Cat Rescue Makeover; Animal Haven

Welcome to my big Cattery makeover post. Get a cup of coffee, sit down on a comfortable but not too comfortable chair, tell your boss you are busy for the next hour because we are about to get into it.

I said yes to this project IMMEDIATELY. Charlie was only 3 months old, I was in the throws of the Airbnb SXSW project and I only had the wonderful Ginny to help and even she was spread way too thin. But when the opportunity of doing a free makeover for a cattery in New York came upon my desk I was nodding my head vigorously before the words ‘yes, please!!!’ could come out of my mouth. You know how little kids nod their heads kinda violently and unrhymthically when they really want something? Well, that’s how this was. As a massive cat (and general animal lover) it just seemed like A. such a good cause, and B. such a good challenge.

emily Henderson bearcat

Sidenote: this post is extremely timely as our beloved cat Bearcat (yes, the black one that has graced hundreds of instagrams) got out and ran away saturday night. We searched all over for her on Sunday and every time I thought about finishing the draft of this post I started bawling and knew that I wasn’t going to be able to. But good news!!!!! The Pasadena Humane Society had picked her up based on an anonymous neighbors call. It’s amazing how one phone call can change it from being one of the worst days of your life to one of the best. As we picked her up  I was extra happy that I got to write about this project this week. Animal shelters do a lot considering their resources. So thank you, Pasadena Humane Society and thank you Animal Haven

The details:

1. The cattery is Animal Haven in New York (Soho). It is a no-kill dog and cat rescue that is run by some pretty amazing people. Like all animal rescues its resources are limited and it supports itself mainly on donation and fundraisers. Sure, it costs to adopt a kitten but not that much considering how much they already have done to that kitten (shots, caring, raising it til its old enough to leave, etc). These are good people and while I support any pet no matter how it was procured, I think adopting from a rescue is undeniably a very good thing.

2. The makeover was sponsored by Arm & Hammer’s new Clump & Seal Cat Litter. Was I in the market for a litter sponsor? Nope. But they were basically helping me give Animal Haven a free makeover and that is a good cause, just plain and simple. Which I think is very smart marketing and PR. Not to mention that Arm & Hammer also made a large in-kind donation of cat litter to the shelter which as us cat people know is something that we are all constantly in need of when housing a lot of cats. It was a win-win-win situation!

3. Why I did it: I love cats, sure, but this isn’t really for the cats – well, kinda. The cats don’t necessarily care if they are in a white cage versus a black cage, but the experience of the potential adopter might change their outcome and the fate of these cats. I think that someone looking to adopt, who knows for sure that they want one will probably adopt no matter what. But a potential pet owner on the fence might be turned off if they don’t like their experience. Now the downstairs of animal haven is awesome and the whole space is clean, certainly, but I figured that if this cattery space was a bit happier and brighter that potential adopters might stay longer, get to know a cat more and then take that kitty home. Besides, the people who work there need to have a happy/bright space to hang out in so this would double as their hang out space.

OK, here is the before:



It’s hard to tell what it looked like. But basically it was pretty crowded with cages (that were too large, they were dog cages) and built-ins that were full of things they didn’t need, a kitchen that was from the 70’s in a bad way, and just no real decor or design to it. They weren’t spending their time on Hunters Alley or Chairish, looking for beautiful things they could bring into the space. Nay, they were busy tending to the needs of cats and making adopters feel comfortable adopting.

What they needed:

1. New cages for cats. 15 of them – 12 near each other and 3 separate for any cats that might have ring worm (which sounds disgusting but it’s just athletes foot).

2. A “Kitty Cabana”, this was a large human-sized cage (they already had this) where a potential adopter could get inside with the cat and engage, play, cuddle and generally convince each other that they were made for each other.

3. A new kitchen. They don’t do any cooking here but they need storage and a sink to wash the bowls.


4. A sliding door separating the cattery from the doggery. They had this screen before but, if a cat got out of someones arms (they actually don’t run around in the space, only the cabana) and ran into the hallway where a dog was, then that could be devastating.  You can kinda see the separation here, after some demo.

cattery progress 5

Which brings me to the brick walls and flooring. Well, lets back up.

