Let me just start out by saying that I am not in any way, shape or form affiliated with Lucas Arts or Disney. They are not behind this and this is simply my art (ish?) solely to pay homage to a story I’ve come to treasure.
Anyway, almost 2 years ago (sad, I know) I started a journey that would test the limits of my patience, my building skills and my marriage. The conversation started a little like this:
Me- “I should totally build a cat house for Bella and Izzy to hang out in. I’m going to try to make it resemble Luke Skywalker’s house. You know? I’ll just put it on a little pedestal.”
Jamie- “How little? Because we don’t need, or have room for anymore furniture. They already love the 94 inch tall one you built them…and the separate litter box cabinet.”
Me (a little irritated)- “Not very big. Don’t worry, I think I’ll sell it anyway.”
Here’s what happened…
I did make a pretty cute little replica of the house and even built a platform for it to sit in. Getting the smooth texture proved to be a giant pain in the rear, so just this little piece took far longer than I’m willing to admit.
I wanted to mimic the underground construction of the Skywalker moisture farm (just my putting that into writing leaves no doubt as to the depths of my nerdiness, does it?), but make it easy to lift out for cleaning.
I thought about calling it “Catooine,” the wind-swept, desert planet and lovely hideaway for the feline who’s had enough of your human nonsense.
Side Bar- I loved the cat tower that I built for my girls a few years ago and wanted to incorporate some of the conveniences it offered. I also have had several years to figure out what it’s lacking.
Here’s ours again and while my girls never complained, spending hours sleeping up there, I have always regretted not adding a litter box cabinet underneath.
I figured anyone else who has dogs would enjoy being able to feed the cats out of the reach of the canine menace, so I decided to make this one more practical by including a counter top. Since it was a nod to Star Wars (NOT affiliated in any way), I went crazy with shapes. As a result of this, I have been recently (and oft) overheard telling people that, “If I ever build anything that is not a square or rectangle, please slap me. Hard.”
Of course if you’re going to have a 2 tiers, you need an easy way for your cat to reach the top. Rather than add steps, I decided to use the second tier as a nod to The Empire Strikes Back and started building what I hoped would resemble icy paths and an icy cliff. Again, waaaaaayyyy too much time was spent shaping, sanding, tiling, texturing, etc., but I used broken tiles and white grout for the floor and was pretty happy with the results.
I was liking my results, but I remembered regretting not having incorporated a litter box cabinet into mine (rather than building a separate piece), so the bottom was turned into a cabinet.
I should point out that once I deviated from plan A (just the house), most of this was already cooking in my noggin. I just waited to do most of the finish work until after the rough idea was put together.
Well, you need access to the litter box cabinet that dogs and kids can’t access, so a secret entrance, disguised as an ice cave befitting a Wampum, was in order. As were ice sickles and scratching posts, icy glitter along grout lines and a strong, epoxy-type protectant.
And, heeeeyyyy…if tier was is a nod to A New Hope, and tier two was a nod to Empire, then tier three needed to recognize Return of the Jedi!
This may have been the first time that Jamie really started questioning my sanity and I can’t really blame him. I spent A LOT of time on this and I love him for putting up with it. I began to see this more as an art piece and less as a build, taking time to really enjoy the creative process (mostly).
I carpeted the outside for scratching, added “Endor” greenery and also added a tree trunk step to make it easier for older cats to climb. Sadly, a battle must took place during construction and the resulting blaster marks remain.
Tragically, this was around the time that we lost the amazing Carrie Fisher, so I decided to add a little tribute to the woman who reminded us all that even princesses could kick butt…on any planet…and look great doing it.
This is where the Ewok village was born and I can’t bring myself to add up all the hours I spent working in this thing…although, I could shut myself in there and hide sometimes, which was lovely. I loved doing some of the detail work, but the hanging net was my boys’ favorite. FYI- there are NO droids or Wookies in there.
The inside walls were covered in carpeting, with felt accents, and the floor was covered in outdoor carpet for easy cleaning and sanitizing. I put a screen on the back to prevent moisture build up and a magnetic closure door on the front. There is room for a litter box and to store food and extra litter.
I was feeling pretty happy and thinking I could be almost finished, but then my 11 year old told me I couldn’t make this thing without a Death Star. Ugh! He was right.
Thus began another grueling period of forming and smoothing, but after forever, I had my hollowed out canvas.
Figuring what to do on the outside of the space station presented another opportunity for me to sit back for days, staring at the orb I’d grown to hate, plagued by the conflict raging in me…
Side Bar 2- how the “creative process” works in me:
OCD vs. Thinking Outside of the Box
- Need arises
- Idea sprouts
- Anywhere from minutes to days to weeks are spent formulating a plan
- Gather materials and begin
- Think of a really cool add-on or change and spend 1-3 days trying to figure out how to make it happen (this step happens repeatedly during any given project)
- Walk away for days or weeks to avoid being committed to a mental institution
- Implement crazy changes
- Finally finish
- Find original sketches and laugh heartily about the differences between it and the finished product
So, yes, this project was crazy.
Anyhoo, I thought that a yarn ball Death Star had to be the way to go and that a hand carved light saber (which looks more like a pen) would be a great way to keep the Yarn Star from spinning.
By removing the saber, you can grasp the Yarn Star penthouse and pull it up and our for easy cleaning or clearing low doorways.
And, of course, I had to make custom pillows, but you should know that I am a self-taught seamstress.
So that’s how a small cat house became an all in one litter/storage cabinet, counter/feeding area, scratching posts and sleeping areas, know as The Cat Tower around these parts.
It is now listed on eBay, so wish me luck…and thanks for not calling me crazy to my face if you knew what I’ve been doing.
It weighs a lot, but since I’m going to go with local pick up (I may deliver) on eBay, I haven’t tried to weigh it yet. Below are rough dimensions.
A short slide show…
UPDATE- Apparently, the base cabinet of what was almost called “Cattooine” is also a wonderful place for children to hide and eat candy.