Close this search box.

Classy doggy dining


Here’s a before and after for you that I had absolutely nothing to do with. The husband gets to take credit for this one.

We have two big dogs. Two very big dogs, in fact. We’re talking massive here (a tumbleweed of hair, such as those that regularly roll across my living despite almost daily vacuuming can be bigger than our cat). About 270 pounds of dogs, if you’re counting.

Because they are tall, we feed them from raised feeding bowls (there is a whole school of thought whether this is actually good or bad for your dogs so if you have big dogs just do a Google search to read about why some people feel one way or the other). But the raised food dish stands are not attractive. And both dogs tend to drink from the same water dish so it was sort of wasted space having four dishes.

The old stands were not doing much for the kitchen decor.

Fortunately my father-in-law was looking for a few woodworking projects and my husband designed a custom dog feeder with three bowls in it for him to build.

Once it was built (and this thing is massively sturdy, which is a good thing because these two are, um, enthusiastic eaters), we couldn’t decide how to finish it. Of course my first instinct is to paint everything white, but that’s asking a lot of white paint. The husband, of course, wanted to stain it. And then inspiration struck in the same place it often does: a bar.

We were in Florida over the winter having a drink at a beautiful teak-and-holly bar. We’re partial to teak and holly because it is the traditional floor on sailboats (even modern ones), and you how I love things that are a little bit nautical but not over-the-top nautical. It also helps that my husband is a master varnisher. During his many years of working on boats he’s done his share of refinishing and he’s pretty darn good at it.

(Quick digression for a funny story: Before we were dating, I sailed a regatta on the boat my husband was managing at the time. I was down below packing a spinnaker with my future sister-in-law, when the boat heeled over rather suddenly and an entire toolbox fell onto the floor, spilling it’s weighty contents. The floor, apparently, had just been refinished by the cute guy I spent the weekend staring at, and my future sister-in-law exclaimed, “Oh no, Richard’s floor!” I sort of remember thinking to myself that ‘yeah the floor looked nice, but heck, it’s a floor on a racing boat, what do you expect,’ and wondering who would spend so much time making it look so nice when stuff like flying toolboxes happens all the time on racing boats.)

The new version looks much better.

Having been appropriately inspired, we looked into buying a sheet of teak-and-holly plywood. Unfortunately we just needed a small piece and most sheets are 8 by 4 feet and very expensive. So the next time the husband was at the boat yard he asked if they had any remnant pieces laying around. And sure enough they had a piece they were happy to sell him for $10.

Cutouts on either side of each dish make it easy to get the bowls out.

He affixed it to the top with epoxy and a whole bunch of clamps, cut out the holes for the dishes (which had already been cut in the main piece by my father-in-law), then varnished the heck out of the top and painted the bottom the same white you’ll find elsewhere in the kitchen.

I love it, and it’s much better than those horrible aluminum stands.

And it passed Hudson and Rita’s test too. Of course that’s a really stringent test. It goes something like this:
1. Does it hold food? Check.
2. Did the people put food in it? Check.


Hudson thinks Rita’s bowl looks more interesting because it still has food in it. Wonder where his went?

4 Responses

  1. OMG – I have been telling my sister for a while we need to figure out how to make her dog bowls look better. She has two great big Mastiffs. GREAT project.

    PS – We grew up with Newfs. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

What would you like to know? Search, or jump to categories below.