Design: Plan For Your Pets

The days of banishing Fido to the doghouse in the backyard would appear to be over. And rightly so.

Today, we consider our pets as much a part of the household as us humans. Pets are our faithful companions and they want to hang out with us, no matter where we are in the house. But as much as we love having them around, tripping over bowls in the kitchen or dog food bags in the mudroom wears a bit thin.

So if you’re planning to renovate or redecorate, take a good look at how your pets needs fit into your daily routine, and work them into your design.

Thought for Food

Pet bowls and beds are  the first things I look for if I’m scoping out a client’s existing kitchen when helping them plan their new one. I consider finding space for bowls, food storage, beds, litter boxes and other pet paraphernalia, an important design element that pet lovers might not really think about, and sometimes it’s a creative challenge.

pull-out-dog-food-bowls-kitchen-island-thumb-250x157 Look for an out of the way place for pet bowls like the knee space under a desk or message area, or at the end of a cabinet run, if it’s not too close to a door.

Or how about a floor-level drawer for the bowls that can slide into the kick space between meals?

And of course, other than food and water bowls, dogs and cats each have their own needs (or what we think they need).

Cat Stuff to to consider:

Cats love to climb and hang out in high places. There are some really chic designer cat shelves and cat trees to keep the feline contingent happy (although with cats it’s sometimes hard to tell).

Having lived with cats most of my life, I can relate to an item I found at Apartment Therapy – The Kitt-In Box is designed to increase your productivity by keeping kitty off the keyboard.

litter-box-furniture-from-amazonThe litter box has a number of issues from tracking litter to the odour. These typically get relegated to the mudroom, laundry room or bathroom. I’ve seen some clever arrangements that include a bathroom fan mounted near the litter box to vent the odour to the outside.You can also buy furniture designed to disguise litter boxes that double as end tables or TV stands.

Someone with a bit of ingenuity, a home workshop and moderate woodworking skills, could build something similar.

Dog Stuff Can Take a Lot of Space:

  • food storage (Bins are great)
  • dog crates / beds
  • toy box
  • leashes /coats
  • grooming stuff

As a household with a serious Greyhound addiction, I’m here to tell you, it’s hard to pretend you don’t have three large wire crates in the kitchen or endless dog beds carpeting the floors. Our “someday” dream kitchen musings always revolve around the needs of our large canine companions.

furniture-style-dog-crate-amazonIn the meantime, I’m giving thought to ways to disguise the crates or incorporate them into cabinetry, like the one above from do it, that uses a repurposed floor grate for the door. My current thinking is to add wood tops to the existing crates, with storage cabinets above for coats and other things.

If you have small or mid-size dogs, you can get some very nice furniture style crates that fit almost any decor. You can even get a Murphy Bed at for small dogs that folds up into a shallow cabinet. I like this idea and might try to come up with a futon-sized version for the “kids” to sack out on in the dining room.

Whether you’re just planning to freshen up the laundry room, or heading for a full-blown renovation, take a close look at your daily routine, and don’t forget to include the four-legged members of the clan.

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