Does Fido need a built-in dog bowl? With many still working from home, homeowners are installing built-in features. Here’s why.

Demand for built-in features like banquettes, cabinets and even integrated dog bowls is a hot trend in today’s housing market. Homeowners are incorporating the features in creative ways to maximize their space and address new needs as they continue working from home.

Karina Vega-Gonzalez, a tax accountant, and Raul Gonzalez, a computer engineer, incorporated several built-in features into the single-family home at Lexington Homes Parkside of Glenview they moved into in November. Vega-Gonzalez had a redesign done for the built-in pantry. In place of basic white shelves, she added cabinets, shelving, backsplash and quartz countertops. The pantry features are made of the same materials and color as the kitchen.

“I wanted it to feel like part of the kitchen, to be aesthetically pleasing and functional,” Vega-Gonzalez said.

In the kitchen island, she added extra storage space and replaced cabinets with drawers to make it easier to access items. The bathroom includes storage towers by the double vanities. The laundry room includes floor-to ceiling cabinets.

Vega-Gonzalez is not alone in her quest for additional storage space. Many of the clients Evanston-based Morgante Wilson Architects work with are looking for built-ins that integrate shelving and storage, said Bob Zuber, junior partner. The firm designed a Christmas tree storage cabinet for one client and a 14-foot curved banquette for another.

“We’ve done TVs that pop out of cabinets, even the floor and ceiling,” he said.

“Built-in banquettes — souped-up benches that are upholstered and very pretty” are also popular, Zuber said. Banquettes are being incorporated into living rooms, game rooms, bedrooms, home bars and even underused areas such as alcoves beneath staircases, he said.

A built-in buffet option is available at Lexington Homes new Timberleaf townhome development in Roselle. The buffet runs the width of the room.

One of the models in Belgravia Group’s new 72-unit luxury condominium development, Triangle Square Condos, in East Bucktown showcases a recessed banquette bench that minimizes the footprint taken up by a dining table set. It is surrounded by custom cabinetry.

Clients want more versatile spaces, said Lauren Amt, an architect at Chicago-based Searl Lamaster Howe Architects.

“They are cleaning up space, changing the environment,” and they want the storage of items to be easy and composed, she said.

To keep kids from dumping backpacks, sports equipment and shoes on the floor, built-in mudroom storage features are being requested, said Nicole Semple, principal and an architect at Semple + Rappe Architects in Chicago. And clients are asking for multiple laundry locations, including space close to the mudroom where they can quickly toss in dirty items right at the main back door, she said.

In the kitchen, clients are adding coffee and beverage stations, and microwaves are being hidden away in cabinetry and drawers. Built-in kitchen appliances with panels that match the rest of the kitchen cabinetry are also popular. Home buyers want a seamless smooth flow, Semple said.

Meanwhile, pet lovers are opting to better accommodate their dogs. In place of dog bowls and cages, dog owners are choosing built-in kennels in cabinets and built-in dog bowls, Semple said.

The pricing of built-ins runs the gamut.

“We had a carpenter build a bookshelf for a client out of standard lumber, and that was $1,000,” Semple said.

It had space for a television and books and was designed to maximize family room space.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, buying a subzero refrigerator with integrated panels could be a $12,000 endeavor inside of a $100,000 kitchen, she noted.

Television shows emphasizing organization systems in the home are helping drive today’s built-in trends. The fact that people have spent more time working remotely and looking at their living spaces in recent years also has prompted many to think about what works and doesn’t, what they do and don’t like, and to make changes, said Zuber and Semple.

That was the case for Brent DeMar and Khristina Weaver. The couple expect to move into their new custom-built six-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home under construction in Bronzeville last year. They are incorporating several built-in elements into the home, said their builder Pat Cardoni, CEO of Cardoni Custom Homes and president of the Chicago chapter of the Building Industry Association of Greater ChicagoThe advantage of built-ins is that clients can get exactly what they want, Cardoni said.

Around the fireplace, the couple requested built-in cabinets at the bottom with outlets to accommodate electronics, books and games. Open shelves flanking each side of the fireplace will provide space for photos and artwork. They’ve also included a mudroom with a little bench area, where one can sit and take off snow boots or wet clothes, and there are lockers for storage.

The home includes two offices designed with lots of built-in storage space — one office for DeMar, who works in technology and engineering; and one for Weaver, an oil industry sales manager. Weaver’s office is designed to include an integrated built-in desk and space for a separate stand-alone desk, DeMar said. The couple often work from home.

“We put within the office built-ins picture lights to highlight artwork we will put on the back wall of these built-ins,” DeMar said. “With the work-from-home scenarios, we want a sanctuary where we can be effective at the job but also still feel like it’s home as well.”

Francine Knowles is a freelance writer.