Designing for our Four-legged Friends!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know where I would be without my wonderful dog, Border Collie, Domino.  Even if I was unsure how much I loved him (which I wasn’t be the way!), a doggy health-scare recently proved it to me in spades.  We introduce them into our home as pets and before very long at all, they turn our lives upside down, worm their way into our hearts and very firmly become an intrinsic part of the family!  It is only right, therefore, that I should include them in designing for an interior.  

A dog’s bed is a great start.  For one client that I had, the dog’s bed was always close to the rear exit to the property.  When we redesigned her downstairs area, we made the back door into a kind of walk-through boot room.  Plywood was used to create a run of built-in cupboards with the dog’s bed in the middle of this, with seating for humans on either side of it and coat hooks above.  It was perfect and everyone was delighted, especially their dog!  I have also seen where the bed was incorporated into the kitchen island.  Under the stairs, also, is the perfect hideaway for your pet.  Mine certainly likes to be in a small space that is cosy and enclosed. In fact, any dead space within your living area/ kitchen is a great spot for your pet to lay their head.  It very much depends on their habits and where they like to sleep.  I have seen built-in understairs kennels, raised wooden beds with upholstered downy bed fillings in a quality fabric of your choice.  You can get doggy Chesterfields, memory foam doggy armchairs, and even a dog bed made out of an old whiskey barrel – perfect to complement an industrial look.  

Their feeding area is the next consideration.  When designing a kitchen with pets, it is very easy to incorporate this into the kitchen cabinetry.  Depending on the style of the kitchen, you could have an area underneath a tall larder, or provide a cosy nook at the end of a row of cabinets.  A kitchen island or peninsula, yet again, provides a perfect raised area for bed and bowls if necessary.  Cut outs for the bowls could be created to keep spills to a minimum.  Providing the perfect area for your pooch not only gives them a wonderful space of their own, but can keep the flow between spaces uncluttered from all of the toys, bones and doggy what-not!

Pet paraphernalia can be as out of control as the kids’ toys, if you are not careful, and again there are a range of options to contain these potential trip hazards.  Much the same as for the kids, there are toy boxes for dogs, drawers within existing units, bespoke pieces of furniture, and wonderful low-slung baskets to choose from.  Personally, a bespoke piece with the bed, bowls, and toys in one place would be the most ideal, if I could only find the space!