Designing For Your Dog

When we shopped around for our first home, there were a few “musts” that my husband and I individually required before we signed on the dotted line. Fast forward a couple years, and we heard the pitter-patter of not two but four legs flying across the kitchen floor. A warm, adorable and very messy puppy was now the master of our domain.

Karen Kempf knows the story well. A dog owner herself, this Wisconsin interior designer caters to dog lovers everywhere who want to include their pets’ needs into the architecture of their home. She gives a few examples such as incorporating a custom feeding station into a kitchen base cabinet or raising the height of your dog’s food and water bowl so that it’s at the most comfortable height for them. Another popular item she creates is a pull-out drawer that will hold the pet food in an airtight container.

Dog owners will agree that one of the tell-tale signs of a home owned by dogs is scuffed up floors and fabrics.

Karen advises, “Rather than worry about dogs being up on the sofa, I think most people would just like to make sure the fabrics they choose will be durable enough for them and resist dirt. In a project we just finished, my client’s dog has the habit of scratching the back door when she needs to go out. So we had the metal worker that created a custom stove hood and staircase for this project make a decorative wrought iron panel that fit over the base of the door. It’s essentially a kick plate but works beautifully for keeping Lola’s nails from damaging the wood on the door. Plus it matches the other metal work in the house so it became its own little design element.”

Karen also sees a trend in remodeling that incorporates a dog wash station in a mudroom or laundry room.

Karen offers encouragement to dog owners who want to cater to their pooch without busting the budget.

“Making your home beautiful and functional for you and your pets does not need to be a costly venture. Making some small adjustments like being thoughtful about the fabrics you select for your new sofa or the type of flooring you put in can just create a less stressful, more functional living environment and be beautiful at the same time.”


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