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Trendy Living

Article Author: Angie McKaig

Loft-style digs for the hip pampered pooch by Angie McKaig

Buy a Haus today! 

Let's face it, a lot of dog beds and crates just aren't very stylish. There's nothing more awkward than trying to marry a trendy, well-decorated home with a standard-issue dog crate. It's ugly, it doesn't fit, and you spend ages trying to come up with ways to cover it up so it blends more with your home.

Enter Bowhaus, a hip Canadian company with a flair for design and an understanding of the trendy urban lifestyle. They created a hip, fashionable combination crate and dog bed that is pretty to look at and functions wonderfully. It can even double as an side table, which is very important in today's shrinking urban living spaces.

There are two sizes available: Studio Haus, good for dogs up to 20 pounds, and Loft Haus, a larger version suitable for pets up to 50 pounds. Also included is a custom-made crate pad, made from a special stain-resistant fabric.

We recently spoke with Katrina Herrndorf, owner of Bowhaus, about her stunning crate designs.

pp:Why did you decide to create Bowhaus?

kh: The inspiration for the Haus line came when my husband and I were looking for dog crates for our new puppy Chester, the Bernese Mountain Dog. We were discouraged by what was on the market and didn't want to put any of them in our kitchen. It was at that point that we set to work to make one from white laminate board with holes drilled in it and a grate for the door. It wasn't beautiful but it blended in with our contemporary white kitchen. We referred to it as the IKEA crate as it matched some white IKEA storage units in the kitchen.

From there, I began to think there must be many others out there who also want their pet crate to fit into their interior décor rather than looking like an eyesore. Several pet owners banish their crates to basements and back rooms. We believe the location of the crate should be in the living space of the owners. I started sketching and making models of what the ultimate pet crate would look like and that is how the line of Hauses began.

pp:What sets Bowhaus apart from typical crates that most owners use for their pets?

kh: The Haus was designed to be not only functional but to be a chic piece of furniture for the owner's décor. As it doubles as a side table, it has a dual function thus taking up less space in the living environment. The crate should be placed in an area that the owners spend time. We designed the Haus so the owner would want to have it in their living space.

It has a sliding lockable pocket door that becomes invisible when open and is never in the way. The round shape is more organic than typical box style crates - dogs (and cats!) love curling up inside. Metal crates are very transparent and it is recommended you place a cover over as the furry dweller prefers a darker interior. The Haus, while being well ventilated, is more of a den-like space for the animal offering good visibility and more of a feeling of enclosure.

pp:Do you find more customers use it as a trendy bed, an actual crate, or both?

kh: We find people use it for both purposes. It was designed with puppy training in mind but many adult dogs have become residents of the hip Haus. Several cats also have become proud owners of the Haus as well.

pp:Did you design Bowhaus yourself?

kh: I did design the Haus myself. The finished product is very similar to the early sketches and models I made before I started the company. To realize the design as a product was more involved and complicated than I had anticipated. Not only does the Haus need to look good, it needs to be functional, safe, and be able to be disassembled!

I worked with Don McGoldrick, the owner of a company called Rabbit's Choice. It is a set design and manufacturing company that does sets for shows such as Joseph and his Technicolor Dream Coat and Hairspray to name only a very few. Don also worked with Umbra prototyping the Garbo garbage can designed by Karim Rachid. They also designed and built an award winning trade show booth for Umbra.

pp:How did you come up with the design?

kh: I got a lot of the inspiration from where the dogs actually went or lived. Also, I wanted to incorporate some places like: a car, a plane, and a cafe because those locations just seemed natural.

I wanted the design to be functional but look cool. I had the idea that the crate could double as a table top. The sliding door was important as the doors of typical crates are often in the way when opened.

The round shape came from watching dogs and cats circle before they lay down. Apparently this action goes back to their ancestors who would circle a few times before laying down to even the ground and create a comfortable place to lie. It was important that the crate be well ventilated and the perforation pattern needed to be a pattern of circles in keeping with the overall design.

I am also a big fan of the designs of the 50's and 60's and I think the Haus would be as at home in that environment as it is in contemporary interiors of today.

pp:Do you have a background in design?

kh: I have a degree in Architecture and have worked for architects and interior designers. I also have a big passion for dog furniture and industrial design and have always wanted to design furniture. Now I am living my dream and including my precious puppy in the dream.

pp:Who would benefit from a Bowhaus?

kh: Any individuals who have a passion for their pets and a keen interest in design. The typical Haus owners tend to be an urban professionals who like to make their living environments stylish yet comfortable. Their pets are very important to them and are integral parts of their lives.

pp:What's the most rewarding part of running Bowhaus?

kh:I have to say the wonderful feedback from happy customers and retailers who are so pleased that we have developed a product that makes them enjoy their lives with their pets more. As my husband once said to me, in a small way I have changed the world and what a pet crate can be. I think this sounds much to magnificent but it is quite a thrill to create something that people (and pets!) enjoy.

pp:Why do you think there has been such an increase in demand for luxury dog products & services in the last 10 years?

kh: I think several people are getting pets instead of children or at least before they have children and several people whose children have left home, are getting pets to fill the void. Therefore, pets are playing a more important role - they are a real member of the family. Also, people typically have more disposable income these days and they love to shower their pets with gifts.

Design is also more accessible to the average person today and more people have an interest in it. There are more and more design shows, magazines and events. Several new design stores have opened and several large stores now have "home" versions or sections. It makes sense that pets be included in this design wave as pets require equipment, toys, etc. Why not have this pet gear look good and fit in with the interior décor?!

pp:What plans do you have for the future of Bowhaus? New designs? New products?

kh: We have several product ideas and we are currently working on the prototype for one of them. We plan to continue to produce to pet equipment that is well designed and complements interior décor.

pp:Tell us a little about Chester.

kh: Chester is a wonderful Bernese Mountain Dog. Ironically, he was the inspiration behind the Haus but we have yet to make one for his size. He is loved by one and all in the dog park and around the neighborhood. He is a small Bernese (85 lbs.) but he is gorgeous and very active. He is a bit of a rake and has several girlfriends as well as best buddies.

Tess DiMarco, the Bowhaus model, is one of his favorite girlfriends. She comes and hangs out at our house and goes for walks with us all the time. She and Chester love to wrestle and play tug of war (he often lets her win). Even though she is much smaller, she wears the pants in the relationship.

Getting Chester has changed our lives. I think pets make us better people.

For complete information regarding Bowhaus, visit

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