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Inspiration, Determination and Service: The BHV Too story

As soon as the leaders at Framework heard Vanessa Calabria’s inspiring story and how she arrived at needing an architect for a new dog boarding facility, they knew there was alignment at the most fundamental level. Her story is one of determination, customer service, and being true to your passion.

  

Vanessa began her career with Barking Hound Village (BHV), an Austin luxury dog hotel, 18 years ago. An animal lover herself, she found a “job” that felt like home. She enjoyed her work and quickly earned a place in management early on. Five years ago, the pandemic threatened many businesses across the country, and BHV was no exception.  Vanessa says, “After COVID hit, I had to lay off my team and then I was laid off. It felt awful and like there may be no way back.”  But as the panic began to subside in 2020, the owners made a shocking suggestion: maybe Vanessa could buy the business. And, the rest is history. 

 

Vanessa is not only passionate about caring for animals, but she also truly cares for those who take care of the animals. “The people that work here are the reason I wanted to come back. I knew we could be stable again and I could help make sure they were safe at work.” So, inspired by ideas and her passion, Vaness bought BHV in August 2020.

 

The next step in the journey was to make the business and facility her own. “I learned a lot about how to run a business and make decisions in real-time. It gave me an outlet during COVID.” Vanessa’s inspiration included commissioning a mural to reflect a refreshed aesthetic, developing a new logo, and designing a new website. All these things were very personal to her and representative of her commitment and dedication to the business, her team, and her clients.

 

Soon after, things at BHV began to pick up. Clients not only came back, but word-of-mouth brought a renewed interest with gusto. In 2022, Vanessa decided to dream – and dream big: what if she opened another location in north Austin? “We found a location right down the street from the place I worked when I first moved here. So, I looked to find a design partner to partner with me to make it our own.”

 

Enter Framework Architects. Vanessa was referred to Framework through a mutual acquaintance who was familiar with their great work navigating messy, complicated adaptive reuse projects. Jeremy said, “We have a strong sense of family at Framework and when we first spoke to Vanessa her care and commitment to her staff and her clients came through. We felt an instant chemistry which made us excited to partner with her on the design of her new facility, BHV Too.”

 

The new location opened in April 2024, featuring hand-built kennels that feel like roomy suites, 65” TVs, hand-painted murals and funky sputnik lights in the kennels, and two connected indoor and outdoor play yards. They even offer “private villas” for those who desire to treat their dog to an upgraded experience. Vanessa also asked the design team to pay special care to the ventilation system to ensure a healthy environment for the dogs. If you ask Vanessa what has led to her growth, she will tell you it was luck, passion, and authenticity. “I became the face of what we were doing with clients and through the years I’ve gotten to know these dogs and know these families. We are all part of a big extended family. It’s great.”



Similarly, Marvin says, “We treat our team and clients like family as well. We define it as ‘family’ in the sense that we value them, their time, and their needs. We demonstrate this by taking constant input on daily tasks and really listening to what the project goals are.” For this project, listening meant achieving the client’s design aesthetic within a tight budget while prioritizing nice finishes and a premium mechanical ventilation system. “We even brought in a civil engineer and planners who dug up 1970s aerial photos to help negotiate a parking compromise with the city of Austin to maximize the outdoor play space, which was important to Vanessa.” 

 


But a partnership is about more than earning trust, it’s about providing exceptional customer service, too. Both Framework and BHV share this as a part of their core values. Jeremy says, “Our logo purposefully includes two pieces that form the triangle representing Marvin and I’s strengths coming together. My discernment and Marvin’s exploration have helped maintain our values and keep innovation and service at the forefront.”

 

As for Vanessa, her clients are not only repeat clients but also leave rave reviews on the company’s social channels like Facebook and Yelp. One recent commentator, Emma D. said, “Vanessa and ALL the staff here continue to showcase flawlessness, year after year. I used to get nervous every time I dropped him and now, I don't even think twice because I know how well he is taken care of.”  When alignment exists between the client and service provider, anything is possible—ask Vanessa, Marvin, or Jeremy.

 

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