Keep your home dogs from going to the BY DEBBIE WIENER Okay, I admit it. I live with slobs. And, they’ve converted me into one of them. At any given moment, there are dirty dishes in the family room, clothes scattered up and down the stairs, piles of papers all over the kitchen table and beds with blankets askew. You know what I mean. I work, I’m a mom, I walk our beloved Daisy three times a day and I’m busy. I have no time to straighten up the house each and every day, but that doesn’t mean I have let our home go to the dogs! Quite the contrary. My home cleans up in a snap, with every surface and seat looking new and clean....if I have the time and I rarely do, doggone it. To keep my sanity and protect my home investment, I followed my own time-tested, slobproof design rules, choosing finishes and furnishings that are suitable for a dog house, but I used them in my house. Whether it’s cats, mice, canines, kids or, in my case, a very sloppy spouse, my design tips will keep your home from going to the dogs too. So relax. Let sleeping dogs lay (or is it lie?). If your home is slob-proofed, it’s dog-proofed and ready for real life. Let’s start with the floor, which, in a single day can collect enough twigs, leaves and grass to landscape a city garden. An area rug or carpeted room adds softness, luxury and warmth to your home, but won’t last long if you don’t go shopping prepared for battle. Pet nails, shedding, drooling, golf shoes and baseball cleats- even play time- can easily pull fibers and make new carpets and rugs look old and dull. Here’s how to make the right choice for all the paws in your home: 1. Stay away from hooked area rugs and carpets. These are made by pulling yarns through the carpet backing, creating a looped effect. Wear and tear will quickly pull the fibers out from the backing, ruining your flooring. 2. If your dog “Twinkle” is prone to indoor tinkle, have anti-bacterial, waterproof padding placed under your wall-to-wall carpet and area rugs, to prevent damage and odors. 3. Match the color of your carpet fibers to your dog’s shedding hair and/or to the spots you have now on your existing carpet. Who has the time to vacuum every day? Choose rugs that camouflage spills, stains shedding hair to preserve your sanity. 4. Consider synthetic fiber materials, like nylon, acrylic and polypropylene. These fibers clean up from accidents in a snap, don’t retain odors and don’t attract insects, such as moths and ants. Not every room has carpet and not everyone wants carpet, but what are the best choices for a harder flooring surface? Kind to feet and paws, my Fido-friendly floor tips take the worry out of accidents, scratches or drool. 1. Tile floors: Almost any stone, ceramic or porcelain tile is a safe and durable choice- it’s the grout (a mixture of sand, cement and water) that shows stains and mold without proper care or unless you choose a very dark color. Use epoxy grout instead. Made of resin and hardeners with no water, epoxy grout stays clean- no matter what happens to it. A bit more expensive, but a lot more peace of mind. 2. Resilient floors: Softer than stone or ceramic tile, today’s vinyl, linoleum and cork offer affordability and hard-wearing performance with little care. If you have pets, you need to do your own scratch-test, knowing the more you spend, the deeper the top layer of color, which will hold up longer. Check out “Dura-Ceramic” from Congoleum, Halo and Amtico for great-looking, hard-wearing floors that you’ll love so much, you’ll want to marry them. 3. Hardwood: It’s the hardness rating and the finish that determine wood’s durability. The higher the hardness rating (Brazilian Cherry ranks a 2820 while American cherry gets a 950), the less likely it is to be marred with scratches and dings. Hand-scraped flooring, which has an irregular surface, comes pre- distressed, making it another great choice for a dog house, my house and your house. See “Carriage House” hardwood floors. I didn’t sacrifice stylish window wear because my best friend (yes, she is) sheds on the hanging drapery fabric or jumps up at the window and drools! I chose all the window coverings with Daisy in mind. 1. Whether it’s your spouse, kids or your dog, choose shades and blinds that go up and down on your window frame, rather than draperies that hang along the side to the floor. Shades and blinds stay up and out of harm’s way until you pull them down for privacy. I keep mine up all day, so Daisy has a clear view and my expensive shades stay clean and dry. 2. If strings and cords are too irresistible to keep from chewing, most window shades come with a remote control option. With a hidden battery-operated motor in the head rail, they eliminate the need for any hanging hardware, making a safe and trouble-free window covering that will last longer and look better than a traditional shade or blind. If you’ve got kids, remote controls are a must for safety and to remain free of messy finger prints. 3. Don’t limit yourself to wooden blinds, cellular shades, and aluminum or plastic mini-blinds. Today’s “Roman” shades, made of soft folds of fabric, provide privacy, insulation and come in an infinite variety of fabrics and styles. Immortalize man’s best friend by using window shade designs that attach with rods, rings and decorative dog head finials! Choose fabrics with dog prints on them. The choices for covering your windows are endless but the goal is the same- privacy and light control that’s trouble free and free from paws. Finally, there’s the furniture. Who hasn’t seen a sofa ruined by pee, poop or shedding hair? I’m not a big believer in keeping pets off the furniture. To tell you the truth, my own husband and kids can do worse things to a sofa than any dog I know and I don’t ban them from the family room. So, when I couldn’t find the indestructible furniture that I needed, I created Slobproof! No more giving up style and comfort for durability. Slobproof! has it all- and it’s made in the USA from top quality, sustainable hardwood frames that are warranted for life! My colorful, soft fabric prevents moisture, bacteria, odors and stains from entering into the fibers or the cushions, so that spills can be easily wiped away. Imagine! A sofa, dining chairs, even reading chairs that your family simply cannot destroy! It takes a mom to come up with an idea this good! Summer is just around the corner. With school almost out, chances are your house, like mine, will be full of teenagers, dogs, cats, friends and family. Now that I worry less about my own home, I get to spend more time just enjoying my full house. Really, what more could a person want?
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