Beauty on a budget

Beauty on a budget

Careful negotiations and creative solutions give this veterinary practice loads of charm at a reasonable cost.
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Jun 01, 2015

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the owners of Country Club Veterinary Clinic in Lake Charles, Louisiana, must feel downright honored. This start-up practice, the first new veterinary facility in the area in nearly 30 years, has a host of admirers. “One lady even copied part of our reception area, right down to the wall color, dog statues, mirror and chest in her own home,” says co-owner Dr. Martha Briley. “Our receptionist keeps a can of paint nearby, since she is asked for the exact color so often, she can just show it to admirers.”

Exterior: Going for a French Acadian style to fit their Louisiana surroundings, the doctors used lots of brick with a copper awning. Iron accents, garden fountains, and welcoming landscaping complete the look. “We really wanted the copper awnings over more of the windows, but had to cut those for cost,” says Dr. Briley. “This is the modern style of the area, and we wanted to fit in with our neighborhood.”

 


To Dr. Briley, who grew up around mixed-animal veterinary practices with her veterinarian father and godfather, having a “pretty” practice that didn’t look or smell like an animal facility topped the list of requirements. She and co-owner Dr. Christine Mocklin designed with aesthetics top-of-mind, while keeping a tight start-up budget in place.
To achieve the glass mosaic wall feature that is prominently displayed in the reception area, a feature Dr. Briley calls her “wall baby,” she bargained with the wholesale distributor of the expensive tile. “The tile is sold mostly as accent tile, not for doing an entire wall, so it’s quite pricey,” she says. “When the company learned what I wanted to do with it, they gave it to me just over cost, in exchange for a picture of the finished wall for them to show future clients what can be done with their tile.”


The doctors also saved money without skimping on beauty by using stained and scored concrete in the reception area only, with regular stained concrete throughout the rest of the practice. “I didn’t want the orangey-colored concrete that you often see in restaurants, so our contractor mixed several brown shades for us to choose from,” says Dr. Briley. “It looks more upscale without the extra cost.”

Décor to be admired: The reception area is Dr. Briley’s pride and joy, with a glass tile mosaic feature wall. A staff member sits just behind the wall to make phone calls and keep an eye on the area. The wall highlights the practice name and logo (1), and sets the stage for an upscale veterinary visit. The back of the wall has shelving (2) for additional storage out of sight.


In the end, the doctors built the hospital they dreamed of—light, open and pretty—for only $120 per square foot. That’s much less than they were originally told it would cost, and they couldn’t be happier with the result.

Focus on design details

Pretty, but budget-conscious details: Poured concrete in dark brown with scoring (1) dresses up the flooring in the reception area while remaining budget-friendly. Blue-gray and butter yellow tones accent the walls (2), along with homelike accents. A local artist created canvas paintings (3) for the reception area. “We used more real décor in the hospital (4), not just posters, models and other veterinary materials,” says Dr. Briley. She’s also a firm believer in carrying colors throughout the hospital, instead of stopping beyond the client spaces. “A can of paint costs the same, whether it’s colored or sterile white,” she says. Feel free to add a splash of color to your back-of-house areas to make them your own, like they did with the surgery room (5).

Click here for a photo tour of Country Club Veterinary Clinic.


Sarah A. Moser is a freelance writer and editor in Lenexa, Kansas.