Home Upgrades for Pet Owners

home upgrades for pets

Most homeowners want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome, whether they’re neighbors, family members, or four-legged friends. They’re willing to make a few changes in their living area to accommodate everyone, especially their pets. Today, more than sixty million households in the US have a dog and many are making home upgrades for their pets.

If you have a beloved pet, tossing together a few blankets for a bed or making sure the water bowl is always in the same place is a nice start. But truly making your home pet-friendly takes a bit of planning. There are several simple ways to incorporate the needs of your pet into your décor. If you’re thinking of building or remodeling a dog-friendly home, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Feeding Areas

feeding bowls in cabinets for pets

Courtesy Foxcarr.com

Feeding your pet every day without tripping over the bowls can be a snap. Place the pet dishes at the end of a run of cabinets and away from the work triangle. With the doors open and shelves removed, the food and water bowls can be placed inside on top of ceramic tiles or a waterproof pad to protect the cabinet floor. If you have drawers, there are inserts which will hold any size bowl. Close the drawer or the cabinet doors when not in use, keeping the kitchen tidy.

Pet Grooming

Because it’s easier than bathing their pet at home, most owners take their dogs to a groomer. However, having a dedicated space to clean them makes the task painless. Add an enclosed shower with a half wall so you can reach in to rinse the soap and keep the water inside the tub. Consider putting the bath station in the laundry room or mudroom. Wet towels can go right into the washing machine when you’re finished. Also, it’s a great way to spray off muddy boots (or dirty children) before entering the main part of the house.

Built-in Beds

built in dog beds

courtesy, the owner builder network

Instead of a big cage or a loose bed cushion that gets tossed around, consider building your dog’s bed into existing cabinets, next to the bed as a nightstand, or in the nook under a staircase. Your pet gets a safe place to rest, and you get to minimize the space taken up by all his/her stuff.

Doggy Doors

Pet doors are nothing new, but they’re usually a plastic flap over a hole in the back door. Not very attractive. But you can upgrade the doggy door with an option that integrates it into your home’s architecture. Make your pet’s entrance elegant instead of an eyesore.

Interior Dog Gates

Do you have rooms in your home you want to protect and keep out your furry friend? Many homeowners use baby gates to control where their dog can go. Sadly, the dog can usually figure out how to jump over them. Plus, the gates are functional but ugly! Often called a Dutch Door, these built-in gates can be customized to match your home’s interior décor. They’ll keep the animals out by closing the bottom half, while still allowing air flow and light during the day through the open upper half.

Are you a dog lover who’s also thinking about remodeling or building your dream home? Don’t forget to think about ways to make your pet feel at home as well. Talk to the professionals at Joseph Douglas Homes about your ideas. They can integrate them into your home design so that everyone is happy. Call today to make an appointment!

How to Create the Ultimate Home Office!

Home Office

Home offices have a variety of uses: paying bills, telecommuting for work, or even running your own business. Depending on what you need, a home office should always have enough space for good storage for files and supplies, have a comfortable chair and workspace, and offer inspiration. Don’t let your office be dreary like an old cubicle! Create your ultimate home office in just a few simple steps.

Separate Yourself

To give yourself a quiet place to work, set up your office away from your main living area. A room with a door is best, so you can close yourself off and focus on work with minimal interruptions.

Desks and Chairs

Invest in a well-made chair and desk. They can be both practical and something that fits your style. First, determine what size desk you need. Desk sizes range from imposing executive types to slim writing surfaces. Many are adjustable in height, which also offers health benefits. Choose a chair that has lumbar support if you’ll be sitting at your desk most of the day. When seated, your feet should be flat on the floor with 90-degree angles at your hips and knees. Leave enough area in the office for storage and a chair or two for clients or visitors.


This is another area that should not be skimped on. Poor lighting can cause headaches and eye strain and make you feel claustrophobic. Place your desk near a window for natural light. It works wonders for productivity and adjusting to the cycles of the day. You should have three types of lighting in your office: natural light from windows, ambient light from ceiling and standing lamps, and direct light from a desk lamp to illuminate your workspace.

