Friday, August 13, 2010

How to have dogs and a nice house too

Do you have a dog? Are you thinking about one? Then you may like a few tips for decorating with dogs in the house, many from my personal experience since I became the owner (still to be verified who owns who) of Geronimo, my sweet German Shorthaired Pointer.

First lesson: dogs think they are human! They stampede to the door when visitors come (they believe people come to see them of course, not you) so avoid draping fabrics on tables if you don't want the dog greeting guests wrapped in your precious tablecloth leaving a trail of broken china behind. Scatter rugs can also be a problem if the dog runs to greet guests at the door. Rubberized webbing, double sided tape or rubberized sheets cut to measure, all this can avoid scatter rugs to become, well, just scatter.
Most dogs have tails that wag and they could not care less when they knock over cups and glasses, spilling coffee or red wine from a side table. Stay away from little pedestal tables or plant stands and choose sturdy pieces of furniture with...yes...four legs. Some dogs, surprise, surprise, also steal the occasional piece of appetizer from a side table. Does that mean we should have taller occasional tables and smaller dogs? Chihuahua everyone? No, just good training and other options for your coffee and biscuits will help you and your guests relax. Side tables are also a better choice, since they can be pushed against the sofa and become more stable if you have bigger dogs. They give more space for the dog to lie down or walk around but if you feel that the space is too bare warm it up adding an ottoman and a nice rug.

Having dogs does not mean you can't have precious collections, just be sure they are displayed in safe places, higher than dog's tail and paws.

Dogs track in dirt, really? Oh yes! they also spill water and love you so unconditionally they don't care about a tidy, clean, orderly house, they show appreciation for your cleaning skills just like most husbands! So if dogs are allowed on furniture choose dog's friendly fabric, stay away from velvet, silk, ultrasuede and chenille. The best choice is a smooth fabric, like twill which brushes off easily.
Slipcovers are the best solution, made with pre-washed and preshrunk fabric, so you can wash it frequently, I would prefer light colors so you'll know when it is time to wash, don't try to disguise dirt, only try to minimize it, and of course avoid expensive damask or silk pillows, silk and slobber are not a great match, I discovered.

Choose floor covering with earth tones, to minimize dirt and scratches (this sounds weird but try to match the color to the dirt...) if you have tiles have pity of their joints and cover some areas with rugs. Carpeting is ideal but dirt will reign so a combination of floors is best, kitchen and entryway could use slate, which is not slippery when wet.
Wood floor is beautiful but slippery, so you can't play fetch inside, on the bright side you'll be forced to go out and walk more often. Always choose mid-tones, dark will show every hair, same for lighter wood color. Choose a very dense hardwood, because fir, cherry, pine and maple will show claw marks and scratches sooner than later. If possible have the floor sanded-on site, it gives better results than pre finished floors.

Add Oriental carpets or carpets with colors and patterns that help minimize dirt, hair and stains (always keep specific products handy if "accidents" happen and be sure to use those with ingredients that also take away any smell of...specially if you have a puppy not fully trained, unless you want him to go back to the same familiar spot).
A great vacuum will be your best friend, even if they think it is their worst enemy or at least Geronimo thinks so.

I could write more, and perhaps I will, but lastly, since dogs love short and long naps ...
8-13-2010 1-59-58 PM
unless you want them to take over the sofa, don't forget a few comfortable and stylish dog beds, the best for them to feel safe are the ones fully washable and shaped like doughnuts, with a soft roll around where they can put their sweet muzzle and look at you with adoring eyes.

Vancouver 003
Or be totally oblivious of your presence while dreaming of chasing squirrels.
I said it is preferable to have a few dog beds because we all know dogs love to be with us wherever we are so most of them will not like a single bed hidden around a corner, away from you.
Let them be part of your life in a dog friendly house.
Now I would love to hear from you about your "dog-house":
Do you have any tips to share? Any funny story? Geronimo would also love to hear them!

Photography of Geronimo by Albarosa Simonetti


mimi said...

Geronimo is adorable. Lots of good tips, too!

Michelle said... must have written this post just for me...Geronimo rocks!

