A furry home companion | SierraSun.com

A furry home companion

A lot of us in the Truckee-Tahoe area own pets, and as we all know, living with them can be messy at times. They drool on furniture when they dont claw it, have accidents all over the carpet, and sometimes even cough up hairballs in our own bed.And while most of us are willing to deal with these inconveniences, it certainly would be nice if our homes could be somewhat spared from the abuse. The majority of the questions the Sierra Sun readers have been e-mailing me as of late revolve around pets. (Thank you for all your questions, by the way. Please keep them coming!). So I thought it would be fitting to dedicate an entire column (or two) to our faithful companions. Check out the second part of this series in the Oct. 11 Sierra Sun.Whether your family already includes pets or you are planning to bring one home soon, you need to consider many things in order to keep a well-decorated home, without having to confine your pet to certain spaces. After all, our pets are family members too!

Choose bare floors over wall-to-wall carpeting. Hardwood, porcelain tile, linoleum, slate or stained concrete will make a great statement, while being durable and easy to maintain. Because unlike carpet, they wont trap pet hair, dander, stains or odors, they wont be permanently damaged in case of a pet accident, with the exception of natural stone, such as travertine or marble. These porous materials are not as pet-proof as the other hard surfaces, and the acids present in pet spit-up will etch them, even if they have been sealed.Bare floors will also conveniently minimize allergy risks among other family members. Lastly, these materials stay cool in summer, providing relief from the heat for your pet.If you opt for hardwood floors, sealing them with polyurethane will prevent urine odor retention and since large dogs can scratch wood, opt for a distressed, hand-scraped variety.If you must have carpet, do stay away from continuous loop carpet, which will get damaged by pet toenails getting caught in the loops. A low pile carpet will also make accidents easier to clean. Another great cost-effective option to consider is self-sticking carpet tiles, more commonly used in commercial settings and now available in a multitude of colors, patterns and textures. Their adhesive back makes them easy to install and in case of an accident, all you have to do is pull up the soiled carpet tile and replace it with a new one. Get in the habit of vacuuming daily, and have your carpet floors professionally cleaned every three months, in order to maximize the life of your carpet.Also, accenting your floors with rugs is a great decorators trick. Rugs introduce a splash of color in your space, and they can be removed to be cleaned periodically. Pick small, machine-washable rugs to preserve your high traffic areas. Sisal rugs, while non-washable, provide a rustic, organic feel for your mountain home, are sturdy enough to withstand heavy duty traffic, and inexpensive enough that you can discard them when they are well past their prime. Be sure to secure them with a rug mat, or a piece of heavy furniture to prevent your pets from scattering them around and you from tripping on them.

When it comes to window treatments, it is best to avoid vertical blinds, pooling drapery or anything with ornate tassels and long cords. These can be a strangulation hazard to your pets. Use sheer curtains or simple shades, instead of long, heavy drapes, that will collect dust and pet hair. Fabric shades, caf curtains and dramatic valances are great choices for pet friendly homes. Forget mini-blinds! They can get bent beyond repair or ripped off their attachments when they block a curious dogs view of the outside.

Have you ever tried to clean a spot off a flat paint wall? Inevitably, some of the paint will come off on your sponge, leaving you with an area that needs to be painted over. Using a lead-free semi-gloss paint on your walls will make cleaning a breeze, especially if you have a loose-jowled dog, such as a basset hound, coonhound or a mastiff, as they are more likely to shake spittle onto your walls.Paint manufacturers are also coming up with new formulas, such as Benjamin Moores regal matte, combining the look of flat paint, with the durability and washability of a glossy finish.If you own a cat, stay away from any textured wall-coverings, such as grass-cloth. They are an invitation to scratch and climb!And if you must have wallpaper, opt for a washable vinyl-backed one, as opposed to a traditional paper backed version. Better, use wallpapers or fabric wall treatments on the top half of the walls, and use semi-gloss paint or a washable wall covering below, separating both areas with a nice chair rail.Co-existing with pets in a clean and nicelydecorated home certainly can be achieved. All it takes is a little work, innovation and compromise. It is well-worth the extra effort for the companionship and unconditional affection our pets give us in return.Check out the Oct. 11 Home & Garden for part two in this series.Franoise Evans is the founder of Truckee-based Alpilles Interiors, which she operates with her business partner, designer Nancy Helms. Alpilles Interiors is an award-winning full service interior decorating firm featuring custom furniture, upholstery and rugs as well as accessories, blinds and window treatments, fine fabrics, and luxury bedding, and offering property staging services. Contact their office at 582-6702 or http://www.alpillesinteriors.com.

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