Pet (cat) Friendly Design Tips

Pet Friendly Design Tips As many of you know I’m a cat and dog person. Before we got cats our only reservation was that they are kinda a lot of responsibility as you have to, you know, make sure they are cared for while you travel, come home at night to feed them, etc. This actually hasn’t proven to be too annoying because you love them enough that it doesn’t matter. But what has been annoying is the damage that they’ve done to our furniture and the mess they create in the house … and I’m not even a neat freak. They puke everywhere, spill their cat food, if we aren’t on top of the litter it wreaks up the whole house, Bearcat has a sneezing issue which we see damage from all over the house (and it is REALLY hard to clean up), etc. Obviously our love of the goes far beyond smells and stains, but it’s still kinda a bummer. So when I partnered up with Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal litter to redo the cattery I figured I’d pull together some tips for y’all as well. This is mainly for the cat owners out there, but there are some good just general tips for dogs (and kids actually). Here goes.

Consider your upholstery fabrics:

You may have noticed that I use velvet A LOT. Do you think I just really love it? Sure, but it’s also because we cat owners can’t have linen furniture. It’s a fact i’ve accepted years ago. Cats, in particular, like to claw, so skip anything with an open weave like linen. As an alternative, ultra suede, leather (although they’ve ruined one leather armed chair that they can sit on) and velvet are harder for cats to get their claws into; and commercial-grade fabrics, nylon, and polyester repel stains more easily.

Cat Fabrics

I redid our new sofa in white sunbrella (don’t worry, you’ll get a whole post on that later) and so far it has held up, but if you are nervous then get velvet or ultrasuede. Ultrasuede isn’t my most favorite fabric in the world but it is indestructible and so pet (and kid) friendly. If you are going down that route and you have a choice get the ultrasuede that has the least amount texture or modeling. One of the things I hate about it is that it leaves your exact butt mark when you stand up and the texture can be strangely busy. But when you have pets, and cats in particular, they will most likely do this to linen or anything that is woven:

Cat Upholstery

So annoying. So get yourself velvet, performance velvet (this is kinda a combo of velvet and ultrasuede and it looks pretty good and most big box stores have it as an option these days), Sunbrella or leather. Vinyl certainly works too, but pretty hard to incorporate well into a room (although I did it here and it looked good).

Streamline pet accessories:

I’m not saying get OCD about matching your cat toys to your color palette but I’m also not saying that it’s a bad idea. You want to minimize their attention and make them look more streamlined so they aren’t really noticed. There are actually some pretty awesome options out there these days. Like so:

Cat Accessories

Leaning Console Scratch Post | Cube Scratch Post

You know i’m in to wicker so these things actually work really well in my house.

Master the unattractive and smelly litter box:

Its totally normal and yet TOTALLY CRAZY to keep a box of poop in our homes at all times. Most litter boxes aren’t something we want to display prominently in our homes – but you do have some options out there. We turned the tiny hall closet in our house into their litter box room so thank god we don’t have to look at it, but if you don’t have that option, look for something a little more attractive, or a litter boxes that double as furniture (good for small spaces but if you have a big house then just get one that is simple and white or wood).


Modern Litter Box 2

MidCentry Modern Litter Box | ModCat LitterBox | Modern Brown Litter Box

Probably the least awesome things about cats (I hate to be so negative about these furry little cuddly animals) is the litter box smell. Well I can now say that if we change the box once a week we actually don’t have this problem anymore due to Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal. When they first approached me about the cattery redo I didn’t really care about the litter to be honest – I just wanted to makeover an animal shelter. But then when we bought the litter to make sure that it was, you know, indeed good and we were very happy to report that it works and it really destroys the smell. Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal, I never predicted I’d gush about cat litter so much but yes, it works.  It guarantees a seven-day odor-free home. Since the litter easily clumps together, it also minimizes litter dust, so it doesn’t get all over your house. There is still some dust, but so much less mess.


Click through to read the rest of the tips and see the video.  (more…)

Super easy and cheap gift wrapping video

Have I got a treat for you: a new video that is full of stop motion goodness and some extremely simple and cute wrapping paper ideas along with 3 JBL audio products that I use and love.

It’s not a makeover video, but it might be the cutest video that I’ve ever done. If any of you have done stop motion let me tell you this – it is laborious and therefore even more satisfying when you are happy with the result.

This video stars some white paper, gold duct tape, some awesome audio and naturally, some HO’s.

Thanks Sharkpig for making my stop motion fantasy come true.

Meanwhile here are some of my audio picks from the JBL and Harmon Kardon family. Obviously they are a partner of mine, but as a HUGE fan of the sound I feel good about recommending all of these pieces for you. Plus they look cool.

The first collection is obviously well, for the white audio lovers like myself. You’ve probably seen our new house and the amount of white that exists there – like A LOT, so as such I want my audio to disappear as much as possible. So, yeah, its good sound but it also goes away.

Audio Gift Guide

1. Harman Kardon Onyx | 2. JBL Flip | 3. JBL Synchros S700 | 4.  JBL Pebbles | 5. JBL Synchros 200a | 6. JBL Control One AW | 7. JBL Micro II  | 8. JBL Voyager | 9. Harman Kardon Nova

For the dudes out there – or those of you who love a big dose of black in your tech, here are my gift picks of some of the more masculine audio lovers out there.

