This is an Instructable explaining how I built my uniquely designed dog chalet for my golden retriever. I don't have a lot of property to offer her so I thought making her a very comfortable living space would make her an even happier dog.
Step 1: Concept
First I went out in the yard and took measurements of the space I was planning to use taking into consideration leaving enough gap between structures so I would easily be able to mow inside the future fenced doghouse area. Once I had all my measurements and figured out the maximum perimeter size of the doghouse I was able to start sketching concepts. Once I decided on my favorite concept using AutoCAD I was able to make an accurate model along with a rendering so I knew I'd be happy with my end result.
Step 2: Create Structural Layout to Devise a Bill of Material
From the concept model I broke it down into more detail so I could get the general dimensions and know exactly the total linear feet or total square footage of each material I planned to use for the project. This really helped cut cost because you are then able to shop around and compare costs between the combination of different board and panel cut lengths adding up to total amount needed.
Step 3: Frame the Main Structure
Cut your boards to length then build the top and bottom substructure.
Then take the posts and loosely secure them in position
Now position the top frame at correct height onto posts. Loosely fasten to hold in place
Take your tape measure and builders square and make the posts square to the top and bottom frame while keeping your overall length and width dimensions consistent (CRITICAL).
Once square secure top and bottom frames in place to each post.
Step 4: Deck & Panel
To deck the bottom floor first fasten in cleats around the inside of the outer frame and box in the posts keeping the cleats recessed the thickness of the plywood from the top of the frame.
Using two sheets of plywood cut them to fit to the inside edge of the frame. Then notch out the plywood at the post locations and set in place to lie flush with the top surface of the frame. Now fasten border to cleats and across center at all underlying joist locations.
Now with the floor in place you are now ready to begin paneling the walls enclosing the dog house. Cut all the panels to size making sure you keep a 3degree slope along the top edge to the rear wall for water runoff.
Frame out each panel on the interior side with 1x2 cleats. Make your frame offset 3-1/2" from each vertical end so you have an overhang to cover the outside of each post and your wall will fit flush between each post.
Using screws fasten the interior wall frame to the floor and to the post on each end.
Now the walls are secured in place and you can cap the doghouse by attaching the roof panel. Do this by simply cutting a plywood panel to size and notching each corner to fit snug around the posts
Where I live has all four seasons so I also insulated and sealed the house for the cold winter months. I cut panels of R 10 Polystyrene Foam Board Insulation to fit inside of the interior frame of each wall panel and tacked in place
Step 5: Build the Staircase
I wanted the staircase to be very comfortable for my dog to climb up so I made sure to design the staircase to have a wide tread using 1x12 lumber. After I had the staircase rise figured to reach the top of the deck I then used my builder's square to outline the stair stringer onto a 2x12.
Cut your first stair stringer out then use as a pattern to cut out your second stringer.
When you have the tread and riser boards all cut to length now secure into place to the stringers.
attach two stair hanger attachments to the top interior side of the stringers then set your staircase flush up to the top of the deck.
Once level now secure the staircase to the structure thru the stair hanger brackets.
Step 6: Build the Corner Cap & Mount the Concrete Head Ornament
Find the nicest piece of 1x12 and use this to construct the corner plate to mount the head statue to.
Cut the face plate to the shape you want then cut the side pieces to close it out.
Cut the side pieces so that the back of the face plate sits tight to the corner of the post and so that it sits on a 45 degree angle from the frame.
Then cut a top plate to cap off the top.
Now drill through into the corner post and mount the back of the head centered on the face plate with a sizable bolt.
Step 7: Paint & Stain
Now that your structure is complete caulk all the seams that water can potentially get into with a paint/stainable caulk. Once caulk has dried now you are ready to paint and stain to your desired color theme. I recommend using outdoor paint and stain that also works as a sealer to ensure your paint job withstands the outdoor elements.
Step 8: Fence Build & Installation
Layout the post locations and make a perimeter using boards to make sure that the fence perimeter will be square. Make sure it's square by taking several cross dimensions and using a large builder's square. Now dig and pound in your posts at each location to measure 34in. above the ground.
Between each post take measurements to construct a 30" high frame similar to a picture frame using 45degree miters in each corner. Then using a roll of wire fencing snip out a rectangle to fit inside frame and heavily staple into place centered inside the frame.
Align fence portions in place between posts and use a large level making the top of each frame level and adjust each post so the top is 2in above the fence frame
Now you should have a sturdy perimeter fence with one opening for your gate. If some posts are slightly instable pound in rebar at the base of post then tie off to reinforce.
Step 9: Gate Design
I wanted to make the gate standout from the rest of the design by making it abstract but still strong. To achieve this I aligned sticks in a pattern using 15 and 30 degree angles within the 30in x 30in gate frame opposed to the 45 and 90 degree angles that are consistent throughout the fence and doghouse design.
Once constructed center into opening and attach with two heavier duty hinges and a latch to keep it closed
Step 10: Installation of Gate & LED Solar Post Caps
I used two, more glamorous looking, 4x4 LED solar post caps for the gate opening then around the rest of the fence perimeter I used 2x2 LED solar post caps.
I then used a Landscape solar spotlight to up light the corner dog head statue.
This creates a very nice vibe on the back patio at night with all the ambient light while also giving your dog some light to venture around.
Step 11: Happy Dog
Grand Prize in the
Animal Innovations Contest