You'll want to use quality materials if you're going to build a doghouse that stands the test of time and a mixed-breed's rambunctiousness, but we don't expect you to mill tiny moldings and other architectural details. Our builders used many stock materials, readily available at building supply stores, hardware stores, and craft shops. Here are some of our favorite prefab parts.
Adhesive asphalt sheeting: Ideal for weatherproofing the roof, and it can be cut into strips and laid to give the look of shingles. Paint it gray and—voilà!—you've got faux slate.
Lauan, or Philippine, mahogany is perfect for making mini-clap-boards. The ¼-inch-thick sheets, which come smooth and paint-ready on both sides, can be scored with a utility knife and snapped.
Birch plywood: Unblemished and paint-ready, birch ply makes sturdy walls. To build the turret roof on our Queen Anne, we used bendable plywood, available at any good lumberyard or by special order.
Pressure-treated plywood: Strong and weather-resistant, it makes a tough, durable floor.
Lattice strips: ¼-by-1½ inch solid wood lattice makes perfect panes.
Galvanized deck screws: essential for the base of the doghouse, which will endure the most contact with water. Standard steel brad nails are sufficient for siding, moldings, and roofing.
Paint and Caulk
Exterior latex paint: Three coats will protect against the elements. Also, exterior paintable caulk is good for sealing around windows.