When I first started the project I was slammed like Bill Murray’s character in “What About Bob” where on the surface I was crazy happy and loony because I had a baby and was brimming with weird hormones, but underneath I was going insane because I was so busy. So I called up Isabella Patrick, a New York based designer that project managed the house of the year a couple of years ago, to project manage this one. She had JUST had a baby too, but she wanted to do the project and we started having weird 7am phone calls while feeding our kids.

She went to the space, took photos and then we had call after call staring at these photos trying to decide what to do. At first I wanted to do something really bright and clean by white washing the brick and replacing the flooring – like this:

modern cat

It’s probably because I was designing my house which was really white/bright and full of pops of color so that was on my brain.

modern cat mood board

I knew I wanted to bring in animal themed (cat or bird) wallpaper on those blank walls because, well, why not add some whimsy to that cattery.

At first I pitched the idea of painting all the brick white because nothing freshens up a space more than white, right? But then a couple of weeks into the project I was in New York on a different project and got to stop by the space to see for myself and saw that painting that brick white would be a HUGE mistake. You can see below that it shared the wall and floor with the rest of the second floor so if we had changed it would have been a jarring difference. And I’m all about a big transformation but not if it compromises the overall space and flow. It would be like having one room in your super traditional tudor house styled like 80’s minimalist – it just looks weird and kinda try-hard. Besides that brick was super pretty and old and downstairs they had a lot of rustic elements so it worked as an overall theme.

cattery progress 5

So then I decided to edit that board, which was cute, but it needed to be more inline with what they had downstairs and I needed to take into consideration the age and character of the building. I also wanted to bring in orange since its Arm & Hammer’s color and I wanted to give them a shout out for funding this whole project.


So things changed a bit and It looked WAY more appropriate for the space. So then we started playing with layouts to figure out the cage situation:



That drawing may not mean a lot to a lot of people but I, myself, love to look at these renderings these days – especially when designing from a far It was so good to have a sense of where everything was going to go. Of course things changed, as they always do but having this guideline was really helpful.

After we had the general design plan we started demo, like so:

cattery progress 9

Out came all the cages (stored in another space with the kitties in them) and out came the kitchen (definitely NOT stored) and the gross builtins.

cattery progress 10

cattery progress 8

cattery progress 5

Then our painter painted the ceiling and all the duct/electrical work. You can’t tell how messed up it is in the before photos but it was dingy and needed a serious refresh (we used Benjamin Moore super white in semi-gloss). Having the built-in demo’d out and the ceiling painted already made it wildly better. We replaced the industrial lights with these globe lights which were just more graphic/fun and provided less harsh lights for everyone. (I know that we all love a bare bulb but that stuff is not nice to look at).

cattery progress

In came the cages, and they were FAAAAAAANNNCCCY. Like put them on the cover of fancy cat kinda fancy. Having white cages made such a difference because black cages just feel more prison-y, they do, and white feel more like an angels holding zone …

cattery progess

The kitchen got demo’d out and we started building the ikea kitchen – we chose to do ikea because its simply the cheapest option and we were on a budget. The only part of the walls we painted were the weird brick/stone wall – it was different from the rest of the space and we felt could use a refresher.

cattery progress paint

The sliding doors got installed. They were on a rail and slots on the ground. This way even if a cat got out of the cabana (again, they don’t let them loose in the room) there would be no risk of running into the hallway.

cattery progress door

All that was left was wallpapering and generally making it look awesome … and I didn’t really think it was there yet. Designing from a far is hard, especially for someone like me because I’m not a computer designer. So while everything was coming along, it just didn’t feel awesome or really that noteworthy … yet. So I remembered an email I got from someone about potentially collaborating on the blog and I found her (Kathryn Godwin) email and reached out. Basically she is one of these visual artists that can kinda just make anything. She worked for Anthropologie in their displays section for a long time and just knows how to do amazing visual installations – and that is what this cattery needed. If the cats were allowed to cruise around the space I would have done a crazy installation on the wall of cat scratching ledges or trees or something just really dope. But they don’t. Regardless there were too many boxes and hard lines and there needed to be something really sculptural and organic in there. At first I thought about a big tree, but that would look amazing for the shoot but potentially could cause them more stress as they would actually need to care for it. Plus that would need to be craned in most likely which sounded like a logistical nightmare. Oh and plus I couldn’t find any in NYC a week out. So I pitched the tree idea to Kathryn and said, ‘could you do something that feels like a tree but is maybe a bit rustic?’ and BOOM. She killed it.

