A Look Inside the One Tail Adoption Center


The One Tail at a Time Adoption Center is located in Bucktown, not too far from our own front door. The photo above was taken by Heather (the director of the nonprofit and all around pet-saving-badass), and in the couple of months since they’ve moved in, it already looks drastically different! There’s a fence and a yard, with more landscaping to come. The billboard above belongs to the property, too, and we’re polling for a big photo of Junebug. Because, Junebug! (I promise that clicking over will make your whole entire day.)

It’s a pretty dreamy space with great light, an easy flowing floor plan, and a huge yard. HUGE. The photos below were taken during our first brainstorm meeting as the previous business was moving out (which, appropriately enough was also a pet-based business), and some of the things you’ll see in the photos are still in place so that OTAT can still function as we wait for our picks to arrive. Regardless, it’s a blank slate, and it’s so cute.

THE MEET-N-GREET ROOM. The front door leads you into one big main room. This is a multi-purpose space that needs to feel fun, quirky and invigorating! Adoptable pets will meet their forever families here, so you can only imagine the excitable snarfing and tail thumping the One Tail team will hear on the daily. (Can we just live here, maybe?)



  1. The entryway will pull double duty as a merchandise area – where you can buy the world’s best T-shirt (and kibble, doggie treats, leashes and supplements, among other things). This’ll get a really funky treatment and set the tone for the whole Adoption Center.
  2. We’ll need to install a sturdy gate to keep the adoptables safely away from the front door.
  3. This is where the Garbage Sofa will live! We’ll create a conversational area where families can play with fosters and, ultimately, take their first family portrait together. Below is the view looking back at the front door, if you were sitting on the sofa.


Once you’ve come through the soon-to-be gate, you’re in the main space! The light! That loft!



  1. The back half of this room will get a dining table that will be used for signing adoption papers, plus all the administrative tasks that keep a nonprofit running. The door on the left leads to the yard.
  2. Behind this main room is a spacious office.
  3. The loft is empty for now, but it will serve as additional space if any noodles need extra care away from noise and activity.
  4. Bathroom, aka puppy bath central.


A perk of having an actual adorable house is that it’s laid out as if it could be someone’s house, lending a comforting and inviting vibe all around. In addition to two bathrooms and that tucked away office, there’s a great kitchen:


THE KENNEL ROOM. There’s an entire level downstairs, which One Tail will be using as a kennel to bring in as many dogs as possible. The room, while large, does have obstacles (awkwardly placed windows, doors and concrete columns), but it’s incredible to have this space at all for more pups! The walls will get a lively color in a darker, scrubbable finish, and there will be access to open storage for towels, treats and toys.



  1. This wall and the wall opposite will be lined with kennels.
  2. Volunteers will spend a good deal of time down here interacting with dogs, so to keep everyone in the loop, this will be a dry erase wall where they can leave notes and updates for each other.
  3. The area beyond the columns will get a small table and a few chairs (all wipeable!) for volunteers to relax.
  4. Behind the kennel is a big storage room we’ve begun organizing for dog food, leashes, collars, and all those things you need to maintain a house.

THE YARD! Heather had RugZoom come in and install artificial grass for the biggest, baddest doggie play yard of all! Can you even handle? Our Chunk came along one evening to give it a test run, and good girl that she is, she christened it, too.


The best part of working on this project with the One Tail team is allowing ourselves to design a space where we scribble outside the lines! (I think Scott throws out the words gold and hot pink more often than I’d like to admit; love him.) We can take risks and make bolder choices than we would if it was, you know, a residence. With every wacky idea we present, Heather is in. Big stone dog statue? Of course! Bright blue door? Was there ever any other option? And how about this wallpaperYes, please, and thank you.

The main room already received its fresh coat of paint on the walls and trim (game changer), and the wallpaper is happening soon! We have less than two months until they officially open their doors, so it’s full steam ahead.

PS… If you’d like to learn more about the Adoption Center, be sure to visit One Tail, and if you’d love nothing more than to inundate your Facebook feed with the world’s cutest puppies, you can follow them here!

