Creating ‘Pet-Friendly’ Spaces Offer Unique Possibilities, Designers Say

by WOHe

Creating ‘Pet-Friendly’ Spaces Offer Unique
Possibilities, Designers

Has kitchen design gone to the dogs? The answer, somewhat
surprisingly, is yes. After all, for many pet-loving clients, their
furry friends are considered an important part of the family. So,
why not design a space that works for them, as well?

That’s the belief of Judy Pepper, owner of Pepper Design
Associates, in Arvada, CO, who notes that it takes more than simply
setting out a dog dish to create a special pet area.

“There was a kitchen design we did for a family where we created
a mud room that had a dog run with a little entrance and a dog
door. There were tiles on the floors and walls and water right
there so that the homeowner could clean mud off the dog’s paws.
Also, the pet food was right there as you entered the kitchen, so
it was very convenient,” she explains.

Pamela Monaco, owner/principal designer for Whole House
Cabinetry, in Glenmore, PA, feels that the mud room concept can be
taken even further. “In the mud room, have a sink low to the floor
where you can clean their feet and a dryer to quickly dry their

Monaco even cites a design with a timer on the door so that the
dogs could open the door and the floor would automatically flood
with water, washing their feet. Then, the water would drain and the
air would come up to dry them, after which the door to the rest of
the house would open.

Both Pepper and Monaco have used pull-out drawers to create
feeding areas, and Monaco adds, “A pocket door or a lift-up door
will also help conceal the pet’s food.”

Steven Erenrich, designer for Patete Kitchen and Bath Design
Center in Carnegie, PA concurs. “Several times, I’ve had to design
a space for dishes and large areas for pet food and even a dog bed.
Of course, the dog bed would be out of the way in a desk area,
because the last thing you want is the dog to be underfoot,” he

Erenrich has used “a two-way flip door that is integrated with a
prime door in the house so that the dog can let itself in or
Cat doors, too, can be neatly incorporated into a design, and
Monaco reports having once designed a custom-made cat door to match
the home’s French doors.

According to Pepper, it is also possible to incorporate a doggie
design into the overall feel of a family kitchen. “We did an
oversized place mat for one dog, because it was a large pet. The
place mat was laminated and it had matching draperies. It also made
cleanup very easy,” she adds.

Erenrich adds, “I recall a design where we draped a dog eating
area. There was some open space in the kitchen cabinetry, so by
draping it, we concealed the dog dishes and water bowl. That way,
the clients just needed to pull the drapes shut after they filled
up each bowl and the dog could just stick its head through the

And there are still other elements that can be added to a
kitchen to make it dog friendly, says Monaco.

“Heated floors will keep a constant temperature and make it
comfortable for pets who are going to lay around,” she
But what about the client who wants a pet motif in their space?

For Monaco, a self-described animal lover, the possibilities are
endless. “I would suggest a natural theme with woods and wild
animals. Or, designers could use tiles that have pets’ paw prints
[stamped into] the tile,” she

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