Real estate, as they say, is all about location, location, location.
But life, or course, is never that simple, especially when family is involved. Does everyone get their own bedroom? How modern is the kitchen? Where, exactly, does the TV fit into that “charming” trinity?
These days, even the four-legged members get a say.
In a recent survey, the American Pet Products Association found that 44 percent of households in the US own at least one dog, and the market is responding. In California, Standard Pacific Homes offers an optional 170-square foot “pet suite”— complete with a bathing station, laundry facilities, a flat-screen TV and dog-run access — in their Orange Country development. Manhattan high-rises have been catering to pet-owners for years, although new amenities like the Mercedes House’s Canine Club are changing the game. After opening last summer, the luxe service offers “cage-free” doggie daycare with playtime with canine neighbors and webcam access for owners.
While an on-site doggie spa may seem a little extreme, taking your pet’s needs into consideration is a smart move for any budget. “More and more, my clients bring up their pets,” says interior designer Nan Ruvel, who has created everything from specialized mudrooms for messy pups to custom litter-box “bathrooms” for cats. “And I encourage that. You really want to make sure the space works for the entire family.”
Like children, animals put some limitations on home decor — and the sooner you make peace with the fact that a white linen sofa doesn’t mix with a wet German shepherd, the better. “With pets, it’s important to be realistic, and I make sure my clients understand that and guide them,” says Ruvel, who shares her own home with two cats and two dogs. “They hire me for my experience, and I want them to be happy with the end result.” Which is a nice way of saying, “No wall-to-wall carpets for you.”
Choose your fabrics wisely
Many a couch has met its demise at the claws of a scratch-happy cat or a rambunctious dog. To some extent, a little damage is inevitable — but if you shop smart, you can extend the life of your furniture. “Most people think the durable fabrics are better, but whenever you have a nubby weave, that’s something claws will hook into, and leather tears very easily,” says Ruvel. “I’ve found that the cheaper fabrics, especially microfibers, are easier to clean and hold up better to pets.” And remember—the closer your ottoman matches Mr. Fluff, the less fur will show up on it.
Make a floor plan
Accidents happen, which is why wood floors have long-been the gold-standard for pet owners. “Choose a hard wood, and avoid anything too dark that will show scratches easily,” advises Ruvel. If you can’t quite give up your carpets, Nan recommends opting for wool, which tends to suspend, ahem, liquids as opposed to absorb them.