Butler County Times Gazette
by Jan Colvin
Lassie, go get help - Timmy fell in the well!
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About this blog
By Jan Colvin

I have been a professional interior designer for over 25 years (Allied ASID). I credit my mother Pat Robinson and Lucille Chase for my intense interest and love for design.
I've taught interior design at the college level and operated a ...

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Through the Front Door

I have been a professional interior designer for over 25 years (Allied ASID). I credit my mother Pat Robinson and Lucille Chase for my intense interest and love for design.
I've taught interior design at the college level and operated a private design business since 2001. Today I spend a majority of my time completing a new book which will be available in the first quarter of 2013.   

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My furry companions, Stewart Lewis and Lucille McGillicuddy bring us joy, as an appealing part of our decor.
My furry companions, Stewart Lewis and Lucille McGillicuddy bring us joy, as an appealing part of our decor.
By Jan Colvin
Aug. 27, 2013 6:48 a.m.



Bet that got your attention! That story line from the “Lassie” series shows how much we depend on and love our pets. Consider the amazing life-altering difference that assistance animals make in the lives of those in need. Think about the difference being a pet owner makes in all our lives. There are wonderful health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and lowering the risk of dying of cardiac disease. After all, what’s better than a brisk morning walk with your furry friend? A few minutes in the company of a cat or dog, or just watching fish swim, can make you less anxious or stressed. And as a pet owner, aren’t you generally met at the door by a wagging tail or a cat that winds in and out of your legs, thrilled to see you again?

So today I would like to visit a bit about how rich and wonderful animals make our lives. But what does Timmy in the well have to do with interior design, you ask? Well, it’s about the gracious living through attention to every detail, including a pet’s sleeping areas, dinnerware, and, playthings. Last year,  HYPERLINK "http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp"consumers spent $51 billion on pets, a record that’s expected to be broken again this year. As recently as 2002, total pet expenditures in the United States came to around $30 billion. Clearly finding product is not going to be difficult!

Better Beds

Let’s start with pet beds. In many of my projects, every piece of furniture and accessory is positioned with finesse and then I stand back with my clients to admire the lovely completed room. This is a wonderful moment for a designer! Then someone plops the dog’s old ratty misshapen bed in the corner and my elation takes a nosedive. Well, that doesn’t work! Yes, I understand the importance of pet beds. But I also understand how easy it is to have them blend into the room’s design. For your finely tuned rooms, look for a bed that is either a show-stopper or one that resides quietly in the corner, disappearing from notice. Frontgate, Drs. Foster & Smith and, of course, L.L. Bean have wonderful beds that will certainly enhance your room with their presence. Perhaps even consider a custom made one with changeable covers.

Puppy gate

Barriers that restrict animals from certain areas of your home are important. I have some clients, the dearest sweetest people on the planet, who always adopt their pets from shelters. With the shelter animals comes some behavior issues. For example, one of their dogs views the dining room as an extension of the backyard (I’m sure you get the problem). Keeping the dog out of this area had to be done! But a gate that you need to hop over is not only an accident ready to happen, but it’s esthetically unappealing. Frontgate offers beautiful well-crafted gates with pass-through opening in a number of finishes and designs. They are not permanently installed, so when guests arrive for dinner, they take a short visit to the garage, the dogs go to the bedroom for the evening and all is well.

Fine Dining

Let’s talk pet dining! I know, it seems silly. But the tiniest little details have such a huge impact, so work with me here gorgeous. Pet bowls for food and water don’t have to be eyesores. Google “pet bowls” and you will be shocked at the variety available. You’ll find options at every price range, in every style, for cats and dogs. Or, consider using bowls right from your daily dinnerware, perhaps cereal bowls or serving bowls depending on the size of your pet. Maybe even place the bowls on a lovely placemat or a fun mat from Pet Smart. This may seem extravagant, but it’s this attention to the simplest of things that gives your kitchen that effortless appeal. Let your animals experience a bit of gracious living!

Toy Boxes

Our pets do need toys to prevent boredom as well as exercise their owners. A great-looking basket or some type of pot that is easy for pets to access—and is not a blemish on your room—is a great way to tidy things up. Antique double boilers are wonderful item to stash these necessities in. The Capel Rug company makes a wonderful braided baskets that I have placed in clients’ homes for pet toys. The baskets are attractive and so practical! Take this tidying up one step further and teach your pets to put their own toys away! (If you manage this, I would like for you to visit with my two furry companions, Iris Lucille McGillicuddy and Stewart Lewis, and teach them, too!)

Pets are such a wonderful joy in our lives and their possessions can bring us joy, too, as an appealing part of our décor. With all the wonderful items available today, it’s simple. Just take a look around at what belongs to your pets and see if perhaps a bit of an upgrade might be in order.

I will leave you on this fine Saturday with some profound words from John Grogan, who wrote Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog!

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”

I will be here next week for coffee!

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