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  • Claire6.10.15 - 8:29 AM

    Kim, I love reading your blog and especially this new project! In college I worked for a large boarding kennel that was kept spotless with the help of a well thought out mop/cleaning station. It was in the same room as the kennels and had hooks for mops and scrub brushes, shelves for puppy-safe cleaning products, and a low faucet and drain for filling the buckets. It was a life saver and something similar may be a good fit for your project. Their website is Can’t wait to see how you lay out the space!

    • Kim6.10.15 - 9:58 AM

      Thanks, Claire, that’s awesome! Now you have me re-thinking everything, ha. We will definitely have to put some systems in place, while also being verrrry mindful of our limited budget. Anything for the pups though!ReplyCancel

  • Brandy Wiggins6.10.15 - 8:46 AM

    Junebug is beyond adorable!!ReplyCancel

  • Steph M6.10.15 - 8:54 AM

    I can’t wait to see how you transform this space. What an amazing project to be a part of! That Junebug is the sweetest! Her photo should definitely be on the billboard :)ReplyCancel

  • Ursula Ellis6.10.15 - 9:57 AM

    So wonderful that you guys are doing this! Also, I can’t get Junebug’s face out of my mind.ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.10.15 - 9:58 AM

      I told you all it would make your day! I could just munch on her muzzle.ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl6.10.15 - 10:41 AM

    Oh my goodness…I am SO excited to see this space along the way. What a wonderful project. And what a fantastic space!ReplyCancel

  • Gretchen Kelly6.10.15 - 11:55 AM

    What a great space! That wallpaper is a great find. Can’t wait to see everything.ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte6.10.15 - 12:25 PM

    This looks amazing! Like Claire, I also worked at a kennel (in high school) that was spotless. I second everything she suggested in terms of ease of cleaning. Where I worked, the floors (especially where the kennels were) could be squeegeeed with trench drains lining one side of the kennels for an easy poop-cleaning sitch. We also had vacuuming installed in the walls so we just had to carry the big vacuum pipe around and plug it into the walls. Realiz that might be unrealistic, but def want to keep ease of cleaning in mind! Maybe check out another excellently rated kennel in your area to see how they do it?

    Good on you and Scott for taking this on! And OMG JUNEBUG :))))ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.10.15 - 1:05 PM

      You guys are so helpful, thank you! I will definitely look into it. The home/adoption center is a rental, so there are limitations on how much we can do (vs. what makes sense), but you guys are awesome for all the suggestions!ReplyCancel

  • Josh | The Kentucky Gent6.10.15 - 2:37 PM

    All the pups look so happy! This post is golden.

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

  • Melissa Arnold6.10.15 - 8:51 PM

    How incredible is that perpetually green yard?! It so speaks to her commitment to the pups that she was willing to put that down for them…! it makes my heart go pitter patter. But then again, so does that wallpaper!ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design6.11.15 - 5:59 AM

    You guys are simply the best! Seriously! And Junebug’s adorable and lovable face brought me to tears! I hope she finds the best home ever.ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.11.15 - 11:12 AM

      No, no, One Tail is the best! They are doing some really great things to strive for a no-kill Chicago!

      UGH, JUNEBUG. So much love for her.ReplyCancel

  • Heather6.11.15 - 1:18 PM

    I love watching this project unfold! It’s such a great cause and I know you guys will make it so quirky and fun!

    Also, Junebug totally made my day :)ReplyCancel

  • Ten6.11.15 - 1:56 PM

    Oh my gosh, this is so exciting! You guys will do some awesome things for them. My two dogs are rescues and I’ve always wanted to get involved with animal rescue, but I live in an apartment so am unable to foster (fostering is something I’ve wanted to do the most). However, I recently was approved for a volunteer opportunity to help a local pet rescue with their website…I’m hoping it all works out.

    Good luck — can’t wait to read more about this. :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.11.15 - 2:00 PM

      Awesome, congrats! That should be a lot of fun!ReplyCancel

  • Kate6.12.15 - 10:19 PM

    I mean really… Junebug. No one should look so cute in a cast.ReplyCancel


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