Little Dogs Live Large in Their $22,000 Doggie Mansion
HAHA Check this out. I think my doggie needs a Mansion now too. Xx
Tammy Kassis's three little dogs are so happy in their 11-ft.-tall, designer-decorated, French Victorian mansion that she says her $20,000-plus purchase was worth it.
Nothing is more important to Kassis then the health and happiness of her 4-lb. Yorkies, Chelsea, 15, and Coco Puff, 10, and Pomeranian Darla, 14.
"When we first bought a Victorian home in a rural area of Temecula, Calif., I took my dogs out onto our five-acre property to potty and an owl almost got them," Kassis, 47, a real estate agent, tells PEOPLEPets.com. "I feared they would be prisoners in their own yard, and I wanted a little house for them that would replicate ours. So I did some research."
Kassis discovered Alan Mowrer and Michelle Pollak, partners in a building and design company that creates mansions for dogs. Mowrer, whose Denver-based company is called La Petite Maison, builds the houses, and Pollak, who owns The Lollipop Tree, Inc., in Charleston, S.C., designs them.
Together, they built Kassis a gray and white, 8-ft.-by-10-ft. doggie manse with a turret, vaulted ceiling, fan, air conditioning, heat, television, hardwood floors, white picket fence, porch and doorbell.
"Ten people can stand in Tammy's doggie mansion," Pollak tells PEOPLEPets.com. "It is elaborate and fancy, just like Tammy wanted. She even asked for designer doggie beds."
Pollak loves designing handcrafted homes for pampered dogs. They can range from $6,000--$35,000 for French chateaux for French poodles, Mission styles with stained glass for Chihuahuas, and Swiss chalets for Bernese mountain dogs.
"I designed Rachel Hunter a Spanish hacienda that matched her house for her chocolate Lab, German shepherd and doberman," says Pollak. "It has turrets and a light in each tower, lots of wrought iron and much Spanish influence."
Some mansions have crystal chandeliers, wallpaper, expensive molding, white marble or granite floors, hand-painted bricks and enclosed patios.
Pollak especially likes those clients who rescue dogs from shelters then build them little homes on their properties. One family in southern California asked Pollack and Mowrer to add to a Victorian dog mansion they had created because of the needs of a new rescue.
"The new dog was disabled and had special needs for getting around so we remodeled to make it work," Pollak says. "It was very rewarding."
Although the sluggish economy has slowed down their business, Pollak is pleased that she has been getting calls from as far away as Asia, inquiring about building doggie mansions.
"Our clients are not really affected by the recession but out of respect to their friends who were, they had curtailed spending on some things," Pollak says.
The slow economy even pushed Donald Gorbach of West Palm Beach, Fla., out of the business for a while. His Doggie Mansions company, started in 2006, with prices ranging from $10,500 to $100,000, had been put on hold. But Gorbach is charged about recent requests.
"Things are looking up, and we are hoping to relaunch the business," says Gorbach, a Palm Beach real estate broker. "Requests are coming by phone and email."
His team has designed Key West style cottages with white wood trim and porcelain tile floors covered in a herringbone pattern; country estates painted in light yellow with cherry wood details and Saturnia tumbled stone floors highlighted by an Oriental rug; Tuscany mansions with barrel tiled roofs, stone, and archways with white columns; and urban brownstones designed with chocolate brown leather sofas and framed family portraits on the walls.
"If owners live in a beautiful home, why shouldn't their dogs?" Gorbach said in 2006. "In an era where dogs travel via private jet in Louis Vuitton carry-ons, dine on gourmet cuisine and spend weekends at posh country camps, why not build them a beautiful custom home on your property?"