This farmhouse serves as the residence for the owners of Fox Trot Farm. Located just outside of Rockville, VA, the 30+ acres of land contains an indoor equine center, complete with a riding arena and stables. The owners offer boarding services for horses, as well as riding lessons.
The primary purpose for the project was to construct an addition that would house a mudroom-- to provide a buffer between the interior living space and muddy clay exterior of the farm. The mudroom-addition would also house the owners' two dogs, who were perhaps the main culprits when it came to tracking mud into the house. We also discussed the possibility of a custom designed dog shower, which became the "centerpiece" of the mudroom.
The client also wanted to renovate their kitchen, which was adjacent to the new mudroom. The addition provides room for additional counter space, an expanded living room, a large free-standing breakfast bar, as well as a small covered porch. We updated the gas fireplace in the living room, and constructed a new exterior terrace with contoured retaining walls.
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The idea of constructing a dog shower began as an secondary consideration in the design of the mudroom. The focus of the space would be clothing (boots, jackets, etc.) storage, with sufficient area for the two dog crates. The cleaning area for the dogs would be simple; an isolated corner that was tiled with a floor drain and faucet.
As the design progressed, our site visits revealed just how big of an issue the muddy soil on which the farm was built presented. It was red clay-- a sticky, tar-like substance commonly found in the hills of central Virginia. The clay has a high moisture content, meaning that it gets wet and it stays wet, clinging to everything it touches, with a deep orange hue that will stain nearly any surface. Compound that with dogs and the task of keeping a clean home seems daunting.
It was clear the dog shower needed to become a central element to the mudroom. We expanded the footprint of the addition, and centered the shower in the space. The shower then becomes an enclosed element, fully tiled, with an opening on one side for easy access. A simple eye-bolt allows for the dog to be restrained in place with its leash. In lieu of a conventional shower head, we called for a hose fixture used in commercial kitchens to wash dishes. The fixture hangs from the ceiling, is retractable, and has a push-lever on the hose-end for maximum control. The water pressure it provides is sufficient enough to wash caked clay out of dog hide, without hurting the animal. Standard shower valves located on the adjacent wall provide control for the water temperature.