Palm Springs Kitty Scratch House (OMG!)

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) If you have pets of any kind, you already know the struggle between pet items that are necessary to have around but are not necessarily your favorite thing to look at everyday. I realized that we had a “scratcher” cat pretty quickly once we got our second cat Mac. At some point I noticed that more and more often he’d been trying to scratch up different rugs or furniture pieces. He needed an outlet for his animal instinct to sharpen his claws—a scratcher! I originally made this scratching post for him, which he used right away (which thrilled me of course), but after only a few weeks, he wouldn’t use it anymore and back to the floor and rugs he went. I eventually realized that different cats have different scratching “preferences”, and he likes to scratch in a horizontal position the best (rather than up a pole). So I got him a scratcher that sat on the floor, and he used it several times a day for months. I could tell how much he loved it.

The only thing I didn’t love was the look of having the scratcher out in our living room (near the rug he usually liked to scratch on the most). I bought one that was shaped like a little cardboard house (the cutest one I could find), but, eh, it just looks OK for something that sits in my living room. One day when I was lamenting and wondering how I could improve the little cardboard house, I realized that instead of adding to that house, I should make the perfect house (A PALM SPRING HOUSE) for his scratcher instead! If I built a wooden structure that would fit a standard scratching pad, I could replace the pad as needed but keep the adorable house forever! Problem solved.

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) Supplies:
-½” thick plywood sheets
-craft paper for template
-jig saw
-ruler
-clamps
-wood glue
-nails and hammer
-paint of choice for house
removable wallpaper (optional)
scratching pad insert
-balsa wood
-X-Acto knife and cutting mat
-metal wire and small wooden ball
-hot glue gun

First, I had to decide what shape of house I wanted. There are lots of cute Palm Springs house shapes, but I thought a slightly asymmetrical ranch style would work best for this project. Since Mac already has a scratch house, I took a look at his current house to get an idea of the minimum measurements the house and opening would have to be (once I knew it was a size he would fit in, I could adjust the shape aesthetically from there). I used some craft paper to mark out the minimum size the front of the house would have to be, and then proceeded to add the house details from there. I knew I wanted the side opening to be 9.5″ tall and 7.5″ wide and the floor of the house had to fit the 9.5 x 17.75″ cardboard scratching insert. When thinking of how tall to make the sides of the house (so that the roof would still be tall enough for Mac once completed), I also had to take into account the thickness of the 1/2″ plywood piece for the floor of the house and the scratching pad height as well.

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) Since the house is too big to give you a template, I’ll give you the dimensions of the pieces instead.

A. 19″ long and 12″ at highest peak and 9.5″ at the lower peaks (back wall)
B. Same but reversed and with windows cut (front wall)
C. 9.5″ x 9.5″ (closed side)
D. 9.5″ x 1.75″ (piece on open side to keep scratcher in place)
E. 18.5″ x 9.5″  (bottom)

Once I had the pattern for each piece, I used my handy dandy jig saw to cut out each piece. JIG SAW TIP: To make a straight cut with your jig saw, clamp a ruler to your wood (parallel to the line you want to cut) so the metal side guide of your saw can run right up against it and give you a perfectly straight line.

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) When my shapes were cut, I lined up all the pieces to make sure they fit together, and then used wood glue and clamps to glue the pieces together. Once the glue was dry, I nailed each piece into place. It’s a little hard to describe in words exactly how the parts fit together, but seeing the photos should make it self-explanatory.

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) You can see that I added a recessed front door area simply by cutting out a strip from the front piece a few inches wide where the door should go and adding another piece behind it that was slightly wider than the opening. Pretty neat, huh?

When I went to cut the two pieces to make either sides of my roof, I realized that by making the roof “slightly asymmetrical”, I had apparently made the job of creating the roof a lot harder. If I had made the roof a right angle, I could have had the two boards join up quite nicely with one simply overlapping the other where they came together, but an odd angled roof sent me down to my miter saw to try and figure out what weird angle I had created to try and get them to meet up. I eventually got close enough, but it took a few tries!

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) I wanted to add some removable wallpaper to the inside of the house to make it feel more finished, and I should have added the wallpaper before I nailed the roof on. Whoops. Made my job a lot harder later! Once my roof was glued and nailed on, it was time to paint! I chose Valspar Tea Rose and Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray for the paint colors and worked on making and painting some window frames and a door out of balsa wood in between coats.

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) Once all the paint was dry, I glued the windows and door to the house and made a tiny globe light for the entryway out of a wooden craft ball and some metal wire? I just painted the ball and drilled a small hole into the ball and into the underside of the roof for mounting (a little super glue in each hole will keep it in place). Such a cute detail! I also painted some pin heads gold, cut the pins in half and hammered them into the front door for tiny doorknobs.

My house was almost done, but what’s a Palm Springs house without some giant agave plants flanking the front door, right? A few pieces of balsa wood later, I had the entryway of my dreams!

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) I measured and cut a little notch into the scratching pad (because of the recessed entryway), inserted the pad, and my scratch house was in business! Now, where’s Mac to test it?

