Nina Dunham wanted her redecorated one-bedroom co-op to be totally cat-friendly. That was a challenge, especially considering that her designer, Rachel Dougan, was installing high-end furnishings from Fortuny and Fornasetti. But fortunately, Elli, 19, and Diablo, 14, Dunham’s fluffy Somali cats, seem to live comfortably in the glamorous new digs, Dunham says. Here are some suggestions from Dougan on how to stylishly accommodate four-legged clients:
1. Install a wood laminate floor. Dougan used gray laminate in Dunham’s apartment, because it’s pet-friendly and easy to wipe clean after any spill. It also won’t buckle.
2. Choose rugs strategically. In the bedroom, they used a dense-weave, high-pile wool wall-to-wall carpet. The nubby brown-and-black pattern matches the color of Dunham’s cats, making hair less noticeable. The living area and kitchen have rugs made of cowhide, which Dougan says is resilient and easily cleaned.
3. Order a slipcover in the same color as your upholstery for daily use. The sectional, bought at Random Harvest, was upholstered in a luxurious olive velvet, Pierre Frey’s Opera-Velours. They found the same color in an indoor-outdoor fabric, and they first washed and dried samples of the fabric several times to see how durable it was.
4. Build a litter box niche in the bathroom. While designing a custom storage unit in the bathroom, Dougan carved out a space at the bottom for the litter box. The cats are comfortable, and the box is well hidden from guests.
5. Invest in stylish seat protectors. Dougan recommends getting some inexpensive faux or real mini sheepskin rugs to keep atop dining or occasional chairs. This type of rug is often available at Ikea. Keep them on your good chairs when you are home. Your cats will either be repelled by them or love curling up on them, but either way your seat upholstery will be saved and you can whip off the rugs before guests arrive.