Great advice!


Dovecote Decor said...

I have come to the conclusion that living with dogs requires some advance planning: First, dogs that don't shed, second very small dogs! I have a long haired miniature Daschund and she's been easy to keep and minimally destructive!!

Maria Killam said...

This was such a great post, I love Geronimo!

The Changing Look of Friends said...

Great Post! I too am owned by a large breed, a Boxer. When having a dog as part of the family, you do have to think about what will give you the best look, be easy to clean and take some abuse without showing it. We do have to give up some of the things we love but their love they give us, is well worth it.


Geronimo is the cutest bambino! Great entry and great advice for dog owners.

Yesterday I went to the movies and I saw "I am Love" I thought so much on you and the lifestyle I see in your blog. Have you seen the movie? The interiors are stunning!


Brillante Home Decor said...

Geronimo thanks you all for the nice comments!He knows he is cute!

Ivan...I have a post on "I am love" and one on the house of the movie, Villa Necchi. I have seen it twice and I will go again later on.

Linda in AZ * said...

* It's always a joy to see yet ANOTHER person loved n' owned by a German Shorthaired Pointer...
I can't imagine life WITHOUT one in the family!!!

Yur Geronimo is, of COURSE, a doll.... ( and, it looks like he & our Belle-girl would be T*H*E cutest couple!!!

Linda in AZ *

mary said...

I am new to your blog and I love it. I have a few tricks for living with dogs and/or little boys that might relieve a lot of stress: 1. Everything is fixable; or it is not. 2. I've grown into minimalism. 3. Decorative pillows are usually great for shredding. 4. Vintage leather is great for dogs--cleans easily and does not show scratches, etc. 4. Paintings, once hung, are hard to damage (tails can't reach). 5. Big (and small) dogs give an endless bounty of love--not so with collectables on small tables. I, too, matched the color of my carpet to the dirt outside when my children were little--saved my sanity. I think that my Jones (huge poodle) would love Geronimo. Thanks for this fantastic post.

design traveller said...

Great post, made me think of our dog, Pirat!

CJ/Rick said...

Now that's a cutie. I have found that dogs are like women/wives:they stick their heads out the pet door while I work in the heat and humidity doing yard work monitoring my progress yet never offer me a bit of refreshment. :)
Nice post/blog.

Patricia Gray said...

Hi Albarosa
What a great post on living with our pets. The pics of your Geronimo are delightful. I am also a fan of Persian and/or Oriental carpets, as they hide everything. We make whatever allowances are necessary for our pets as they are so much a part of our lives. Nicole say a big Hi to Geronimo!!

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

I just happened upon your blog for the first time. I loved this post. Yes, there is an art to living with dogs. I have always lived with a dog. One at a time. But now I live with four! Pure craziness and I love it. This was all very good advice. The thing that saves me because I do like my knick knacks and little tables is that all my dogs are short. They are all dachshunds. Dacshunds have big dog personality on short legs. They are not fufu at all. You are so right about them bringing in dirt. I never realized before with the dogs I had one at a time because they were girls and did not get dirty.

But the boys love to dig in the yard and then come racing in the house leaving a trail of mud. I have wood floors and they are pretty easy to clean but in the kitchen I have black and white tile that a previous owner put in. It is a disaster....both the white and the black show everything in different but equally bad ways. I am planning on putting in wood flooring as soon as I can afford it. I too believe in light surfaces because I'd rather see the dirt and be able to clean it rather than hide it but in case of the looks dirty in a day so best to have something that hides the sins too.

I keep up baby gates so that my dogs don't have full run of the house. They are kept out of the living room and dining room because I think it's ok to have spaces that are nice just for me. And it keeps them away from the front door because they like to slip out. And that is not ok.

The rest of the house they have full use of and yes beds in several rooms because they follow me around. Although one of mine prefers the den sofa. Which is ok....I bought it planning on it being used by them.

One of my biggest problems is the mess they make of window treatments....they jump on the bed or sofa and look out the windows and create a mess of the curtains or blinds. I really don't have a good solution for this yet.

Anyway...loved the post.

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