Ten years ago, when I authored my first book, Animal House Style, I wanted to debunk a widespread myth: That it’s impossible to keep a beautiful home with pets in residence. My goal was to prove that some of the most stylish people live with multiple pets, in homes that are not just clean and orderly, but ready for their closeup in a glossy decor magazine.
So I produced a coffee-table-style book that would contain helpful information, illustrated with color photographs for maximum impact. I visited numerous dog lovers at home, many of them professional interior designers, asking them how they did it. Happily, the book drove home the point that living with more than one dog does not have to mean sacrificing style – far from it!
Today, it’s so much easier to share stylish digs with dogs. Over the past decade, manufacturers have come out with so many brilliant new inventions. There is upholstery fabric that’s designed to resist stains, odors, moisture, and bacteria while still looking beautiful.
Meanwhile, productsthat were once the top secrets of top-drawer decorators – such as mod-looking modular carpet tile and easy-care slipcovers and attractive, protective, micro suede throws – are easily available to anyone with a telephone and a credit card.
Ten years ago, everyday items such as dog beds and food/water bowls were not much to look at. Dog beds and bowlsroutinely sported cutesy paw-print patterns that no self-respecting design hound would ever want to display at home. What a difference a decade makes: Pet accessories have come a long way, with dog beds designed by world-renowned artists, and bowls available in a range of styles, from traditional to contemporary,to blend in with any type of interior.
Home cleaning products have come a long way too, with an emphasis on safely eliminating any spots that Spot might leave behind. For the spots you can see, as well as the ones you can’t (but Spot can smell), there’s a terrific, non-toxic stain and odor extractor called Get Serious that really works. It’s so effective and easy to use, I honestly don’t know how I did without this product back in 2001!
And no more worrying that cleanup day could be hazardous to dogs, with Spot pressing his sensitive nose against freshly-de-streaked glass or sticking his curious snout in a freshly-freshened toilet bowl. Now, there’s even a range of botanical-based home cleaning products, PawSafe, created with pet safety in mind.
In my book, I looked forward to the day when savvy real-estate developers would build state-of-the-art, pet-friendly apartment buildings with 24-hour concierge service and special amenities for dog lovers and their K9s. And I’m delighted that this daydream has become a reality in uptown Dallas, which is home to the luxury Gables Park 17 high-rise.
This glamorous, 25-story building, located at 1700 Cedar Springs,boasts a theater, poker room, game lounge, Wii room, business center, one-acre landscaped amenity deck with fitness center, outdoor infinity-edge pool with stunning city view, and original artwork on every floor. Even the common area is uncommonly attractive. But most important to Dogsters, it also has an indoor dog park right on the premises, customized for the recreational needs of resident K9s.
This marvel of urban K9 convenience is called – what else? – Bark 17.
Exercising dogs indoors was never easier – the climate-controlled dog digs are outfitted with faux grass, water fountains of varying heights for dogs and humans, and poop-bag dispensers. What a great way to get to know your neighbors: Having your best friend socialize and play with theirs! There’s even a K9000 self-service dog grooming station, which conveniently eliminates the back-wrenching discomfort of bending down in the bathtub to grapple with a slippery dog.
“With Bark 17, urban living and pet ownership can go hand-in-hand,” says David Roland of Gables Park 17 (pictured at right with his best friend, Banjo). “Pets are important to our residents and we have incorporated and accommodated our four-legged friends within a high rise lifestyle.”
Betting on dog lovers’ instinct togravitate to high-end critter comforts while still remaining conscious of their carbon paw-print, Gables Park 17 was built to meet LEED certification standards, and features eco-friendly bamboo flooring and energy-efficient stainless steel appliances.
What’s the most stylish, dog-friendly residence you’ve ever seen? Please tell all in the comments.