Thursday, August 11, 2022

Living with Dogs

Carolyne Roehm with her dogs

My pups have their annual physicals today, so it seemed like a great day to post about living with dogs.

Here are some wise tips from interior designers - 

Avoid fabrics that attract pet fur such as velvet, mohair and velour – opt for smoother ones such as leather and synthetic fibers. Invest in quality textiles to withstand the test of time and claws. Designer Kelly Wearstler recommends working with the dog. For example, if they shed hair frequently, the upholstery and bed covers should match their coat color.

Hardwood floors stain, dent and scratch quickly. They also require rapid cleaning should a puddle appear. Laminate, stone or ceramic floorings are best for pets as they are more hard-wearing. If you have your heart set on wood, however, choose mahogany or oak. 

Interior designer Jonathan Adler keeps his dog’s toys in shallow baskets dotted around the house, so that they are accessible by dogs and humans alike.

Hanging leads on high hooks keeps them out of the way and from getting tangled. Mary McDonald also recommends choosing the right weight and length of lead for your breed of dog. 

Think about the wall finish. A highly textured wall will attract pet fur, even if your four-legged friend isn’t rubbing up against it. Go for a satin or semi-gloss finish as it makes it easier to scrub off unwanted stains.
Interior designer Mark D Sikes advises matching dog beds to existing decorating schemes for style coordination. For example, if you have a striped rug or a certain color of paint on the walls, buy a dog bed in the same color or pattern. 

This one sounds obvious, but wash your pet regularly. Dirt removed through grooming is dirt that isn’t trailed around the house. However, pet shampoo can be harsh if used too frequently; after walks, quick wash-downs with plain water are better. Use a dark towel for drying. 

Fabrics and furnishings can be treated with nontoxic protective sprays and coatings that repel watermarks and stains and provide easy cleaning of even the most delicate of materials, advises designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard.

This is an edited extract from At Home with Dogs and their Designers by Susanna Salk, published by Rizzoli.

At Home with Dogs and their Designers by Susanna Salk

Mary McDonald's pugs

Mary McDonald and her pugs

John Rosselli and his dogs

Here are tips of mine and some favorite products. Click on the captions to link.

ChappyWrap blankets in the midi and mini size are perfect for protecting your sofa or bed. They are so soft and cozy and you just throw them in the washer and dryer when needed.


Give your dog filtered water. Filtered water for dogs is the best option, especially for those who have a more delicate digestive system or a weaker immune system like small breeds or older dogs. Clean, filtered water will help keep your pet healthy and strong throughout their life because clean water helps their cells regrow and thrive. If you don't drink tap water, neither should your pets.

Stainless steel or ceramic food and water bowls are best, not plastic, and wash them daily.

Faux Bamboo Ceramic Dog Bowl

These palm leaf bowls come in pink or blue in small or large. I have these and love them. The stainless steel inserts pop right out for washing. 

Palm Bowls in Blue

Palm Bowls in Pink

A safe way on and off high furniture like beds or sofas is a must. Jumping on and off the bed is a "high-load activity, with a mixture of hard and soft surfaces which causes a lot of strain on your dog's musculature and joints. "

Alex Papachristidis' dog Teddy

Interior designer Alex Papachristidis uses small antique chairs. I love these faux bamboo steps. This is available in high gloss white or navy.

Faux Bamboo Step Ottoman

Say hello to the Bamboo Inspired Step Ottoman, handcrafted in Italy with a solid beech wood frame and accented with bamboo turnings and classic chinoiserie style elements. The patented design and functionality gives the illusion of a single piece of furniture, but you actually get 3 independent luxury ottomans that can be attached and detached by tongue and groove glides. The ottomans can be fully detached and arranged in several configurations including; luxury pet stairs, kid steps, tables, and stools.

My pups absolutely adore Charlee Bear Original Beef Liver Dog Treats. They are all natural, made with real liver, are grain free, and low calorie. Trader Joe's is definitely the best priced - $3.99 for a 16 ounce bag with hundreds of treats per bag.

Charlee Bear Dog Treats

This is quite fabulous - a gray velvet tufted dog sofa with nailhead trim. Solid wood frame - furniture grade construction. And Frontgate has 25% off one item through today.

Wentworth Tufted Dog Sofa

Wentworth Tufted Dog Sofa

There are countless options in dog beds. I personally think it's difficult finding one that is aesthetically pleasing, functional (a zip off cover that can be machine washed and dried), and comfortable and supportive for your dog.

I have two favorites.

 I love this one at Serena & Lily - it's beautiful, the cushion is non-allergenic and eco-friendly, and the cover can be machine washed and dried. It's available in two sizes and two fabrics.

Riviera Dog Bed

Many of us have fallen in love with Casper mattresses - they have a dog bed too! It gets absolutely rave reviews and is highly recommended for dogs who are elderly or have arthritis, hip, or back issues. It comes in four colors and three sizes. Many reviews have named this the best dog bed on the market.

Pressure-relieving memory foam and durable support foam to create a bed that loves Fido back

Excess material on top for dogs that like to dig and scratch to make the perfect sleeping spot

Supportive foam bolsters on the mattress create a safe space for dogs to lay their heads. Sewn-in pockets hide the metal zippers, so they won’t scratch your floors

Microfiber blended material designed to be durable and rip-resistant

Removable and machine washable cover that's impenetrable to fur slobber-resistant

Casper Plush Memory Foam Dog Bed


  1. WOW - even though I luv pups - that pic of John Rosselli with SIX dogs - mercy, no matter if they're shedders or not, even if they're all on special organic foods - I get a WHIFF of the room from here- LOL.

    1. There is no reason why a home with dogs would smell, mine certainly doesn't.

    2. But you have only 2. I have NO doubt that someone arriving at Mr. Rosselli residence would know there's dogs living there even w/o spying one. Just IMHO - and l reiterate - I luv pups !

    3. I had three until very recently and as you can see, Carolyne Roehm and Mary McDonald each have five. I doubt their homes or Bunny Williams homes smell. Dogs don't smell any more than humans - it's a matter of keeping them clean.

    4. I humbly digress to the Master - you're in it to win it :)

  2. Aren't animals wonderful? They ask for so little, but give so much. I especially love that picture of John Roselli with all of his pups.

    1. Absolutely - never trust anyone who doesn't like dogs.

  3. I got to meet Carolyne Reehm at Antquie Shows NYC, Flower Market NYC, her showroom at 550 7th Ave. with Beautiful Dresses & Florence Italy. Carolyne was also Nice, Happy, Smart, & Very Beautiful ! plus I love all her Books ! the Best , Al