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How to Pet-proof Your Home

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Interior designer Jessica Love shares her tips for making your home pet friendly. 

By Courtney Runn

Bringing home a new pet is like bringing home a baby: Suddenly, your home is an obstacle course of sharp edges and stainable surfaces. As the principal of Austin-based Urbane Design, Jessica Love is used to accommodating her clients’ pets and has two rescue dogs of her own, Bowie and Cornelius. 

“I’m a huge advocate for rescues,” she says. “But I love all animals.” 

Whether you’re bringing home a bright-eyed pup or a furry senior citizen or moving homes with your pets in tow, here’s what Love recommends when decorating. 

AVOID HARDWOOD FLOORS WITH LARGE PETS. 

If your dog weighs more than 50 pounds, Love suggests vinyl, laminate or tile to avoid their nails scratching up hardwood floors. 

CHOOSE DURABLE FABRICS. 

Leather couches and kittens don’t mix well. When choosing sofa fabrics, Love recommends high-performance fabrics and fabrics with tighter weaves for pets prone to scratching and clawing at furniture. She also discourages linen or cotton. “They’re very, very hard to clean and do stretch easily,” she says, “so I definitely avoid those on finishes with pets or children.” 

SOURCE VINTAGE RUGS. 

“When it comes to rugs, I recommend 100 percent wool rugs, which not every designer would, but I love vintage rugs,” Love says. “If you have a rug that’s been around for 100 years, a pet’s not going to mess it up…so I always push for hand-tufted wool rugs.” 

INSTALL PET DOORS. 

“Cats can be really smelly creatures, so it was always really important for me to have a cat door installed either to a garage or to a utility room to act as the cat’s own potty room. So, I think [pet doors] can be really useful in the home,” Love says. If you’re concerned about raccoons or possums taking up residence through pet doors accessing the outdoors, look for models that are triggered by magnets in your pet’s collar. 

INSTALL ASTROTURF OUTSIDE. 

Love recently installed AstroTurf in parts of her own yard for easy dog maintenance and cleanup. “One, I don’t have to mow the grass, and two, it has a porous layer underneath, so…if [my dogs] urinate on it, I can spray it down with a water hose and soft cleaner, and it doesn’t absorb smells,” she says. 

AVOID SHARP-EDGED FURNITURE. 

If you have an aging pet, consider the height of your pet and be aware of any sharp edges or obstructed paths that could hurt a pet with visibility or mobility issues. 

TALK TO YOUR DESIGNER ABOUT YOUR PETS. 

If you’re working with a designer, mention the age and breed of your pet to guide your décor plan. “If you tell me, ‘I have two dogs and a cat and I might add more and I’m thinking of getting into fostering and I have two kids,’ ” Love says, “I am never, ever going to recommend we get a glass coffee table and white leather sofa.” 

JESSICA LOVE’S FAVORITE LOCAL SHOPS

Pretty Kennels for handcrafted kennels that aren’t an eyesore in your living room 

The Southern Loom for vintage rugs durable enough for any pet

Hearth & Soul for dog clothes and other fashionable pet accessories

P & F Pet Provisions for all your daily pet needs 


BARKITECTURE

When: Oct. 27, noon to 4 p.m. 

Where: Fair Market 

What: A “custom doghouse show and auction by Austin’s best architects, builders and designers,” Barkitecture is going on year 15 of raising money for dog-rescue organizations. 



READ MORE FROM THE OCTOBER ISSUE



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