Here’s the team on day one of the installation (we had 3 days to style and add all the finishing touches).

animal haven crew

Thats me, Isabella, Will and Katheryn. Isabella is the incredible designer that project managed this project. Will worked with me on the Cup of Jo makeover and he was awesome so when I was thinking about who was in New York that would be good at all things installation, Will came to mind immediately. (He’s also a designer for HomePolish and I highly recommend him). And Kathryn is the visual artist who drove up from North Carolina. I didn’t have anyone from LA come because of budgets and the fact that I needed people familiar with New York. Although I think next time I’ll bring them too because it was such a fun project that I’d want them involved.

Anyway, here, my friends is the finished space:



aimee-wilder-wallpaper3 The layout changes, as it always does, and we were able to make SOOOO much more room. In fact on the last day of the install I realized there was this HUGE space in the middle that just seemed so wasted. I asked them again if they needed furniture or a place to sit and they said no, again, but the I said ‘where do you eat your lunch?’ and they said ‘eh, sometimes on the stairs leading up to the exit’ and I said, if there was somewhere to sit, chill and eat would you use it? and they were like, well yeah …

Plus it gives potential adopters even more areas to hang out while they are shopping and getting to know the cats.

animal shelter

Katheryn’s tree installation totally killed it. It brought in the rustic wood from downstairs and added a lot of warmth to a room full of cages. It’s just so sculptural and organic and softened all the cages. And she put it up in two days. TWO. So fast. So good. Here’s what the wall looked like when we started:


So first she built the frame out of plywood and adhered it to the wall with brackets and fancy screws. Then she went crazy with the pallett wood and just slowly (well, not slowly) created the tree shape with all the branches.


And then we felt like we needed more color so she just quickly washed some of the remaining pallets and layered on the brighter teal. I really, really love how it turned out.


animal shelter


wood tree sculpture2

Then on the opposite side of the room we wanted to bring in the same idea so it looked cohesive and intentional and not just a random wooden tree in the space. So we decided to add a piece above the kitchen.

MEOW wall art

And then we needed to put a pop of color up there, obviously, so we made these huge yarn balls because cats love to bat around yarn balls. We made these from huge christmas balls from the flower market and just wrapped and wrapped and wrapped them with yarn and glue. It was kinda painstaking actually. But they do help flank the ‘Meow’.


Lets talk wallpaper – we looked and looked and looked for the right wallpaper. I wanted it to be ‘cat’ without being ‘kid’ or ‘granny’ which is kinda hard. At the same time the brick on the other side of the room is really heavy so it couldn’t be anything too twee or delicate or it would be off-balance. So when I found this Aimee Wilder paper I was psyched. The blue looked good with the brick (not a lot of colors look awesome with brick) and it was graphic and felt modern, while still being playful. I love it.  (Check out all of her papers – they are SERIOUSLY amazing and strike the perfect balance of playful and sophistication).

For the backsplash we decided to continue the wallpaper and just do clear acrylic over it, secured with screws and caulk.

Cattery makeover

Alright, on to the cages: you know I had to design the inside as if it was a room … naturally. Previously they had towels on the bottom that would get super messy and mismatching beds, so I brought in these bath mats (the rug) that stayed in place but were also washable. Boom. And you might notice a wallpapered shelf … ok, now this was OBVIOUSLY not necessary but it’s just so cute. We had extra wallpaper so we had it laminated the same size as that shelf and lined the shelf. We stuck it down but I’m pretty sure it’s probably already gone. It probably wasn’t the most practical thing ever, but sometimes you just need to satisfy your inner designer by doing something impractical but totally cute.

Cattery makover

I also made those cat ‘chandelier’s, too, which lasted about an hour because the cats did in fact love them and then destroyed them – as one does with anyone one loves too hard. Apparently they didn’t understand that I had made them all by hand:



Look. It made me happy to see/make and it made them happy for the hour that they spent destroying it. Its the little things, folks.


