Design students build homes for furry friends

William (left) and Joyce (second from left) are pictured in front of their purchased dog house, with the proceeds being donated to the Mountain View Humane Society. Kristin Niert (second from right) and Dr. Joan Dickinson (right) are also pictured.

Interior Design students at Radford University participated in the unusual exercise of building dog houses.

The houses – which were on display outside of the Hulburt Student Center on Feb. 6 – were constructed with the intention of raising money for the Mountain View Humane Society in Christiansburg.

Interior Design students – who had the project assigned during the first week of classes – built the dog houses using mostly donated materials. The students worked in teams to design and construct the unique homes for furry friends.

“It’s quick project,” Associate Professor Joan Dickinson said of the turnaround time. “They did an awesome job. They could choose the breed of dog, which inspired the designs of the houses. They were encouraged to use found objects and materials as well.”

One of the groups used a leftover pallet as the base of their dog house.

“It’s a great project for them to be able to design and build something from the beginning,” Dickinson said. “It gives them a good appreciation for all the various things that they will work with when they start designing.”

One of the groups, comprised of sophomores Allison Bohannon, Kristin Nibert and Erin Childs, built their dog house for one of the most common dog breeds – a beagle. Their dog house was built using environmentally-friendly materials, including passive solar heating and biodegradable elements. 

Allee Phillips, Gabrielle Brickner and Stefanie King pose in front of their handmade dog house.

“The idea was to make sure that the house was stable and secure, while also being sacred – it’s the dog’s home,” Nibert said.

Bohannon said that the roof, which also has sod on it, helps insulate the house. The roof is sealed so that any moisture or liquids will evaporate.

The group sold their dog house to William and Joyce Esterhuizen, who purchased the home for their two dogs - one of which is a beagle - in Floyd.

“We just moved to a property with a large fenced area for our two dogs,” Joyce Esterhuizen said. “I had said how fun it would be to have a nice dog house in there. The first time we watched the local news here, we saw the story on the dog houses. At the end, it was mentioned some might be sold. It seemed like it was meant to be.”

Another group used modern styling as the basis of their dog house. In this dog house, sharp angles and edges comprised the architecture, but the inside was colorful and warm.

Sophomore Allee Phillips said that the dog house was modeled after their dog, a pit bull.

“A pit bull has a hard exterior but the inside is loving and warm,” she said.

The exterior of the house also had a water collection system, which utilized PVC piping to capture water.

“We made the water setup as we went,” said Stefanie King, who also worked on the project. “We had the materials and the tools with which to cut the PVC pipe. We also put carpet along the walls so the dog can rub up against the walls and feel safe.”

The final group member, Gabrielle Brickner, said that the inside of the dog house was warm and loving, just like an actual house.

In the project, students learned how to take a project through the design phase and the building phase – something that each student will do in his or her future career.

Feb 20, 2017
Max Esterhuizen
(540) 831-7749