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Veterinary Revision

Design Learned Inc. designed an engineered the revisions required to make this existing building into a specialty veterinary practice serving Hartford, CT and surrounding areas.

This facility began as a home care training center. Our client, Dr. Tofflemire, purchased this existing building with the intent to convert it to a specialty veterinary clinic. DLI provided interior planning and engineering services and was the sole design professional on this project. DLI remained deeply involved during the construction of the facility and provided construction administration including site visits, answering requests for information from contractors, and reviewing submittals for equipment. The new design boasts a generous treatment area with a surgery suite, pack and prep area, exam rooms, and upstairs offices and break space for staff. Because this is a veterinary clinic specializing in ophthalmology, we had specific requirements we needed to meet for lighting and spacing throughout the hospital.


Hartford, CT

5,100 square feet
Services Provided
- Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing 
- Noise Control Engineering
- Odor/Disease Control Engineering
- Programming
- Floor Planning
- Caging and Equipment Selections
- Flooring/Finish Recommendations


312 N Main St.

West Hartford, CT 06117

(845) 747-5777

Case Study:
Veterinary Revision's Facility Conversion

An animal shelter specializing in ophthalmology services

Animal Lover First Veterinarian Second

Dr. Kyle Tofflemire, DVM, DACVO

Board-Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist and Practice Owner of Veterinary Revision

Dr. Kyle Tofflemire, DVM, DACVO is a Board-Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist and Practice Owner of Veterinary Revision. As a self-proclaimed animal lover first and veterinarian second, Dr. Tofflemire holds a rich history of empowering pet owners with the information to have an active role in their pet’s medical care.

“As a practice owner, one of the most fulfilling aspects is tending to the needs of our clients, their beloved pets, and our dedicated staff in a manner that sets us apart from others in the industry. This involves providing our clients with timely and convenient service in a welcoming and comfortable environment, delivering pets warm care and cutting-edge therapies, and granting our staff industry-leading compensation and a healthy work-life balance,” Dr. Tofflemire shares.

Helping 5,000+ Pets Veterinary Revision is the only ophthalmology service that is local and convenient for pet owners in central Connecticut and southern Massachusetts. Veterinary Revision clients range from Baby Boomers to Gen Z Zoomers - all of whom view pets as irreplaceable family members.

Escalating Demand Required a New Building

Veterinary Revision has served pets throughout Connecticut & Massachusetts for years. And since 2021, they have served pets in West Hartford, Connecticut, with escalating demand. Initially, the practice offered veterinary ophthalmology services one day every weekend. Over the years, the escalating demand required the practice to establish a permanent physical location. Dr. Tofflemire shares, “The dedicated facility allows us to offer reliable, high-quality service for clients and veterinarians in the area, thereby facilitating comprehensive eye care for animals. This building allows us the freedom to provide a distinct and inviting atmosphere for pet owners - an attribute that is often lacking in veterinary specialty clinics.”


Partner with Animal Care Building Experts

Veterinarians and practice owners hold robust expertise and years of experience caring for pets. When a pet needs care, it is critical to go to the experts! The same is true of a building project. When a renovation, remodel, and expansion pertaining to animal care facilities or services is needed, it is essential to go to the animal care facility building experts at Design Learned.


No Building Experience or Construction Experience Required

Building projects are complex - from evaluating the site and building for potential issues, planning renovation requirements and associated costs, and navigating the process of securing special permits. Dr. Tofflemire shares, "Prior to this project, I had no experience with real estate or construction (except for buying my own residential home). I discovered Design Learned as part of my search for specialized designers and builders of animal facilities. Design Learned stood out with Scott's sincere interest in my project and understanding of the potential benefit to the community. He conveyed a sense of stewardship and pragmaticism that underscored his interest in assisting with my goals. Additionally, Scott's substantial and pertinent expertise with veterinary facilities was a pivotal factor in my selection process."

Our Project Management to Maintain Your Operations

Unlock the Design Learned Advantage

Design Learned offers comprehensive project management through building projects. Our specialized animal care expertise, building and engineering experience, and in-house project management services positively impact organizations. By partnering with our team of building design experts, our clients unlock the Design Learned Advantage! From our premium service, including on-site support, to handling the entire design of a building project, to connecting with our client’s partners, including realtors, lenders, contractors, and vendors, the Design Learned Advantage leaves a lasting impact throughout the building journey.

A Streamlined Building Journey

“Design Learned’s comprehensive involvement has streamlined nearly every aspect of our project, from property selection to renovation planning and builder selection. Their dedicated project management has kept Veterinary Revision on track to achieve a robust and efficiently designed facility within our targeted timeline. Design Learned’s hands-on support has alleviated the administrative and management duties associated with the project, thus allowing us to maintain our business operations and positive cash flow,” shares Dr. Tofflemire. Throughout Veterinary Revision’s building project, they were able to maintain operations while keeping a positive cash-flow.

About the Building: Every Journey is Unique

Every animal care project is as unique as the services the organization provides. However, a few key phases happen across all building projects - from site selection to Planning and Zoning Board approvals, to plans and specifications to Building Department approval, to construction administration and design management.

Demystify the Building Journey

For the Veterinary Revision building project, Dr. Tofflemire worked with the Design Learned building experts from the site selection phase all the way to the construction phase. Join us as we embark on Veterinary Revision’s building journey and demystify some of the “building jargon.”


