So, as you all probably know by now, my boyfriend and me have a house rabbit named Parker. He is incredibly fluffy, hairy, blue eyed, not very intelligent and makes for hours of in-house entertainment.
The reason Parker lives indoors with us, is because we have a massive apartment with lots of space for him to run, stroll and wobble around. Parker is litter trained too, which is amazing. Unfortunately we don’t have a garden, not even a balcony. Whenever we go over to the UK, which is quite often, we take Parker with us and he has a blast playing in my parents in law’s garden. Mind you, that wasn’t always the case: the first ever time we put him on a lawn he didn’t know what to make of it. He didn’t even figure out grass was an edible thing until very recent.
I am planning to write a post about the pro’s and cons of having a rabbit live indoors, with tips and tricks to keep it doable for both, I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet.
I want to dedicate this post to Parker’s house, since it was a very special and fun project to make and his house has a prominent place in our interior.
Building housing for my rabbit.
First of all, I HATE metal fencing, wires, caging etcetera. I hate it with a passion. Ever since I decided to adopt Parker into my house I was sure of one thing: I wasn’t gonna get a regular rabbit cage that looks like a prison, sounds like a prison, not to mention is completely unstylish plasticy and metally. Yuk.
Luckily, I’m a good diy-er and decided to build Parks a house he could sleep and go to the toilet in. I love reclaimed wood and my interior features lots of reclaimed wooden furniture and decoration. I wanted to give the front of the house o little Dutch touch, so I made a ‘klokgevel’, it’s a type of facade you see around Amsterdam for example. I didn’t have to think long about what materials I would use to make his house out of.
A few years back, I was big into manual photography, I used to spend hours in the darkroom when I was at uni. Despite my good intentions, I had a box full of darkroom equipment stored under my bed for ages, which is only collecting dust. I decided to use one of the jumbo sized photo developing trays as a basis for the house. (For all you non-darkroomers: a developing tray is something like a very shallow washing up bowl, but bigger.) The tray is made of plastic, it’s easily washable in case Parker has any accidents outside of his toilet and best of all, it is so shallow I can remove it from under the house without any hassle. No lifting or manoeuvring required.
I took the developing tray as my starting point and size wise I went from there. I used pieces of reclaimed wood to build a sort of box around the tray, I placed it on castors to raise it just enough for the tray to slide under. Inside the box, to add more space I added a little shielded corner for extra dark privacy, bunnies love hiding away. And I added a shelf, which in hindsight was a stroke of genius because Parker loooves chilling on that shelf. Whenever I wake him up in the morning and remove the roof to see how he’s doing he lies there on his chill shelf, like a hairy mermaid, legs out, just hilarious.
It took me a while to figure out what to make the roof out of. I think Parker was too small at the time I first made the house, he wasn’t actually able to jump out yet, which gave me the time to figure out a nice material. I wanted the roof to be light and let light through, but, again, I don;t like metal wiring of any sort.
I ended up using perforated radiator panel, it’s available in any big hardware store. People use it in radiator covering panel builds, it lets warmth through. It’s basically a very thin wood pulp board, plasticised on one side and a pattern perforated into it. There are lots of types of patterns, to go with any interior. I’m not sure about the variation in colours, I only saw white and natural straw. Most hardware stores offer a free cutting service, which is amazing, since the board gets a bit chippy if you attempt to cut it by hand.
So here it is, Parker’s night time mansion.
I’ve been using this house for two years now and still really love it. In the beginning I was afraid it might become a bit unhygienic, because wood is such a porous material and I didn’t want to treat it with anything. But Parker really behaves himself well, he never wees in his wooden shelf bit, nor does he poop there. He has gone through phases where he nibbles on the wood, but that doesn’t bother me.