Design for the Dogs

By Cathy Lee Posted in: Celebrate StyleImprove

Want to protect your home and provide comfort for your pet? Try these canine-friendly design ideas that will have your fuzzy sidekick feeling more at home

Dogs are people too, of course. They’re part of our family. Never mind that sometimes they track dirt in, drool on the furniture and make mistakes. Why not give them the space they rightfully deserve?

Here are some tips on how you can make your home beautiful and pet-friendly at the same time. Yes, I am talking about doggie decor!

Flooring

If you’re going to build or remodel, take your four-legged friend into consideration. Carpet, especially looped carpet, is the worst for dogs. It catches their nails and retains odor and stains. If you need or want to go with carpet, consider a low-pile one that has a pattern to hide stains, or carpet tiles that you can swap out.

Marble and travertine, no matter how well they’re sealed, are porous and will stain. Real hardwood flooring is beautiful, but can be easily scratched by claws.

The most common-sense approach? Ceramic tile, vinyl sheet or plank flooring. They’re super-easy to clean and maintain.

Furniture

Have you considered slipcovers? There are so many options out there. I’m not talking your grandma’s slipcovers. There are modern and sleek looks, with geometric prints. You can throw them in the wash.

If that’s not the route you want to go, then opt for stain-resistant upholstery.

Leather and faux leather can work well. If the choice is yours, look for Crypton, a synthetic fabric used in commercial spaces. I’ve used this in beach houses and doctors’ offices.

There are great looks out there, and Rover will be happy that you’re not yelling at him to get off the couch all the time.

Paint

Although I am a huge fan of flat paint for its sophisticated finish, if you have a large dog who’s always running into walls, you may want to consider semi-gloss. Yes, it will have a little sheen, but it will be much easier to wipe down and you won’t feel a need to repaint in a few months.

Finally, it’s important for dogs to have their own sanctuary. A quiet corner with their doggie bed and toys will let them know they certainly are part of the family.

Recently we broke down and got my daughter a puppy. Eight-month-old Raffles is a poogle (poodle-beagle). And with me as his mom, you know he has his own little assortment of furniture, including a leopard chaise lounge that he absolutely loves!

Raffles’s pal Mika, who’s always dressed up, has lots of doggie beds as well.

If you want your dog to have his own special place outside, there are options beyond the typical doghouse. Architect Geoffrey Lewis designed this masterpiece as an auction item for Hanahauoli School. It has metal roofing with a vent, and you can pick it up and hose it down for easy maintenance. The frame is made of Douglas fir, the sides are reclaimed fir and the roofing is corrugated metal.

Geoff designed it with the pet in mind. He wanted to give him a different perspective. So this doghouse has cool architectural details including a window — another view from which to keep an eye on the house.

There’s even a sign inside that reads, “Man is a dog’s best friend.” It ended up auctioning off for $1,700 — that’s no dog kibble.

So I’ve given you little ideas and big ideas on how to make your best friend feel right at home. If you’re not quite ready to go there, don’t forget their favorite spot of all — right in your own bed with you!

Cathy Lee is president and designer of Cathy Lee Style and Cathy’s Marketplace, a furniture and accessories showroom with design services at 1110 University Ave. She recently opened reStyle Hawaii, an affordable, style-conscious consignment warehouse with upholstering and repurposing services at 420 Keawe St. To find out more, go to www.cathyleestyle.com.