Small space? Limited budget? Think big!

Small space? Limited budget? Think big!

Apr 01, 2005

Adding curves to the reception desk, ceiling treatment, and doorways maximized visual interest in the reception area. A fountain featuring the hospital logo adorns the wall behind the front desk.
One six-hour drive in the spring of 2001 changed the way Dr. Brad Rosonke practices medicine. During a weekend getaway for relaxing and rejuvenating with his wife, Cathy, Dr. Rosonke hammered out nearly all of the details of building their own practice. "We always knew we'd own our own business someday, and on our trip I mentioned that it's something I'd love to do soon," says Dr. Rosonke. "So Cathy and I made a list of 30 things we'd love to see in a hospital from our point of view and from a client's perspective. Then there was no turning back."

The Rosonkes returned from their trip and made a flurry of phone calls. Two years later, Hillside Animal Hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz., opened. And the owners' intention to please clients and team members with a clean, airy, and comfortable practice served them well, attracting new business and earning them the honor of the Best Small Hospital in the 2005 Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competition.

Treats wait at the reception desk for after-exam rewards.
Client-focused design "If a question came up regarding any part of the practice, we'd ask, 'What would our clients want?' to make a decision," says Cathy Rosonke, the hospital administrator. "We really got to know the people we'd be serving, and we took every opportunity to interact with our neighbors. That helped us make our practice the kind of place they'd want to visit."

To better understand their potential clients, the Rosonkes conducted dozens of interviews with area pet owners. "We heard one request loud and clear: Clients want to take their pets to a clean veterinary hospital that doesn't feel impersonal or claustrophobic," says Cathy Rosonke. "They obviously relate the interior design, employees' appearance, and the hospital smell directly to their perception of the quality of care their pets would receive."

Award-winning floor plan
The couple also designed the inside of the practice to look like the homes in the area. "Our hospital might look different from other practices around the country, but the color and design style reflect the homes in the neighborhoods around us," says Dr. Rosonke. "To project a homey atmosphere, we needed to be like the homes we serve."

Area model homes, spas, and resorts served as inspiration for the colors and earthy textures used at Hillside Animal Hospital. Other luxurious touches include transom windows in the exam rooms, large windows in the manager's office and surgical suite, premium chocolates and coffee served in the reception area, an upscale pet boutique, several fountains, and soothing background music.