Design 101: Purrs, Paws, Fur, and Claws

“How can I “pet-proof” my home? What can I do to update a wallpaper border?” Interior designers deal with these and many other questions every day. This month’s column focuses on ways we can get along better with our furry friends.

We love our pets, but don’t love them in our bed. What’s the best solution? 
Humans and pets alike need a clean, safe, comfortable space where they can sleep and providing a stylish one is a great way to go. There are a number of chic pet beds on the market as well as reupholstering/slipcovering a less stylish existing one. Some of the nice ones look like mini versions of high-end furniture, but there is really no end to “luxury pet bed” options.
Pro Tip: A helpful way to transition a pet to a new bed begins with moving their blanket, toys, or other items that carry their smell to the new bed. Don’t use a used bed. Even if you can’t smell the prior inhabitant they can.

We are building a new house. Is there anything we should consider having put in for our dogs? 
Who likes waiting in line for the bathroom? You are probably making sure there are enough for the family, but what about putting one in for the dogs? It may sound silly, but dedicated pet washing stations are a very real upgrade to a home. Containing dirt, clay, and other pet messes near an entrance like a mudroom is a real timesaver on cleanup.
Pro Tip: Even though it might not have the same ROI as an additional full bath, consider the qualitative value an upgrade like this adds. Quality of life is the cornerstone of luxury.

I have a small dog who is aging. I worry about him falling off the bed and getting in is an issue too. What can I do? 
The best solution we have found is to have a ramp with a gentle incline placed along one side of the bed. There are several companies who market bed stairs for dogs, but we find that smaller dogs, especially arthritic ones can’t handle the stairs. If your bed is low enough a foam wedge may suffice as well if sufficiently dense.
Pro Tip: Just as with humans, when our balance begins to suffer a rail at the side of the ramp is a big help to keep us safe from falling off.

My pets are destroying my venetian blinds. What can I do to protect them? 
We recently helped another local client with this same issue. Unfortunately there was not going to be a good solution to the problem behavior. Rather than fighting a losing battle to keep the venetians we opted to replace them with solar roller shades. Without the thin slats to stick a head or paw through, and with a hem bar at the bottom, the easiest path for the offender is to go under/around rather than through. We suggest you do the same.
Pro Tip: For those really insistent and destructive pets it might be worth replacing your standard wooden window sills with granite.

What’s something I should consider adding to my home that would be good for my pet?
As a rescue cat owner we have been planning on adding a “cat-walk” to our home. For those unfamiliar with the concept imagine a high shelf almost like a protruding crown molding for our felines to perch and race around on. Ours will be made of black walnut and chamfered.
Pro Tip: They may be sure footed, but they can still slip. Make sure there is adequate traction as well as sufficient width to any surface your pets may thread on. And of course clean regularly with the hose attachment on your vacuum.

Yaron Linett
About Yaron Linett 16 Articles
Yaron Linett is the principal designer of Formal Traditional, a full-service design firm located in Warrenton. To submit your interior design questions, drop him a note at yaron@formaltraditional.com or visit www.formaltraditional.com.

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