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For The Home

A Place for Your Pets

Author: Carly Scholl
Issue: January, 2018, Page 29
Built into existing cabinetry, a cozy pup perch peeks out into the room so the owner’s dogs can keep an eye on home happenings from their special spot.
Designing your home with Spot and Tiger in mind

When we conducted our subscriber survey in 2016, we confirmed what we’ve suspected all along—that Valley residents are wild for their pets. And what’s more, we love our animals to the extent that more than 60 percent of pet owners who took the survey said that their homes reflect their companions’ needs and comforts in architectural and design-oriented innovations. So if you’re looking for an alternative to the worn-out dog bed lying in the middle of your living room, or a reason to ditch an unsightly scratching post, check out some of the ways local homeowners and designers are stylishly making room for furry friends at home.

In the backyard, the playful pair enjoy personal stomping grounds outfitted with faux turf, fun toys and leisure spots. The enclosure is fenced off to keep out predators and give the homeowners peace of mind when the dogs are out and about.
Built-In Innovations
To demonstrate that your pet is an integral member of your family, go beyond the average accommodations for your critters and blur the lines between human and pet spaces in your home. “There really is nothing like the bond you can have with a beloved pet,” explains Kate Benjamin, founder of cat-centric online brand Hauspanther. “Why wouldn’t you consider their lifestyles when designing your home? Pets have specific environmental needs that we must be mindful of in order to help them live rich, fulfilled lives.”

Depending on your own requirements and lifestyle, there is likely a pet-friendly solution for your home. If your dog or cat never leaves your side, a chic nightstand with a built-in cushion might be the perfect spot for your companion to cuddle up in for the evening. For the indoor/outdoor dog, a built-in mini shower in a laundry room or poolhouse bathroom can offer easy clean-up before mud and grass get tracked into the house.

A minature shower built into a chic laundry room makes bathtime easy and mess-free. The raised tile border keeps water contained while a hand-held showerhead ensures that all grass, dirt and suds are cleaned from fur.
“When it comes to cats specifically,” Benjamin says, “they need a way to get up to higher spots so they can survey their territory from above. This doesn’t need to be an eyesore, simply integrate some climbing and perching surfaces into your home’s natural design. Clear off the clutter from the top of a cabinet or console and give kitty an easy way to access the area.”

Delight the Senses
“When planning for your pets’ experience in your home, consider their five senses as guidelines for creating enjoyable, appropriate settings,” says interior designer Suzanne Lasky, whose Pawprint Design Services offered through her Scottsdale-based firm focuses specifically on animal-friendly interiors. “Dogs and cats have a heightened sense of smell, so opt for flooring such as cork or tile, which don’t release off-gases. And because indoor pets like to peer out of windows, keep shades and curtains to a minimum so as not to interfere with their visual stimulation.”

To prevent wear and tear and protect your pets’ sensitive noses and ears, opt for cork flooring. Engineered to look like weathered wood (left, ‘Driftwood’) or even travertine tile (right, ‘Winter Mist’), cork is naturally mold- and water-resistant, provides sound insulation and doesn’t release odorous chemicals. $6/square foot. (
To accommodate your companions’ superior hearing abilities, soften hard surfaces with rugs, acoustic panels and soft textiles to reduce loud reverberations that can disturb animals. Also, be certain to check your home and garden for potentially hazardous ingestibles, such as oleander, cyclamen or lilies, and offer alternatives. Indoors, catnip or chew toys serve as healthy substitutes for houseplants and furniture legs. Finally, treat your cuddly critters to their own sumptuous furnishings and choose low-maintenance upholstery that can tolerate use by furry friends.

Pet-Resistant Products
“It’s important that homeowners consider their pets when designing the interior of their homes so both the two-legged and four-legged family members can live harmoniously,” says Lasky. “Animals often end up in shelters when they become destructive in a home, so it is up to us humans to train them to behave appropriately and provide them their needed outlets so destructive behavior is minimized or eliminated.”

Cat furniture has come a long way since its cardboard-and-carpet heyday. With the Katris Modular Cat Tree, you can assemble a scalable, scratchable outpost for your cat that doubles as an eye-catching bookshelf or display case. $200 (
Some major concerns for most pet owners are shedding, stains and unwanted odors invading couches, chairs and beds, which can certainly cramp your home’s style. But instead of vigilantly guarding your furniture from your favorite furballs, opt for durable fabrics and finishes that do the work for you.

“I like to incorporate textiles with lower levels of texture and weave so that pet hair doesn’t get trapped and is easier to wipe off,” Lasky remarks. “Additionally, try to avoid any fabric that has a high rayon content, as they tend to be more difficult to remove stains from and can stretch over time.” Brands such as Crypton and Sunbrella offer stylish upholsteries that are specially designed to wick away moisture, clean easily and resist odors. Real and faux leather are also good options for homeowners who don’t mind faint claw marks adding to the worn patina of their furnishings.

If you’re short on floor space, feline expert Kate Benjamin suggests providing your cat with a series of low-cost wall-mounted perches made from IKEA Lack shelves and carpet squares cut to fit. $7/shelf. (

Designed for the diva in your family, Doggiedasherie’s collection of hybrid side tables/pet beds will delight pooches who want to be near you even through the night. $1,575-$2,350 (
More Doggiedasherie’s collection of hybrid side tables/pet beds

Custom designed by Staci Edwards of Switch Studio, this modern settee is upholstered with fabric designed with Crypton Home technology, which is stain- and odor-resistant as well as stylish. (

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