Inside the larger cages I bought some cat trees that were white or natural fiber – to tie in with the rustic wood and to warm up the space. The chair is from CB2 and it was good because we needed a round shape to offset all the squares happening, it needed to be graphic because the cages are so busy, but we didn’t want any upholstery so this white round wipeable chair was perfect.


Lets talk sliding door:

The door was just wood and when we got there it was already painted white per my request. But it just looked so clinical (sorry, I don’t have any pics). So we decided we desperately needed a pattern behind there.  We needed something straight and simple because a. it was going to compete with the wallpaper pattern which has a lot of curves and movement, and b. it was going to be behind cages that were really busy and c. it needed to be something that we could do in a day – we didn’t have the luxury of time on our side to do some sort of mural of cats chasing butterflies. So we chose a diagonal stripe instead of a simple horizontal or vertical one because it just seemed more interesting. I actually didn’t know it was going to end up looking like a chevron until afterwards, which is hilarious. Its like, of course its going to be a chevron but in my mind it was just alternating diagonal stripes in different directions. HA!!

chevron door

And here’s the finished product:


If you notice that the handle is on the wrong side of the door then good eye, and I had them change it afterwards – it’s just strange where the contractor decided to put it and we didn’t have time to change before the shoot. I like how the doors turned out – graphic, fun and yet fairly simple.


Now the people who work there and potential buyers can hang out in the space – eat lunch, debate kitty names and just generally feel more comfortable while making that decision.


It was such an interesting project to work on. The client was so happy and grateful and spending the week amongst these kitties certainly was not miserable. They have a really fast turnover rate so it’s not like they’ve been there for months or years, and they have tons of volunteers that come in to pet/play with them all day so these cats are happy kitties (ready for an even happier home).

Lots of thanks are needed:

First off, thank you Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Cat Litter for funding the project and making it happen. They deserve more than a schpeal on their litter, but let me give you a quick one – The Clump & Seal litter has a 7 day odor free home guarantee. We used it in the cattery and while we were only there three days, I did not smell a thing. We even did a smell test with a sardine in a small Tupperware container of the litter and you couldn’t smell the sardine which previously WREAKED. So I think it must work :)

Thank you to Animal Haven for really just giving free reign. They were so great to work with and just generally wonderful people.

Thank you Isabella Patrick for helping me design and for keeping the project going. If you guys are looking for a designer in New York, she is a good one.

Thank you Kathryn Godwin for your beautiful installation. You were clutch and you killed it.

Thank you Will Saks for helping me install and helping me obsess on all the details whilst shopping.

All photos by the lovely Matt Harrington (a great interiors photographer in New York  – I highly suggest you hire him).

Resources: Aimee Wilder Wallpaper, CB2 dining table and chairs, Ikea kitchen, Pet Cages

  1. O my gosh – this is incredible – what a gorgeous space!!! way to go to all involved, that tree is so amazing – such talent!! xx Love love the space!

  2. anne

    I hope this makes you laugh: this made me picture you as a massive cat, and I can’t stop laughing. ” As a massive cat (and general animal lover)”

    I really needed that laugh, too. Thank you!

  3. Lori

    First, I have to say that I literally gasped when I read that Bearcat got out! I’m so glad you found her!

    This space is absolutely beautiful. The whole team did an amazing job, and it’s so nice to see deserving people get rewarded.

    I so want to leave work right now, stop to buy some clump and seal litter, and then go home and cuddle my kitties!

    • Emily

      THANK YOU! now go cuddle your kittens.

  4. Loribeth

    This is so good that I would want to live there and volunteer to be an overnight sitter even though I’m allergic to cats.
    Awesome job you guys!

  5. Jess

    Absolutely beautiful!! Everyone should be surrounded by such a fab space during their working hours (and every cat)! Great work!

  6. Jenny

    This is so great! I love the colors too.

  7. Lily

    Emily, this is your best yet!!! For SUCH great cause (I foster dogs so I know the importance of animal rescue), with awesome collaborations and the product is just breathtaking! Well-worth the long read! :)

    x Lily

    • Emily

      Yeah!!! Thanks, Lily (for reading, rescuing and all your comments – i read every single one :))
      THANK YOU!!!!

  8. CAT

    You definitely have more willpower than I do. If I was working with all those lovely cats, I would have come home with at least one….or two!!! Beautiful job. The cats look peaceful there.

