Designing With Dogs

You've probably heard the showbiz saying warning against working with children or animals. The truth in that saying extends to interior design too. No matter how stylish, chic and timeless you make your home, it's inevitable that if you have a small child - or, in my case, a 2 year-old German Shepherd:

your design ideas will soon be augmented by muddy tracks and "decorative" holes in the garden.

Sabre is a much loved part of the family, but his penchant for exploration and ability to chew through an entire crop of tomatoes, vines and all, can be exasperating. Rather than fight against his inquisitive nature, I've taken the path of dog-proofing our home. This has many benefits. Many of my friends are dog owners, and Sabre gets on well with strange dogs amazingly well, greeting them like a best friend instead of getting excitable. So, when our friends inevitably drop by while they're out for a walk, it's nice to know that if they let their dog run in the garden neither our plants nor their beloved dog will come to harm.

Dog-proofing a house is tough, but I've found several really handy accessories in my quest to make each room safe.

Luxury Pet House

This luxury pet home is the ultimate dog house. Actually, it's probably nicer than the house I live in! Since I can't buy a mansion for myself, at least not until my lottery numbers come up, I'm tempted to pick this up. Sadly, I don't think it would fit in the corner of our garden.

Dog Peek

Sabre is quite protective of his territory. He'll welcome other dogs with open paws, but likes to keep an eye on any humans loitering in the area. He tends to stand on his hind legs, placing muddy paws on the fence to balance and look over, and it's rather annoying to have to clean the fence every time we're expecting company. Placing one of these "Dog Peek" windows at the end of the garden would stop that, letting him watch the road without messing up the fence, so he can still bark an alert when door-to-door salesmen are about to come and annoy us.

Classic Chatsworth Dog Bed

This classic Chatsworth dog bed features an upholstered leather frame and a cushion with faux fur on one side, and linen on the other. The frame is beautiful, but I don't think much of the cushion. The good news is that you can remove the cushion cover for cleaning purposes, or to replace it with a nicer design. I think that this bed is a little too rich for Sabre's tastes, though. He already has a fairly nice dog bed in our bedroom, but he seems to prefer sleeping on a £5 giant dog cushion that we picked up in the January sales. It seems there's no accounting for taste!

Labrador Print Storage Box


Our daughter is doggy mad, but we don't let Sabre spend too much time in her room because she's mildly allergic to dog hair. She can cope with having a dog "in the house" because we try to keep the communal rooms pet-hair free, but she insists on having a really plush carpet which is the ultimate allergen trap. Since she can't have a real dog in the room, maybe she'll like having this stylish Labrador print storage box. It would look great next to the dressing table in her bedroom.

Steel Scrollwork Double Diner

We have a kitchen that is somewhere in between country-style and period, with lots of ornate metalwork, cast iron, and a beautiful stone floor. Using a generic dog food bowl with "Paws" printed on it would completely ruin the look. Right now, we have a simple stainless steel dog bowl, which fits, but is a little too utilitarian for my tastes. This stainless steel double diner with beautiful scrollwork would be a great fit for the kitchen. I wonder if they do custom designs.

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