blue-gray and applied whimsical vinyl decals cut with a Cricut machine.

Updated by
Leslie Poyzer

Leslie Poyzer is an interior designer based in Des Moines, Iowa, with more than15 years of experience. She is a story producer and photo stylist for Better Homes & Gardens and its special interest publications, including Do It Yourself, Holiday Crafts, and Christmas Ideas. Alongside her career in content production and design, Leslie has also been the talent in Better Homes & Gardens tutorials and videos, as well as for brands such as Panera, Nestle, and Kraft.

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