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Design-Led Home Made Room for Dogs
February 2024
Reading time 5 Minutes

Even the most design-led houses can make room for dogs

In her new book, Cool Dogs, Cool Homes, Geraldine James shows us how even the most design-led houses can make room for dogs, putting their well-being and happiness centre stage, and helping to make your house the perfect, pet-friendly home.

Dougie is a Red Lakeland Terrier and they are bred to be working dogs. He came from an arable farm just outside the city of Newcastle. Although eight years old, he has the energy and strength of a mature puppy who loves toys and games of tug.

He is outgoing and very friendly, has twice-daily walks, and is always ready for his dinner. Like many dogs, he is motivated by food and treats. Unlike many dogs, Dougie also loves to be bathed and will happily jump into the bath with his owner given half a chance.

These bespoke doors were commissioned when the owners bought the house back in 1993. A dog flap was installed when they first got Dougie as a puppy, giving him access to the outdoors all day. The house has a sunny south-facing garden, which Dougie loves.

Dougie sits on the squashy and very comfortable sofa covered in an Icelandic poppy-patterned fabric, which is very durable and easy to keep clean. Over the back is a Welsh blanket, and the sofa holds a combination of velvet cushions. The art above is plain gold leaf on an unframed canvas, a touch of warm color on a blue wall.

Read More: Nine Dog Walks Across the North East and Yorkshire

Dougie lives in Barnes, close to Richmond Park, one of London’s iconic Royal parks, which is a perfect place for walking dogs. A stone’s throw from central London and one of the UK’s top sites for ancient trees, the park covers an area of 2,500 acres and has 630 red and fallow deer roaming freely within its boundaries. Dougie’s owners, Marian and Richard, take him out regularly to enjoy the park and the other open spaces nearby. He also spends one day a week with a dog walker and he loves it; he is very sociable and will happily go off for the day with his doggie chums.

In his mind, all the balls in the world belong to Dougie and he will capture any ball in sight and literally chew it to death – an expensive pastime, I’m told. He loves a fireside cuddle and brings his owners lots of happiness.

Beautiful arched doors open into a garden that Dougie can enjoy all day. Floorboards are painted dark gray throughout the kitchen, contrasting with a colorful rug beneath the long dark oak dining table. Leather modernist Danish dining chairs complete the room.

In the living room, there’s a beautiful marble fireplace surround, found and installed by the owners. Floorboards are sanded and stained dark walnut, and what would have been two rooms is now one, allowing you to see straight through to the back of the house. An armchair covered in pale blue velvet provides another cozy spot for Dougie to rest in.

Read More: Meet the Yorkshire Couple Who Set Up a Boutique Interior Design Company Inspired by their Time in Australia

Dougie’s home is a 1900s semi-detached house that was bought almost derelict in 1993. Gently restoring it over the years has been a labour of love, which involved finding quality craftsmen to install bespoke doors, replacing fire surrounds, and extending into the attic. Dougie is pretty much allowed access to all areas of the house, and has his own dog flap so he can go outside whenever he wants. The wooden floors and rugs and their individual style make for an extremely comfortable home for both Dougie and his owners.

The decorating style is individual and his owner happily mixes colours and materials side by side over the house’s three floors. Dougie explores them all, going wherever the company is, and loves nothing more than sitting on the chair under the eaves in the attic, with the warmth of the sun filtering in.

Cool Dogs, Cool Homes by Geraldine James, published by CICO Books (£35) Photography by James Gardiner © CICO Books

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