How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) How cute is this!?! Palm Springs style scratching house (click through for tutorial) Can you even with this house!?! The pink exterior, the wallpaper inside, the hanging globe light and agave—I love it all! As you can see, Mac totally approves of the house, and it’s extra adorable when he takes naps in the house in between scratching sessions. He thinks he lives there. Obviously this is now totally something I don’t mind having out in the main living space for all to see. So I would consider this project a success for sure. My only problem is that Mac keeps complaining about the lack of a kidney-shaped pool in the back (to drink out of, of course). So I may have to start on an expansion soon! Would your little kitty like one of these? xo. Laura

 Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • I’m totally going to make this for my fur babies! I have a few questions for you.
    1. How much plywood did you buy totally for the whole project?
    2. What are the dimensions for the windows that you cut out?
    3. What are the dimensions for the roof? I didn’t see it when I was reading up top or I might have just missed it.

    Thanks so much for posting!!

  • Why not add replaceable cardboard scratchers to the roof? My cats love to stretch and scratch

  • almost makes me want to have cars again. my daughter was the cat person and she grew up. but I do have a 5 pound poodle… hmm.

  • Okay this looks absolutely fantastic!!! Why hasn’t anybody manufactured and sold something like this? But oh well, a DIY is always better. This is too cute!

    http://annescribblesanddoodles.blogspot.com

  • I was thinking the same thing about my dogs then realized they’d never use it 🙂

  • Joanne said it best (the Japan comment). I never comment but this is just the most ridiculously crazy + cute thing ever. I don’t have a cat but this is simply perfection. Hilarious.

  • The wall paper and the hanging globe! You went ALL OUT! This is super cute!

    Julie, http://www.xfallenmoon.com/

  • Laura- how did you read my mind?! This is amazing. You have some serious style and skills. It’s so hard to pick a favourite out of your amazing library of projects (seriously AMAZING) but I think this is (dare I say it) the best. Maybe add a little Jonathan Adler-esque sputnik fixture, seems like Mac and Charlie appreciate good design. Hold my spot for when these go into mass production (because they should!). I’m gushing, but this is TOO cool.

  • Aghhh so cute! Now that it’s made do you find it tall enough for your cat to use? I might like to make something like this and just curious how well size wise yours is working out 🙂 love the palm springs theme!

  • this is amazing. now can you please figure out how to make the litter boxes cute? 😉

  • Wauw, sooooo beautiful! What a nice DIY!! If I didn’t have a nice house for my bunnies yet, I would make one like this 🙂

  • This is unbelievably cute. As soon as I saw the title I knew it was going to be a Laura post!

  • How adorable is this?! I wish my car would appreciate that but she’d probably prefer the box.

    Oh well!

  • Can I just say how amazing this is? My friends think I am super kooky because things JUST like this bug me as well. Why would you want to look at something ugly or unattractive when you could look at something that actually brings you joy? SUPER cute!

  • We are so inspired. Thank you. Kindly visit our blog www.magholiving.com

  • that is so cute!!!! my cat refuses to use her scratching post, but the back of my chair is her favorite spot. lol

  • Laura this is the BEST! Definitely going to make something similar for my kitty. I might ammend slightly to match her decor preferences, which are slightly cozy cabin if I am feeling her vibe right. Maybe some faux sheepskin & stained wood shingle siding if I can pull it together. Thank you for the incredible inspiration!!

  • this is probably the most amazing thing i’ve ever seen posted on abm. i love it!!! so adorable 🙂

  • What an amazing idea! This is so perfect! If I had a cat, I would totally make one. 😉

    xx Hannah // www.HomemadeBanana.com

  • This is such an adorable idea, I love this so much, even if I don’t have a cat!
    https://www.makeandmess.com/

  • Super laura!!!! love the color tones and the globe light. You are so talented

  • OMG I love this, I just sent it to my bf, hopefully it will inspire him to make a scratcher for our cat.

  • This is so impressive! I love, love, love it! You guys are always inspiring…but this…I die. SO GOOD!

  • I can’t even… by FAR my favourite DIY on this entire site – and that’s saying a lot!

    More please?? Like seriously – this is glorious. I need to do it for my cat…

    x // http://eliseandthomas.com/

  • I’ve found that whenever I put time, effort, or money into a cat toy or piece of furniture, the cats instantly hate it. They can tell you want them to use it and they refuse out of spite.

  • OMG!!!! I had a similar idea to this a while back! I want to make a little house to hide my house bunnies’ litter box! Thank you for posting this. Now I have a point of reference. I absolutely love what you have made!

  • Oh my gosh this is so adorable! I love it! Thanks for sharing!

    Elainea
    toast the girl almighty

  • Must add catnip! Then the cats will NOT be able to resist this cute abode!!!

  • This is the cutest project ever. The wallpaper is the best! I loved.
    🙂

    http://www.loveandeverythingblog.com

  • This is so cute! I will have to do this when I get a cat (one day!)

    Laila from Townhouse Palette

  • The pictures of Mac inside are killing me!! This is amazing Laura, my cats are totally jealous.

  • What a wonderful idea but as I havent’t a cat I think it is my kidoos tha would like to play with!

  • Oh my gosh!! I don’t currently have a cat, but I feel like I should buy one just to make this scratch house a reality in my life. It is too adorable

  • Omg! This is the cuteat cat house/scratcher ever! I am always so amazed by your ideas! I am so going to try this for my Ninja kitty. Love!

  • OMG this is so cute I wish I could make one for my dog to LIVE in! He’s 55 pounds so that’s PROBABLY not gonna happen but…

  • This is a level of ridiculously adorable that only the Japanese can top. I love it. However, my cats know what they’re meant to scratch, and what will get them a sharp “HEY! NO!” from me, and they must like the sternness of my words, because they will ALWAYS go for the thing they’re NOT supposed to scratch 😉

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