    • Emily

      DUDE. there is this one that has deformed back legs and really small ears that was soooo cute I couldn’t handle it. If I had lived in New York it would have been a no brainer.

  9. I LOVE THIS MAKEOVER! So playful and fun, and the space looks THREE times bigger. I really liked that you used the wallpaper as the backsplash and just added acrylic- so clever! And the tree installation? And the wallpaper? Just love it all so much. Thanks for helping the kitties. Makes me want to head downtown and adopt another one…

  10. Megan

    Emily, this is seriously so fabulous. I am an animal lover and beyond. This space makes me so happy for the adopters, the volunteers and the kitties. It is just so happy and special. The yarn balls are so great–made me giggle. I love every bit of this space.

    • Emily

      THANK YOU!!!!

  11. Amanda

    THAT TREE. My gosh. That has got to be one of the most creative things I’ve ever seen. Loved tihs entire room, but that tree is definitely the star. You and your team did a great job!

    • Emily

      Yeah, Kathryn killed it. Thanks!

  12. OK, I am totally not a cat person but this is one of my favorite projects of yours! I admire how you addressed all of the challenges in a such a beautiful way. That tree is the perfect installation, but the MEOW is awesome as well. I love the orange and blue together, and the acrylic was a stroke of genius. Bravo!

  13. Veronica

    I’ve been following your blog for about a year now, and this is definitely one of my favorite projects I’ve seen of yours. What a fantastic job–it just gets better & better!

  14. I’m not going to lie – I get a little creeped out by rooms full of caged animals. It makes me feel overwhelmed, like no matter what one person does in the life of one animal, there are dozens, hundreds, zillions of others out there still in little boxes.

    Your teams’s decisions here are really spot on. The space feels open and bright and engaging, and that feeling of optimism is an important one when it comes to making sure that all creatures are cared for and placed in loving, nurturing homes.

    Nicely done.

    PS. I’d drop everything to work with Kathryn. Be still my paper cutting loving heart.

  15. Ashley

    That is such an incredible before and after! I love the color combination! You gussied the place up but kept it very playful. I can imagine a lot of kitties being rescued in that space.
    It’s really great to see your step by step process of designing a space.It makes me realize I need to spend more time writing my ideas down before jumping in to a project. Then maybe the end result will look more like the idea in my head.

    Well done!

    • Emily

      Its hard no matter what. sometimes the more you think the better it is and sometimes the more you think the worse it is. Design/art is weird like that. xx

  16. Jess Hartnett

    I love this post! I volunteer at a no-kill non-profit animal shelter in New Orleans and I completely agree that it’s important for a potential adopter to feel comfortable in the environment.

    On another note, I was vacationing in New York while you were there setting up the cattery. I left the day you had the open house at Animal Haven, but I have to tell you I SERIOUSLY considered changing my flight so I could come see you, your work, and mainly the animals.

    Love this project!

    • Emily

      Thats awesome. thank you so much for telling me. i wish you had but at the same time it was a crazy hour meet and greet so we probably would have only spoken for 10 minutes. besides now, there is the mystery :)

  17. Yayyy!!! What a fun project – it’s adorable. You are amazing Emily!

  18. Gidget

    Your designs are so funny and SMART. Love your blog.

    • Emily

      thank you :)

  19. Love this Emily! I did grab my big ol’ cup of coffee, and I dove right into these yummy photos. What a delicious bunch of eye candy these are! I agree, some of your best work yet (my fave, at least!) Such a fresh, energizing, happy space. I am sure that all of the employees & potential new kitty owners will be positively impacted by the good design vibes in the cattery! And all the kitties will definitely benefit too from the overall aura of design happiness :)

  20. Sarah

    I love it! This is one of my favorite makeovers you’ve done because the end result really surprised me. I wish Arm & Hammer could duplicate this look at loads of other shelters, because they are usually just so depressing.

  21. Shelly D

    BLOWN AWAY by what you were able to do in this space. Ridiculous talent!
    P.s. You probably will want to correct the misspelling of “RESCUE” in THE TITLE OF YOUR POST (currently says “Resuce”.) Just looking out for ya!