Wall Colors

It’s no fun to stare at plain white walls all day long. Consider adding some color with paint. Blue is calming but will get your ideas flowing because it’s also considered an intellectual hue. Green is soothing and will help to balance your thoughts and ideas. Yellow is a warm color – perfect for a north facing room – and can help you feel positive, awake, and inspired.


In order to keep everything neat and tidy, create a system to organize your office. It will help you to find everything when you need it, avoid distractions, and stay on track. No more wasted time as you rifle through files and desk drawers.

Filing cabinets are not always the most attractive, but you still need a place for paperwork. If you don’t want a file cabinet, try other types of storage: an antique dresser, pretty baskets or boxes, or a large bookshelf. Find smaller containers for paperclips, pens, stamps, etc. for your desktop. If your office also has a closet, use that space for storage. Add a shelving system or small file cabinets, and you won’t need to use up important office floorspace.

Personal Design

Having a home office means you can make it your own. Adding plants around the room can clean the air and make space feel more inviting. The scent of lavender plants is relaxing, and succulents are easy to maintain. To inspire you, hang favorite photos or paintings of places you’d love to visit. Hang the awards you’ve won. Put a thick, soft rug under the desk to nestle your feet in. Keep computer wires under control with zip ties. Add an inspiration board nearby with all your amazing ideas on it.

Joseph Douglas Homes is the Greater Milwaukee area’s award-winning home builder and remodeling, contractor.  If you’re looking to build brand new or remodel your existing home, contact Joseph Doulas Homes today and have your dream home become a reality!

Basement Remodeling Adds Value to Your Home

basement redmodeling

In the past, basements were used for doing laundry, storage, a workshop, or as a place for kids to play on rainy days. Basements were mostly ignored because they were considered damp and dark or unlikely to offer any return if homeowners finished them.

Today, finished basements add not only livable square footage but also increase a home’s value. Many potential buyers won’t consider purchasing unless the basement is finished.

Staying Put

Housing sales fluctuate, pushing many homeowners to stay in place rather than move. To get the necessary extra square footage, homeowners often finish their lower level. Since basements already have walls, a ceiling, foundation, electricity, and sewer hookups, it is frequently less expensive to finish the basement compared to adding a second story or more rooms to the main floor.

Finishing the basement can be as simple as putting down an old rug and painting the cement block walls; or as complex as installing a bathroom, adding new flooring, drywall, larger windows, etc. However, professionals suggest not spending more than 10% to 15% of your home’s total value on your basement remodel. That means, if your home is worth $200,000, your top budget should be between $20,000 and $30,000.


How Will the Area Be Used?

What do you need? A casual space for watching television and playing board games? A workout room? Another bathroom? More bedrooms? A home office? Think through the area and talk with an engineer, architect, or home builder to help you design the best use of the space. Be aware that to use the basement as a living area, you will need another egress – or a way to exit the house. For a window to be an egress, it must be large enough for a fully equipped firefighter to fit through.

Before You Begin

Before starting any projects, check the basement thoroughly to be sure you don’t have any moisture issues. Are there cracks in the floor or walls? Get them repaired first. How tall are the ceilings? You’ll want to keep them feeling as high as possible, so consider using recessed fixtures to keep the height and add lots of light.

Don’t Split the Space

Just as most people like an open floor plan in the main living area, leave it open downstairs too. Try to keep the number of walls to a minimum, but don’t take any walls down until you talk to an engineer. They may be loadbearing.

Add a Bathroom

If your family intends to use the space daily, consider installing a full bathroom. It’s more expensive than just putting up some drywall, but another bathroom is not only convenient, it will add more to your home’s value. Hire a professional plumber, get good fixtures, and tile the floor and inside the shower stall. The initial cost is more but will make all the difference when you decide to sell.

Experts state that finished basements offer a 70% payback. That means if you spend $25,000, your home’s value will increase by at least $17,500. And that’s a great return on investment.

Thinking of finishing your basement? Contact an Award Winning Building & Remodeling Company  Joseph Douglas Homes. Their architects can help make sure the end result is exactly what you hope for at a cost you can afford. Call today!