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Our Laguna: It was a dog-eat-dog competition

August 25, 2011|By Barbara Diamond

Designed by former Design Review Board member Leslie LeBon and built by Tom Simpson, the "Cattage" could serve as a model for a Laguna charmer. It featured catnip growing in window boxes, a cat weather vane, a feather toy on the front porch — yes, a porch, not a deck — scratching post columns and signs that read "Dogs have masters, cats have staff" and "What part of meow don't you understand?" Inside was a soft bed for lazy felines.

Architect Anders Lasater and contractor Al Oligino came up with "A dog's house for a dog's life." A partially shaded, comfortable bed provides is an inviting place for a pet to relax after working like a, well, like a dog. Water and food bowls are nearby on a finished wood deck.

The message is "Come play with me! Sit on my bench! Stay for a while!"

"Rascal House," designed by Daniel Martinez and built by Robert Carey is a Craftsman-style home, fit for a prized pet, with a front porch and interior living space with a comfy dog bed.


Kirk Saunders designed a modern, whimsical, wooden structure with an angled metal roof — a doggie spa in which your pet can relax.

Saunders and his son, Rory, built the pet house.

"The pet house project was the brain child of Nancy Pooley," said Caroline Haines, founder of the pet parade and cook-off. "Last October, I got the domain name. Originally it was ProjectDogHouse, but Leslie called and said she didn't have a dog. So I changed the name.'

Oligino was the first contractor Haines contacted, testing the waters for reaction and guidelines.

"I asked Al how he would do it and he said had worked with Anders," said Haines. "That gave me the green light to go to Morris, whom I have known for a long time. He said it was a no-brainer and gave me the name of eight architects who might be interested in participating."

The houses can be viewed at Tivoli Too or online at

Online bidding has begun and will continue until 5 p.m. Sept. 9. Absentee bidding by proxies will be accepted at the live auction, at the Pet Parade/Cook-off, which Haines will co-chair with Gary Boisen, incoming board president, who also co-chaired the unveiling.

Proceeds from the auction and the Sept. 11 event will benefit the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter and the Blue Bell Foundation for Cats.

"The building of these pet houses will give us the opportunity to raise more money for the charities and give the exposure of the generosity from our local architects and builders," Haines said.

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