post off: do you design with pets in mind?


Last week The New York Times ran an interesting article about the changing landscape of home design as it relates to pets. While many of us stick to purchasing cute pet supplies and accessories, some pet owners are integrating design elements that cater to their pets as well as their aesthetic to create a happy environment for everyone under the same roof. From a custom staircase for cats to a secretary desk transformed into a feeding station, many of the featured projects provide chic solutions to common problems (where to place bowls so all pets aren’t eating the same food, how to conceal a litter box, etc). We never made any major renovations when our dog was alive, so we didn’t do much in the way of actively designing for him, but we did make certain changes (adding a custom cushion to his bed for weary bones, buying him a NAP blanket from Brookstone, showing him how to use a pull out stool so he could watch my mom make dinner) that made him feel like a part of the family. Do you design with your pets in mind? – Sarah C.

Photo by Ko Sasaki for The New York Times. View the full slideshow here.

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Since people’s pets are family members, the answer is “Absolutely,” especially if I know that people let their pets come up on upholstered furniture. Fabrics that can handle the hair, lanolin, claws, and everything else that comes with pets, is essential.

I’ve even been known to coordinate the color of the dog’s bed with the fabrics in the room.


My first real furniture purchase was my sleeper couch. I ordered it in chocolate brown to match Genevieve’s brown hair since she sheds constantly. Does that count?


Not exactly. But I did agree to buy the house we currently own because it had a layout I could use for my pet rabbits. It has a fully finished basement, with a room off the carpeted main area that had old crummy vinyl and room for the bunnies’ pen, litter boxes, toys, supplies etc.

I can close the door to the basement to keep out the cat and open the door to the bunny room to let them play in the carpeted family room. Then I can herd them back home when I’m done supervising.

When I helped my mom shop for replacement carpet a few years ago, we took a ziplock baggie of shed fur from our gigantic yellow lab. Gross? you bet. Helpful? absolutely! We found a carpet sample that disguised the inevitable trail of fur until we could run the vacuum (which was a daily occurrence!). Now that I’m on my own, I’ve found that i shop for home decor with him in mind. Whether it’s a step stool that can double as a leg-up to see out the window, or a basket that stashes nicely under my coffee table to contain all his toys!


I have two cats and may be adding another dog or cat at some point. I volunteer at a shelter so this is always a possibility. But yes, I design with my pets in mind. Another biggy with me is washability of items. Curtains (as they lay on window sills), Duvet (as they sleep with us), Throws (they are allowed on the couch). None of this dry clean only textiles for this house.

My family just built a brand new house, which my parents basically designed from the ground up (with the expertise of professionals, of course!). What was the one thing I think my father was most excited about? Putting in windows that go almost all the way to the floor, so our miniature dachshund can lay in her bed and see what’s going on outside.

So yes, most definitely.

My cats rule our house, so, yes, they dictate my design.