It used to be that a doghouse conjured images of shoddy wooden shelters in the back yard. But fleeting are the days when a dog’s digs were restricted to the outdoors.

Pet owner Paula Leone has a view that’s increasingly common.

“My dogs are wherever I am, so my dogs are only outside when I’m outside,” she says, “and if I’m inside, then they’re inside with me.”

Letting Rover room with you, however, can mean more wear and tear on your home, resulting in scuffed floors, chipped paint, and spotted carpets.

Some pet owners are now taking a proactive approach to preserving their homes by redesigning them with their dogs in mind, giving a whole new meaning to the term “doghouse.”

This growing home design trend may seem preposterous to some, but to pet owners like Leone, it’s just plain practical. She fosters dogs in her home and owns three pooches of her own, so she decided to make her home more dog friendly last year.

“Having dogs indoors isn’t easy, and your house is bound to endure some damage, especially if you have a puppy,” she says. “Rather than worrying about fixing damages, I’d rather just have a house that can endure all my dogs.”

Leone says she gave her kitchen a major overhaul by recruiting Mary Kathryn Reese of Kitchen Design Concepts.

Reese says before any nails were hammered, some serious thought had to be given to Leone’s lifestyle.

“When people do kitchens, they ought not be cookie cutter kitchens,” she explains. “Each person has different needs, which leads to different design decisions. If you’re going to invest, you might as well get it right.”

In Leone’s case, getting it right meant durable paint on the walls, so they chose flat, washable brands. And for the trim, they used oil-based semi-gloss paint because it’s especially resistant.

Next, Leone says some thought was given to the floor.

“I knew I didn’t want a highly polished surface because dogs, especially older ones, are afraid of shiny floors because they’re not steady on their feet.”

Instead, the kitchen floors were done in Lyptus, a hard Eucalyptus wood blend made by Weyerhaeuser.

“It looks like cherry wood but it’s hard as a rock, so it’s perfect for dogs,” Leone says.

Leone also floored other parts of her home with travertine, a resistant stone tile. And exceptionally thin grout lines make for easier cleaning.

Reese says pet friendly design requests like this are becoming more and more common.

“People are thinking of their dogs as family now, and they don’t want the hassle of having something that’s not going to work for them.”

Leone says her new kitchen certainly works for her and her dogs, and she’s pleased to know the home design industry is finally recognizing there’s a market for pet friendly homes, yet she does have one small complaint.

“I haven’t figured out how to keep wet nose marks off the windows, so I’m still waiting for the industry to create a solution to that.”


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