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DIY dog feeder

How to pamper your pooch (and make your life easier).

Photo: Courtesy of Michael Shively
Shindler Shively and the built-in chow zone designed by his owner, Michael Shively.

Schindler Shively is one lucky dog. When his owner, Michael Shively of Morgante-Wilson Architects, began renovating his Roscoe Village condo in 2009, he made sure to include his now 14-year-old Scottish terrier in the project. “I like to find ways to interact with architecture,” says Shively, who built a 15" x 30" custom feeding area for Schindler into a corner of his living room.

An example of what Shively calls “creature comforts,” the doggie dining area has a faucet right above the water bowl. Refills are a cinch, and gone is the tedious task of cleaning up inevitable spills on the way from the kitchen tap. You can pamper your own pooch—and make your life easier and more stylish—by following these six steps from Shively.

1Build the frame
Corners are less prone to foot traffic and therefore make great locations for feeding stations. Using the four two-by-fours, assemble a frame and fasten each corner with wood screws. Place the frame in the corner.

2Cover the frame
Using wood glue, secure the MDF over the top of the frame. Wrap the bottom of the exposed sides with the baseboard trim and fasten with finish nails. (Shively advises using nails sparingly to make paint touch-ups easier later.)

3Cut bowl holes
Place the bowls bottoms up on the MDF surface and trace around them. Remove the bowls and cut along the circles with a small saw or jigsaw.

4Spackle and sand
Cover all nail holes with spackle and let dry about an hour. Then sand the wood.

Paint the sides and surface. Shively recommends using a roller for the surface. “I wanted a smooth surface so it was easy to wipe up gunk and water,” he says.

6Water works
Installing the faucet is a separate project, for which Shively hired a plumber. There was already a pipe running through the wall, which made the waterspout installation easier and less costly.