Pet palaces on the block at special auction

Facings of America has partnered with some of its best designers and architects for the ninth year for the Design for Dogs event. (Special to the Progress)

For the ninth consecutive year, Facings of America will switch its prized products with some of the swankiest pet palaces around.

The Scottsdale business – which boasts some of finest tile, stone and architectural features in the world – is hosting an auction of uniquely designed dog and cat houses to benefit the Arizona Animal Welfare League.

The nonprofit is state's oldest and largest no-kill shelter and houses over 4,000 pets while funding low-cost vaccine clinics, rural rescue efforts and a community vet clinic.

“Animals really touch everyone's hearts and here's just something about the love an animal can bring you that I think a lot of people can relate with,” said Facings of America spokeswoman Carrie Hamblin, calling the league “an amazing partner with us” that has helped make the dog house auction its biggest fundraiser of the year.

The Arizona Animal Welfare League nearly a decade ago was one of three nonprofits that Facings was considering partnering with. 

“At the time, Facings was going through a little bit of a cultural shift in a positive way,” recalled Hamblin. “We decided that we wanted to do a lot more community service and a lot more charity work, so we polled the staff and asked ‘what are some things that people are into?’ And we chose the Arizona Animal Welfare League as one of three.” 

Eventually, Facings proposed recruiting designers to build state-of-the-art pet palaces that could be auctioned off to benefit the nonprofit. 

“We work with the top talent as far as designers, architects and builders in the Valley. Some of them we've been working with for decades,” said Hamblin.

“We asked them if they wanted to build these pet houses and they spent their own money, got their sponsorships to build the houses and recruited their friends in the industry.” 

Among the 15 participating builders is Phoenix-based designer Sherwood Wang who is returning for his second year and will be the lone solo designer in the showcase. 

“The AAWL was a big part of it since it's such a well-run organization and I know they do a lot of important work in the community for these dogs and cats,” Wang said. “It's always a really good time seeing everyone in the community come together.” 

Wang has spent between 60 and 80 hours crafting a home with complex shapes that fit together almost like a LEGO set. 

He also decided to differentiate himself from the pack by creating a home for cats. 

“This year, we decided to focus on cats, which is kind of an area where hopefully we'll be in front of the few cat houses over there,” Wang said. 

Not only will his design stand out because of its use, but Wang also created three levels in the home for the animals to explore. 

Because of this, Wang hopes to win the best in show and fetch a steep price tag for his home to raise as many funds as possible for the Arizona Animal Welfare League. 

“The goal is to get these houses into homes and have pets enjoy them for that time,” said Wang. 

However, the big goal is to raise nearly $60,000 for the nonprofit — which is especially important as the Arizona Animal Welfare League continues to navigate its way through inflation. 

“We always need the support of our community as a nonprofit since we rely directly on our generous supporters for that funding,” said Arizona Animal Welfare League spokeswoman Kimberly Vermillion. “We don't receive any government funding, so any support that we can get makes it possible for us to do our lifesaving work.” 

In addition to auctioning off swanky pet palaces, the Design for Dogs event will also feature live music, food trucks and the Arizona Animal Welfare League will have animals on site available for adoption. 

Because of this, Hamblin hopes to witness another successful event and see record sales of the homes.

“I hope we have more attendees than last year. We had about 600 people last year and we’re hoping for at least 650 to 700 people,” Hamblin said. “I would also love to see the dog houses go for as much as we can because the designers and builders work so hard and invest so much time and money in building them. That's really what I would love to see.”

If You Go:

Design for Dogs Event to Benefit Homeless Animals

When: 5 p.m. Friday, February 24   

Where: Facings of America Showroom,  16421 N. 90th Street, Scottsdale

Cost: $55 per general admission ticket or $100 for two.   


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