  22. Suz

    This is crazy fun and for such a good cause. Love the way you write. Always my first smile of the day. If only all shelters had the resources to do something like this. It’s fantastic!

  23. melissa

    this is so damn awesome. i love it. it also makes me miss my meowmeows, who i worry don’t get as much smother love now that we have a baby. need to give them lots of love tonight when i get home from work.

  24. Caroline R

    I was so moved by this transformation. Before you even explained the why behind the white cages I immediately felt what you were going for, a small but genius change. Black cages send such negative subliminal messages about perfectly innocent creatures. Thank you for doing and sharing such a wonderful project- major kudos to all involved!!

  25. Sarah

    What a great transformation! I’m amazed at how spacious you made it feel.

    The yarn balls made me literally laugh out loud – so cute!

  26. Katie

    Emily, this is so amazing! I love it and loved reading all about it. The orange kitty kabana is amazing. I love that color choice. And the cat wallpaper is the best thing ever!! So glad Bearcat was found. :)

  27. Lyndsey

    i love, love ,LOVE it! So fabulous. I feel like i now need to own an animal shelter so that i can have such fabulousness in my life! Seriously though- great work, and such a good cause.

  28. Cindy

    Emily! This is incredible. I literally gasped out loud when I saw the “after.” Then I made my husband come in and look. There are windows in that space: who knew?! At first I thought it was another mood-board-inspiration-shot kind of thing.

    Really, really well done. So awesome you are using your superpowers for good things!

    • Emily

      THANK YOU!!!!!!

  29. Look so wonderful, Emily!
    I may have missed it, but did you mention the source for the globe lights?


  30. Danielle

    Wow! Based on your previous makeovers, I knew I’d love the space no matter what, but I was seriously awed by your mad design skills this time. What a difference some color – well, intentional color – makes in a space! Love it all!

  31. Amy

    Ok this actually made me tear up a little. I know that’s funny but i love cats and think this is just such a worthy cause. You=amazing. I LOVE THE YARN BALLS!

  32. This space is amazing! What an out of the box project! Is there anything you CANT do?!

  33. Victoria

    Love this post Emily. So bright, clean and happy feeling. If I lived in NYC and not Los Angeles I would be there to adopt Johnny Blind into my animal family in a minute. Thank you for doing such projects, loved all the photos and the great looking items in the post. Must spend more time on the internet searching! Fantastic job from everyone. So many cats, dogs and other animals ready to be rescued wonderful to have the need highlighted in such a positive way.
    Are Bearcat and Mimi both chipped?

  34. Alanna

    Emily, thank you so much for doing this. While rescue isn’t necessarily a thankless job it is definitely not glamorous. Thank you for bringing a bit of style and joy to this rescue so that potential adopters have a wonderful space to meet the animals. If you ever want to do another project like this, there is an incredibly deserving rescue called Secondhand Hounds in Minneapolis. They’ve found adoptive homes for over 5,600 animals since their founding in 2009. (As a volunteer and adopter I’m a bit biased, but they make an incredible difference in not only our community, but for animals from all across the country.) THANK YOU.

  35. This just made my heart sing. Wish all animals without a home were treated this well. Absolutely fab!

  36. Kelli

    Maybe my favorite post yet! I smiled all the way through it. Great job to everyone involved!

  37. Dina Lawrence

    I just really like you! Love what you did. I can see that you have such a soft heart. What a nice job for people that work hard and animals that need a loving home!

  38. Tess of luvmysparetime

    Kitty-tastic of course! surprisingly I luv the blue and white with red accents and it doesn’t feel like 4th of july – nothing against the red white and blue. The tree totally grounds the spaceluv the mix of blue & wood!

  39. amy bordeaux

    Hello! This is AWESOME! I especially love the wallpaper, the reclaimed wood tree and the bright color you brought into the space. You made such a happy place for these kitties and the people caring for them! You are living my dream of using your design powers to improve other’s lives in spaces that are not always given the attention they deserve. I am so inspired! :) May I ask if you have / or if you plan to makeover any dog friendly spaces? I have a little pug…some might call me a “crazy dog lady”. :)


  40. Nancy

    A fabulous post and an amazing result. Loved getting the paper link as well at being able to see Kathryn Godwin’s awesome work.

