A New Hutch for Our House Rabbit, Eames

Our little house rabbit turned 8 this year! Eames was our first pet together, and the first time either of us had a rabbit. He is a joy in our lives, but a ton of work. Before we go into the details of his new hutch, I’d like to point anyone interested in getting a pet rabbit to Rabbit.org. There are a ton of misconceptions about bunny ownership out there. Rabbits are a ten year commitment and are so much more than a cute, furry novelty you keep in a cage.

Live 8-12 years
Make wonderful indoor pets
Not rodents
Should be spayed/neutered
Litter trainable
Have a diet of mostly hay
Require yearly vet visits
Are clean and quiet
Can die of fright
Should not be bathed
Need adequate housing
Need ample time out of housing
Most active at dawn and dusk
Like to chew

When we first made the decision to get a rabbit we realized that hutch options were limited. We wanted something that fit both our aesthetic and a rabbit’s needs, and decided that we would make something. At the time we thought a hacked piece would be easiest, and so the Ikea Besta Bunny Hutch was born. Eames used that hutch as a home base for four years. It was used as a place to keep his litter box, a place for him to be left alone, and a place to keep him out of trouble at night. At the end of its life it looked a little ragged, but it did serve its purpose well. We tossed it when we moved back from Boston to Houston because by that point we had already started his new hutch. We moved around a lot over the years that followed, toting the half finished hutch from place to place. It took an embarrassingly long time to finish, but he has been enjoying it for over a year now. We built it completely from scratch, and utilized things that worked from his old hutch and adjusted those that didn’t. It’s used in very much the same way as his old hutch: a place to keep his litter boxes, a place for him to be left alone, and a place to keep him out of trouble at night.

Instead of a sideboard, we designed this hutch to resemble a cabinet. We referenced two beautiful pieces: the V2 Model from Lindebjerg Design and the Joyce Cabinet from Pinch. We kept the shape and features mostly simple, but used wood slats to create a pattern on each side. This, of course, was directly inspired by the work of Ariele Alasko. The interior of the hutch was created with functionality in mind, and so almost no wood was left exposed. We chose a black penny round tile for the floors, and white subway for the walls. Eames enjoys the cool surface, and it makes cleaning quick and easy. We installed magnets under the tile on the first floor to hold a bar that keeps poop inside the hutch. Upstairs, we affixed urine guards to the wooden border which is itself, replaceable. We paired some new glass knobs with vintage back plates, both painted an antique bronze to match the rest of the metal. The perforated sheet metal is over 50% open, but we almost never keep both doors of the hutch closed. Two exceptions being these photographs, and when we have a young kiddo over and don’t want Eames to be poked or prodded. At night, and during the day if we want Eames in his hutch, we have a length of gate we cut down to fit the opening. He currently uses a platform to access the second story, but we’ll re-evaluate as he gets older. Lastly, we store all of his food and supplies behind the two sliding doors at the top of the hutch.

Daily cleaning of the hutch is simple and involves sweeping hay and poop* and scrubbing tile with a brush and warm water. Weekly cleaning includes cleaning the litter boxes, using a vinegar/water mixture to scrub the floor tile, and wiping down the wall tile. *Rabbits are litter trainable, but still use poop to mark their territory. You can read more about this on Rabbit.org

If you’d like to see photographs of our previous hutch, or progress photos from this one you can find them on this Pinterest board. If you’d like to see the hutch in use and the bun himself you can follow @Eamesthebunny on Instagram. We are opening up comments for this post, and will be happy to answer any questions you might have. Please note that unlike our previous hutch, we do not anticipate ever writing up instructions for this hutch. Also, please keep it kind and constructive!


16 Replies to “A New Hutch for Our House Rabbit, Eames”

  1. We love your bunny house. Do you have more information on building one like it?
    Where did you get your steel grate; we LOVE it?

    What are the dimensions?
    Did you consider having a pull out tray?

  2. Thank you so much Tiffany! Unfortunately, the build was so long and drawn out that we didn’t properly document it. You can see more photographic details of the process on my pinterest board. We sourced the grate locally from a commercial metal supply shop. It was a huge sheet that we cut down to size. It’s a pretty standard decorative perforated metal (Reference#: PD 1004). The hutch itself is 47″ wide, 49″ tall, and 20″ deep. Personally, I do not like pull out trays. Too much time on wire grating can cause sores on bunny feet, and seems generally uncomfortable for them. Eames has a litter box that he uses, and I highly recommend litter training your little one. It’s pretty easy to do. Check out rabbit.org for more info. Thanks again, and good luck!

  3. I love this and am using it as a bit of a guide for converting a midcentury low boy to a hutch for my bun!

    What did you use for the urine guards? Any tiling tips?

    Thank you for sharing this awesome project!

  4. Thank you! We got the urine guards from KW Cages. My only tip for tiling is to have patience, we added the adhesive row by row so we could move at a slower pace. I did notice that there was variation in the tile size so I sorted them into matching sizes. This wont be an issue if you lay them staggered like they come on the sheet. One last thing if you are using dark grout, tape off everything you value in your working space. Your floors, the other parts of the hutch. It gets everywhere and stains everything. Be careful to to wash the grout out too much or it will lose its color. Again, patience is good here. Good luck! I would love to see the hutch when you finish, and your bun too!

  5. I’m not sure, we’ve never used stick on tile before. As long as the seams are tight it should be fine! Definitely much easier to install.

  6. I don’t recall the wood type we used, there was a variety and it was all pretty simple and affordable from Home Depot or Lowes. I believe we used a wood stain mix that was a 3:1 ratio of Minwax Classic Gray and Minwax Jacobean. Wish I could be more help, sorry Ray!

  7. I am currently searching for a home like this for my rabbit and this is inspiring. What did you do to make it? Did you start it from scratch or did you build this based a table or nightstand? One last question: where did you get most of the supplies? I’m guessing you got the food bowl, toys, and litter box from a pet store but I mean the actual structure of the bunny house. This is really cool and inspiring.

  8. Hey Nicole!

    We love this hutch, but we can’t see any images on the pinterest board.. Any chance you could re-upload or supply us with a new link? :)

  9. Hello Nicole, thank you for documenting your journey to create Eames’ home! I love it and I am massively inspired to build something along the same lines. We have two 4 month old miniature lops, Betty and Albus (which I believe to be the same as the Holland lop in America) and it was originally the plan to have them outside. Needless to say, now we have them we really want to keep them indoors with a secondary hutch and run outside for the summer.

    I’m not experienced in furniture making, so this will be a big challenge. I’m a designer by trade, so I feel I have to pick up a pen and design this meticulously but was just wondering if you did the same? I’m very tempted to just collate some inspirational images together and then just start building with some trial and error.

    But anyway, thanks again for this inspiration. The hutch you built is the only one I could find online that I would want in my home and has given my the push I needed to build my own stylish project!

  10. Hi Nicole,
    how does your bunny get down from the top level to the bottom?
    Did you use a ramp or something else?
    We are in the process of making a indoor hutch for our lovely Porsche and stumbled across your beautiful house, what a lucky bunny Eames is. In NZ there isn’t much for indoor bunnies and the hutches are tiny.

  11. Hi Moana, we built a wooden step down for him. Eventually when he got too old and too arthritic we removed the step and just gave him a helping hand. Good luck building your hutch!

  12. Hi Mat, sorry for taking so long to reply to your very sweet message! We were definitely not experienced at furniture making. We did make an original design, but of course things never go quite as smoothly as intended. I hope your hutch building is going/went well. Good luck with your little lops Betty and Albus! We had 11 and half years with our little bud, and he filled our lives with so much joy.

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