A local tradition that brings building design professionals and dog lovers together for a good cause returned to the neighborhood earlier this year.
The 8th annual Design for Dogs event was hosted by Facings of America, a tile and stone distributor based in Scottsdale. The organization started the fundraiser in 2015 to benefit the Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL).
While food and drink, music and raffle prizes were part of the event, all eyes were on the Designer Doghouse competition, which included 11 design and build teams tasked with creating a custom doghouse to attract the attention of judges and furry friends alike. These luxurious abodes were auctioned off to raise money to support AAWL rescue programs, adoptions and vaccine clinics.
Local architects, builders, engineers, and interior designers were invited to join in the fun. A few local businesses often partner up as one team, putting their heads together to produce an eye-catching custom pet palace.
That was the case for the 2022 Design for Dogs Best in Show winner: Doghouse of Form. The inspiration of modern architecture was brought to life by interior design firm House of Form and woodworkers at Material Matters. The fancy retreat made the biggest impact on the judges and ultimately went to a sweet pup named Rocky.
Although Doghouse of Form stood out in the judges’ eyes, there was plenty of worthy competition, including second-place K9-Kuma by Space Bureau and Kaidence Group and third-place Pied-A-Pooch by Lauren Jacobsen Design and NorthLight Construction.
HAUS, the custom doghouse made by nvk design, SlabHaus, and Swell Fab, received the People’s Choice Award.
In her first time on the Design for Dogs judging panel, local food and travel author Christina Barrueta faced the tough task of evaluating the designs alongside co-judges Peter Deise, L.A. Eidson, and Feras Irikat. The judges were given a list of criteria and features to score, including design, creativity, sustainability, and usefulness.
“There was a striking design that scored high in other aspects, but the judges felt that the inside space may have been a little too small,” Barrueta said. “There were also dog houses that companies described as being designed for outdoor use, but we felt there were materials or elements that wouldn’t do well with prolonged exposure to the weather.”
Attention to detail, creativity and craftsmanship were the key features judges found in the winners, which offered an ultra-comfortable, stylish and functional space for canines.
“Each had elements that may not have been readily apparent to the naked eye, but we learned about those when talking to the designers and builders,” Barrueta added.
With another successful Design for Dogs contest in the books and $55,000 raised for AAWL, organizers and participants are already getting inspired for next year’s contest.
“All involved, especially the Facings of America team, were welcoming and enthusiastic and made the judging process and fundraiser an entertaining experience,” Barrueta said. “It’s a fun and interactive way to put a spotlight on such a worthy cause while also celebrating our community of talented designers and industry professionals.”