Keeping your home and your pets in harmony.
Designer Barbara Ostrom, whose designs have graced the pages of the New York Times and the Saddle River, NJ home of the late President Nixon, has come up with a few innovative ideas. ” One of my clients had pet snakes. They wanted to maintain the elegance of their home and still enjoy their pets”, said Barbara Ostrom, “We decided to create a branch room that was enclosed by a glass wall. We fashioned tunnels and terrain that the snakes could play in while the owners looked on. “Another client of mine had birds, but did not think it was fair to have them caged,” Ostrom added. “So, we built an indoor aviary for the birds to fly around in, topped with a skylight for an outdoorsy effect.” If you are decorating with birds it is imperative that you use lead-free paint because Ostrom says “birds like to peck at walls,” and can be poisoned much more quickly than humans from lead paint. “One of my clients lost a terrific [aviary] companion that way,” said Ostrom.
One of the newest trends amongst dog loving homeowners, is to build a doggie room into the house. “Many of my clients have dog walkers and groomers who come to the home to care for their dogs,” said Ostrom. She suggests using tile or hard wood floors with washable walls. Tile, washable paints or wallpaper work well. Ostrom has created grooming stations for her clients with professional groomers’ equipment and low, deep and wide tubs so that the groomers can easily clean the dogs as well. According to Ostrom, no dog’s room is truly complete without a doggie door that leads directly to a fenced in yard so that business can be taken care of discreetly. Her rationale? This is the one room built for Fido, and he or she should feel comfortable.
Outside of the doggie room, Ostrom suggests using patterned fabrics. Berber in nylon, oriental, and tweed rugs are great when decorating for dog owners because if an accident should happen stains are less obvious. Cat owners can rely on the same advice, but the loops in Berbers are irresistible for the kitties to sharpen their claws on so be sure to have a proper scratching post set up. Ostrom advises pet owners to stay away from silks, satins, leathers (to avoid scratch marks) and velvets, and says cotton washables, such as sailcloth, canvas and denim, are key. She recalls one of her clients who let the dog sit at the table while they were eating and needed the doggie chair to be high enough and the fabric had to be resilient enough, yet still match all the other kitchen chairs. Ostrom’s solution was coating the tightly upholstered fabric with vinyl.
With all of the choices out there for pet friendly interiors –doggie beds that match the owners bedding, self-cleaning litterboxes, aromatherapy pet pillows, it just takes some style and common sense to make your home beautiful for your human family and still perfect for your pet.
– Jewel Donohue