  41. It’s all just too much in the best most possible way. Everything is amazing. The yarn bowls. That wallpaper. The tree. the meow. Those white crates [genius]. I want to move in. I want to work there. I want to adopt there. Maybe I could travel up from VA and donate my time as the dedicated snuggler….

    Either way you’re totally my hero and I think all designers should redo spaces like this more often!

  42. Rosie

    Awesome post! The space looks amazing…I’m sure the kitties agree! The tree! The wallpaper!

    But PLEASE…fix the typo in the headline! AHHHHHHH!

  43. Jen

    Totally in love with this makeover! The tree, cat wallpaper and yarn balls are my favorite. You are a design genius! :)

  44. Emily

    Chiming in to also say what an incredible incredible job you did — the vision you had for this space just blows me away. Really — I am just in awe of your talent! And as with the Senior Living redo, I love love love hearing about your design process – all the thoughts that go through your mind as you make each decision, and what leads you to revise your plans as you go. Thank you!!

  45. First of all, I’m so happy you found Bearcat! Losing a pet is the worst :( Secondly… OH MY GOD this is beautiful!! As usualy, wonderful, amazing, fantastic work.

  46. Sara

    Ohmygosh!!! This could NOT be more timely for me—we literally just adopted a dog from the shelter this very day!!!!!

    I soooooo wish more shelters would understand that environment really does affect outcome. I desperately also wanted a cat or kitty, but the cat room was absolutely unbearable—I could hardly breathe, much less spend to get to know the cats. :( It would have been a DREAM to visit your glam cat room!

    [Never fear, a cat will join the family soon, but I have people visiting soon who have allergies, so I decided it would be best to wait a month until they’ve returned home.] :)

    Your work on this project is so inspirational.

  47. Deb

    What a happy, bright place for cats and humans alike! Your post just made me smile :) If I was a kittycat who resided there, I’d sure want to climb that fabulous tree…… So glad you found Bearcat; she and her sis are licensed and/or chipped, right? I sense there’s a story there in that ‘anonymous call’….

  48. Antonella

    First of all, thank you Arm & Hammer for being so kind and dedicated to the cause. Instead of wasting money on ads you made a difference in these people and cats lives. Kudos to you!
    Emily you are such an inspiration (first the grandparents than kitties, not a dry eye these days :-)

  49. This look amazing!! Such a good cause- you must be super happy :) Xo, S

  50. Nikki

    WOW. That first “after” photo made my jaw drop! I am so in love with this space. You and your team’s creativity and talent is astounding!

  51. Christine

    This WINS the Internet and my heart! I have a Siamese beauty that just turned 17 in May, and we both read your post with such a full and happy heart! The kittehs are happy, the rescue org is happy, everyone’s happy!!

    Lily’s mommy,


  52. and so in summary you are THE BEST DESIGNER OF ALL TIME. I’m in awe of your talent but equally in wonder of your enormous heart. It even came through in Brad’s guest post.

    p.s. I love how it looks like Bearcat is giving you a hug. sooo cute

  53. I absolutely love this! I’m so happy these felines have a fun new space that might encourage people to linger and get to know the cats that are up for adoption more. That might mean all the difference!

  54. Citygirl15

    Gorgeous! Perfect home for those kitties while they’re waiting for their furever home. I found my dachshund Norman at Animal Haven. They’re a wonderful organization.

  55. Kathleen

    this is just genius. what a fun, happy project and your shelter story just shows how karma work.

  56. lisab

    I love this! The orange, blue, brick…so perfect.


    Fabulous. And inspiring. As an artist! An old one!! LOL I believe you have inspired me to do something around my house! Yes! I will. And I will paint more! And be creative more! And I thank you for that! Thank you thank you. and…PS: I Love NY. That’s where my family lives. And me? Yea I’m stuck in HOT Arizona!

  58. MaryM

    …”angels holding zone” – that is just too precious. Fantastic job!And so glad you got Bearcat back.

  59. Monica

    Looks awesome!

    Love the MEOW sign the most!

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  63. Jenna

    This was my favorite post of yours in 2014. Such a beautiful place! I have just started a blog about cats + homes. How to maintain the beauty in your home while raising happy and healthy cats.

    Cheers from Switzerland!

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