• Tell Your Friends

It’s time I introduce you to some integral members of my family: Bernard P. and George Michael Loechner. Wave hello, friends!

This is the darling duo on Halloween last year. Left: Bernard P., Right: George Michael.

This is the darling duo on Halloween last year. Left: Bernard P., Right: George Michael. And also, if you'd like to know what the P. in Bernard P. stands for, I suggest you adopt a dog with a small bladder. It will become quite clear soon thereafter.

Bernard P. (Bernie) is a small Yorkipoo with a big attitude, and George Michael (George) is a soft-coated Wheaton terrier with an unhealthy affection for obedience. Seriously, the dog is perfection in a bucket. You’ll love him; come visit.

Anyway, Husband and I have discussed how this renovation and new floor plan will affect our dogs more than I’d care to admit. I suppose that’s what couples do pre-children: meddle into their pets’ lives until they have teenagers they can lecture about misplacing the car keys yet again.

Regardless, we’ve been working really hard to create a seamless transition for the pups. And together, we’ve come up with a few ideas that will (hopefully!) keep the dogs from losing all of their marbles (Lord knows Bernie has lost quite enough along the way…).*

Do these look like faces that can restrain themselves in the morning?

Do these look like faces that can restrain themselves in the morning?

1. Lifestyle first.

Shortly after we purchased our home, I had a bit of a nervous breakdown. After walking through the home and planning our renovation, I quickly noticed there was no direct exit to the backyard. Thus, in order to take the dogs out to relieve themselves, we would either have to exit through (1) two garage doors and a gate or (2) our sun room, then into the backyard.

Clearly, with a dog named Bernard P., this wouldn’t do. So, we installed a sliding glass door (thank you, Anderson!) from the dining room directly to the backyard. It was a tough decision and definitely not in our original budget, but our lifestyle called for a direct exit. It would have been easy to think that we would adjust to exiting through multiple doors, but reality (and sanity!) comes first.

2. Hidden organization is key.

Whether your pets collect bones, toys or cardboard boxes, hidden storage and an organizational system are essential. I’m assuming this rule is pretty standard with children, as well?

design_for_mankind 2010-07-20 at 3.20.28 PM
This model from Omni+
can act as a TV stand and hidden storage in one.

3. Overhaul the staples.

We crate our dogs when we’re not home. Because of the aforementioned bladder issue and the fact that Bernie is a disobedient hack (that I love endlessly! truly!), we simply can’t trust him within the walls of our home.

Gorgeous, no? Give your dog a futuristic home and yourself some peace of mind.

Gorgeous, no? Give your dog a futuristic home and yourself some peace of mind.

At the moment, we have some crates that are functional but not pretty. I’m thinking of splurging on the Black eiCrate from Go!Pet Design and letting the crates be an integral part of the room, rather than hiding them in a bedroom when company arrives. Similarly, these Pagoda feeders make my average dog bowls look like dishes fit for a pauper.

Take a cue from your pets and relax!

Take a cue from your pets and relax!

4. Breathe deeply and let go.

And last, take a deep breath. Your home should be lived in, not showcased. If your pet’s favorite toy is that giant, raggedy polyester snake, so what? Pets are around to keep you happy and active, so give them some breathing room and space to grow. Your house isn’t everything.

Your home is.

*If you’re not familiar with my musings about Bernie, he’s quite quirky. Yesterday he gathered three oranges and two tomatoes from our garden, then sat atop them for 20 minutes.

P.S. Want to play voyeur and check out over 100 dog-friendly homes? Drool away over at Design*Sponge.

By the way, got any questions for me about remodeling? Decorating tips? Living beautifully with pets? Let’s get a Q&A going for my August 4 post. Can’t wait to hear what you’ve been chewing on!


Design Inspiration

121 Responses

  1. Kristen says:

    I'm not too ashamed to admit that our pets factored into both our home-buying and design decisions in a big way. We had to have a home with a fenced yard for the dogs, and really wanted a screened-in porch for the cat (and for us to drink wine on). I would really love to use lots of bright whites and clean, solid colors in our decorating, but with two dogs and a lot of dirt in the back yard, it makes more sense for us to stick with more neutral earth tones (I just incorporate those colors in the guest rooms, where the dogs generally don't go).

    I mean, much as I'd love love LOVE to have a home that looks like it belongs in a magazine, it's more important to me to live in a space where I can sit on the couch and pet my dog without worrying whether the dirt on her coat is staining my rug or sofa.

    • Burnett says:

      I have three small dogs. They still have accidents sometimes. Getting the smell out of the grout so they don't think the house is a potty is difficult.
      I am replacing the large kitchen floor, wood or tile?
      thank you in advance.

  2. Amber says:

    I just bought a big poofy recliner (!) instead of the very austere, streamlined modern chair I really wanted, because I knew the functionality of the recliner would allow my two miniature dachshunds to sleep on my lap while I read. Other major design choices I have made almost entirely because of the dogs:

    1) hardwood flooring throughout the house – no more carpet (I hear you about the tiny bladders!)
    2) new back door installation included a doggie door and moving the threshold down 2 inches to accommodate their short little dachshund legs
    3) gel decals (!!!) on my glass screen doors so the dogs don't go running full speed through the glass because they think the door is wide open. I had these decals, but I would hate a cracked dog skull more.
    4) layout of the bedroom is not my first or second or even fifth choice, but had to be done to accommodate the set of "doggie stairs" they need to get up on the bed
    5) All my plants must now hang from ceiling hooks in suspended planters – dachshunds LOVE to dig!

    There are probably a dozen more things – those dogs changed everything.

  3. Beth Mahuron says:

    I love the dog cages, they definitely could be an integral part of a house's decor. Great job, little e. from ab!

  4. Melissa de la Fuente says:

    Um…I never get tired of these photos of Bernie and George! I love them, love them, love them! (tell them so, won't you?) :) Now, as far as the decor goes, I am sooo with you & love your picks hun. ( that crate is stellar) I love your quote, your house isn't everything; your home is. Beautiful and true! Also, Bernie? Were you hoping the oranges and tomatoes would hatch into little Bernie's? Perhaps Bernie is a mama trapped inside a man's body? Whatever the reasons I adore Bernie and his quirks, they are both heaven on a stick! :)

  5. erin / dfm says:

    Ha — exactly. I do think Bernie was hoping he could clone himself and pop out dozens of little Bernie's. He's quite egotistical like that. ;)

    Thanks, all!

  6. Kelly says:

    Oh George, how did I know that pic of you was going to surface again?!?

  7. erin / dfm says:

    HA! It's our dirty little secret, Kelly! :)

  8. Jamie says:

    I can sympathize re: the small bladder. Our dog's full name is Stephen J. Peepis. I've resigned myself to the face that I will never have carpet.

  9. erin / dfm says:

    Ha — you sound like us, Jamie!

  10. [...] a few of my musings online this week:-Matchmaker, Matchmaker at ReadyMade Mag (pictured above) -Designing Your Home Around Pets at HGTV.com -Chairs Galore at The House That DFM Built -Measuring Tape Light at ReadyMade Mag [...]

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