Site Selection Matters because... Location, Location, Location

Veterinary Revision's escalating demand required Dr. Tofflemire to invest in a building. The facility had to be in the right location. New construction in the target location was doubtful as there were no empty lots.


Recommendations You Need to Make a Buying Decision

Scott and the Design Learned team provided "broad and specific criteria for evaluating existing properties intended for prospective veterinary use," says Dr. Tofflemire. The Veterinary Revision team and their realtor could then identify prospective buildings in and around their target location.


Design Learned team then provided Site Selections Recommendations to inform Veterinary Revision's buying decision. Dr. Tofflemire shares the advantage of working with Design Learned during this phase in the building journey, "Scott meticulously analyzed the property's strengths and limitations, offering guidance on diverse aspects ranging from minor boundary concerns with neighboring properties to the appropriateness of existing interior elements. His expertise extended to the evaluation and upkeep of specialized water drainage systems, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of all pertinent factors."


Leverage Design Learned's Animal Care Facility Expertise

Leveraging the animal care facility expertise from Design Learned, Veterinary Revision invested in the existing property.

Be Prepared for the Project Pause During the Planning & Zoning Phase

The Planning and Zoning process varies by municipality and local ordinances. The length of this phase in the building journey varies due to differences in process and requirements for specific areas across the U.S. Support during the Planning & Zoning process is invaluable to clients - for both the paper application portion and the interactive meeting and proceeding portion.


Streamline the Process by having the Necessary Documents

A critical step in a Planning and Zoning application is the floor plan and various other schematic design level information. As building and design experts, Design Learned understood Dr. Tofflemire's vision for Veterinary Revision and the expertise to convert the existing facility to match that vision. T


his particular building was previously used for a human home healthcare company and included offices and training areas. The building's new purpose required a surgical suite, a pack and prep, a treatment area, a lab, and exam rooms. Design Learned prepared all the necessary floor plan documents and coordinated with the authority having jurisdiction to streamline all aspects of the process.


Access Animal Care Building Experts for Real-time Answers

Another critical aspect of the Planning and Zoning process includes meetings and proceedings. Not only were the Design Learned animal care building experts able to attend the Planning & Zoning meetings, but Scott also provided individualized coaching to Dr. Tofflemire to prepare him for the interactions.


Dr. Tofflemire shares the value of the individualized coaching he received, "Scott coached me on anticipated meeting proceedings, common concerns raised by the commission members and attendees, and additional support figures (realtor, attorney) whose attendance would be valuable."


Once approved through the Planning & Zoning phase, Veterinary Revision was ready to move forward with the building's construction documents and specifications.

Developing the Building Construction Documents You Need

Plans and Specifications, often called Construction Documents, are necessary for the project to move forward. In addition to the plans to construct the building, this phase also provides additional probable costs from the schematic design phase of the project so practice owners may prepare more accurate funding - whether through capital campaigns, lending, grants, etc. For instance, if a Practice Owner seeks lending from a financial institution, they will need these construction documents and cost estimates as part of the application process.


Receive Extensive Plans and Rough Cost Estimates

During this phase in the project, Dr. Tofflemire shares, “Design Learned provided extensive and detailed plans for renovation, including rough cost estimates to anticipate from general contractors, itemization of preferred and optional work, and adjustments based on any of my opinions or needs. This included mechanical, electrical, and plumbing documents.”


Receive System and Equipment Recommendations

Construction Documents include several key aspects of the building - plans for the mechanical systems, the electrical systems, the plumbing systems, and the interior design documents, which include items such as finishes and veterinary equipment selections.

We Manage the Design Process for You

Design Management Services are provided throughout the design and construction process. Within the scope of these services, the Design Learned building experts send drawings out to vendors and contractors to get actual cost estimates, review pricing from vendors, and may even revise drawings based on last-minute client requests. Design Learned can be as involved as the client would like with this complex piece of the building journey.


Leverage Our Insights As You Make Building Decisions

Hear from Dr. Tofflemire as he shares his experience, “Design Learned sought and selected sufficiently qualified builders to interview for project bids. This included a thorough assessment of their professional backgrounds, references, and genuine enthusiasm for the project. Upon receipt of the bids, Design Learned undertook a comprehensive analysis, diligently identifying any potential inconsistencies and areas where fee structures appeared inaccurate. They would discuss concerns with builders before my direct involvement. Further, the Design Learned team provided insights and made specific recommendations concerning each builder option.”


Alleviate the Stress Around Buildings

As the building experts with animal-first design solutions, the Design Learned team is here to support our clients. Building projects can be stressful for practice owners and veterinarians - and our team is here to guide, consult, and manage the project (and stress) for you. Dr. Tofflemire shares, “I have enjoyed working closely with Design Learned as Scott and his team have been personable, professional, and overall pleasant. Their involvement has not only alleviated my stress levels but has also allowed me to maintain focus on my work, even as we make significant strides in advancing our expansive facility project. Design Learned’s accessibility, adaptability, and friendliness, complemented by a balanced sense of practicality and humor, have fostered a constructive working relationship. I wholeheartedly endorse their services to anyone seeking pragmatic design solutions for animal facilities.” 

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