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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Designing with Pets in Mind

There is a line that is now notorious in my office, and it was uttered by Margaret Russell, Editor of Elle Decor, during one of the first episodes of Top Design, "you can't design a room around a cat." While that statement may be true, for those of us with cats, or dogs; designing with a pet in mind, can produce its own unique challenges, I hope that this helps:

  • If your pet has access to the outdoors, then traipsing dirt back into the house is always going to be a problem. Try to make the access point somewhere with a hard surface, such as wood or stone, rather than carpet, as that will make it easier to keep clean.

  • Provide a textured mat, both inside and out, it will help capture some of the dirt.

  • Slipcovers are an excellent idea for furniture pieces that are frequented by pets. Using a natural material, such as cotton or linen, will hold up well to regular washing (remember to wash the fabric first, before you have the slip covers made).

  • I have heard people give the advice that you should create furniture the color of your pet so you don't see the shedded hair. I don't know about you, but I would dread not knowing whether my furniture was clean or not. This is not an argument for all white, but a warm neutral I think provides some relief, but also early warning of dirt.

  • Clean the rugs at least twice a year. So many times rugs, to their own detriment are ignored and not deep cleaned regularly. If you have pets this is crucial to keeping a home that will feel fresh all the time.

  • This one may seem self-evident, but groom your pet regularly. Regular washing and more regular brushing will keep your home fresher and cleaner than almost anything else.

Most of all, enjoy your pets, and let them enjoy your home too.


Fairfax said...

I swore I would never get another yellow Lab, since I wear so much black... Went to the city pound and came back with a YELLOW LAB! Wouldn't trade him for anything though.

The Peak of Chic said...

Mark- I must know- is that your Berner??? My sister and brother-in-law have one, and she is the Queen our family! Oh, and great advice, but I got distracted by the cute picture.

Mark Cutler said...

LOL yes Peak, that is my Berner, a 100lb, six year old puppy, who thinks he is a lap dog! I had always had Lab's growing up but adopted Max from some friends who could no longer keep him, and have now fell in love with the breed. I have another dog, Maxine, a cocker, but she is a little more camera shy.

The Peak of Chic said...

Max is one cutie! My "niece" is 5 yrs. old and is named Nellie Belle-she's a Southern Belle living in San Francisco ;)

Chris Butterworth said...

You'd be surprised to know how often my buyer-clients will make their home buying decision (the largest purchase in most of their lives) around what works best for their pet. And I have to admit, my wife & I did the same thing a couple of houses ago!

Other ideas to consider are whether there's a way to create a "run" outside the doggie door (to save the rest of your yard from torment), and whether the hard-floor surface area can be gated off from the carpeted areas (ideal for rainy days.)

Good stuff, Mark. Keep it coming.

kim. said...

Great post! And I'm sorry but I have 4 cats (was 5 not too long ago) so YES, I do "design a room around cats". It keeps me sane, my furniture intact and my cats happy. Oh, and Max is a cutie.

AbbeyK said...

Mark? Do you find patterns work well to hide pet hair?

On a recent project, we took pet hair from a black lab and tested it on different choices for a stair case runner.

The winner? The one that hid the most: a rust colored wool rug that was heavily patterned in mostly mid tones. The rug did not have any black in it, but the pattern had some dark lines running through it.