Snow Buried Dog House
This is admittedly a rather fancy dog house. Our livestock guardian dogs use it, sometimes, but I don’t believe they appreciate the elegant architecture or craftsmanship that went into making it. Truth be told, I wasn’t making it fancy for them. The dog house was a practice structure for building our cottage. By building a small version we could test ideas out and figure out techniques. The dog house is just 16 sq-ft, much smaller than our spacious cottage at a whopping 252 sq-ft.
That front entrance arch on the dog house is the first time I had ever done a real brick arch. It came out pretty well and in the process of doing it I figured out the little trick of using a field stone for the key. Once I got the skill I then made brick arches inside of our cottage for the doorways of the bathroom and the bedroom as well as an elegant planter arch dividing the shower from the toilet over the glass wall. Practice makes perfect.
We had practiced making concrete barrel vault roofs on several animal sheds and models before we did the dog house and cottage. One of those structures is now bermed in the ground as a grower pig den with soil over the roof. Our dual 1,025 gallon whey tanks sit on top of that. They weigh about 16,000 lbs plus another several tons of footer for the tanks – a proof of concept for when we’ll eventually be berming our house. I’ve also driven our tractor, with a full load, over that roof. It’s strong.
The roof of the dog house is actually a triple layer concrete barrel vault, just like the cottage. The inner layer is steel and a thin hard coat of dense PVA fiber concrete. This was covered by a couple of inches of very light weight concrete to act as insulation. On top of that we did another thin hard coat of fiber concrete and then a cement wash. This produces a roof with both insulating and thermal mass properties. We used Aqron in the mix. The result is it can rain on the roof but the inside plaster of the dog house stays dry. Oh, did I mention that I did a white plaster parge on the dog house’s cathedral ceiling? Actually, I only did half of it since I was simply learning the techniques. After I finish it, someday, we just need to be like Michelangelo and give it a fresco.
Currently the concrete dog house is buried in a snow drift with just the entrance clear. That lifts the wind up and over it making for a very comfy space. We have several other stone dog houses and spaces the dogs can get in out of the weather if they want. Despite these luxurious accommodations you will normally find the dogs snuggled into the lee of a high point on a snow bank where they can watch the world go by. Location, location, location.
Outdoors: 19°F/6°F Very windy and Snowy. 26″ last night with wind drifts to 9′
Farm House: 39°F/35°F
Tiny Cottage: 63°F/55°F