Tech Gift Guide

10. Harman Kardon Soho Headphones | 11. Harman Kardon Esquire | 12. JBL Pulse | 13. JBL Jembe Wireless Speakers | 14. Toshiba Excite Pro Tablet | 15. JBL Charge | 16. Harman Kardon Aura Speaker | 17. JBL Bassline Headphones

This video and post was in partnership with JBL/Harmon Kardon but all designs, concepts, words and product pics are mine. Thanks for supporting the partners that keep this blog ticking right along. 

To watch some of our past video collaborations click HERE, HERE, and HERE. 

My Holiday Party – Watch the video and get the look

Remember yesterday when I walked you through how to throw a super easy practically ‘effortless’ holiday cocktail party? Well, today you are going to get to watch the feature film of said party (and see the tips in action and a sneak peek into The Fig House space).

Easy Breezy Holiday Cocktail Party

Easy Breezy Holiday Party from Shark Pig on Vimeo.

In case you wanted to savor the laughter and debauchery, here are some still photos of the party with some of my favorite people.

Easy Breezy Holiday Cocktail Party

Easy Breezy Holiday Party

It was a small party – just a couple gals, a couple gays and a baby who was trying to eat a miniature apple as only a baby could – failing adorably. And that’s Ginny’s arm, she didn’t make it into the shots but her wrist is really carrying the whole scene.

Easy Breezy Holiday Party

They drank and laughed and swapped hilarious stories about holiday parties past.

Easy Breezy Holiday Party

Easy Breezy Holiday Party

Easy Breezy Holiday Cocktail Party

And we apparently handed each other food a lot – because its the season of giving so sometimes you just give pass sandwiches back and forth a few times. Thanks to Scott, Orlando, Corbett and Ginny for coming. I had leftover cheese for days. While many of the items I use are vintage, here’s how you, too, can get the look! Friends and baby not included.

Holiday Party Styling Resources: 1. Whiskey Glasses | 2. Gold Cheese Knife Set | 3. Copper Tray | 4. Copper Candle Sticks | 5. Punch Bowl | 6. Gold Votive Holder | 7. Chopping Boards | 8. Small Votive Jar | 9. Copper Mercury Glass Bottleneck | 10. Moscow Mule Mugs | 11. Tongs | 12. Faceted Punch Glasses

This post and video was in partnership with Harmon Kardon because style is silent and weird without good music to listen to. :) And check out the tips on how to throw this party from this post.  Photo Credit: Tessa Neustadt

Video by the lovely gentlemen of Sharkpig (Thanks, Steve!). To watch other videos about beautiful sound with me by Sharkpig click here and here.  And thanks to The Fig House for letting us shoot at their beautiful space (If I do say so myself)

The Curbly House Makeover Video

Happy cyber monday, friends. I can’t wait ’til i’m 90 years old and every day is a different holiday – it will happen … just watch … blogger appreciation day? Teen vampire celebration day? Hug your cable man day?

We had a wonderful thanksgiving – our last as non-parents, and then spent the rest of the weekend finishing the big move into our new house. In case you are considering moving as a hobby i’ll tell you this: moving out SUCKS, and yet moving in is so terribly satisfying and fun.

More on that later, but for now enjoy this lovely video that Jon Kingman made of the Curbly house makeover, starring Orlando Soria (as hunky assistant – that was our last trip working together … ah… sad!!!!), the Curbly family (as the homeowners) and me, (as the pregnant chick).

In case you missed the whole makeover check out the living room, dining room, master bedroom and sunroom when you have a second.  The whole project was incredibly fun and kinda a dream. Thank you so much, Sherwin-Williams  for partnering with them for their makeover and these posts – this content doesn’t just create itself so help from lovely partners is always very appreciated.

Now the real question: who are you wearing for Cyber Monday? I’m wearing a hopefully-labor-inducing-straight-jacket-inspired-tube-dress by the new hot New York label ‘I’m 38 weeks pregnant and NOTHING fits’. Their fall runway collection is particularly embarrassing and unflattering. xx

A boys room mini-makeover …

Welcome to  second (mini) makeover post for this very lovely family. When we arrived at the house to do the bedroom makeover we decided that one room wasn’t quite enough and Decorview offered to do the windows of a second room, their oldest son Ian who is special needs and could probably appreciate a surprise or two:). So we decided to throw in Ian’s room as a bonus – just some awesome window treatments and some simple styling. And since I didn’t actually have to source the window treatments or install them, I really just had to buy some fun pillows and make the bed. Easy, peezy.

Here’s how it looked before, below. It was a pretty darn cute bedroom I have to say. Sure the window treatments could use some love, but otherwise Emily (the mom … I’m not writing in the third person) had done a great job decorating it.

boys room before

But there were some window treatment problems. The problem with curtains on a bay window especially in this room is that they become totally in the way and look really messy. I’ve seen it work, but its not working here.

The needs:

1. Window treatments that look better. Duh. Style is important to me.

2. Window treatments that block out the light so Ian can sleep in as long as possible. Sleep is important to the parents.

3. Window treatments that are child proof and yet accessible  - that transom is high up so you would have to stand on the bed to control any shade. Accessibility to parents (but not necessarily Ian) is key.

before boys room

We had the bay window in this room and the transom on the other side. Another case of the ‘two different windows in one room’ situation. In this case we chose to do the same style and shade on both.

bad windows

Our Decorview window designer, Alla, came and measured the heck out of those windows and had really good suggestions to solve all the functional problems. She even brought this adorable fabric swatch amongst her 30 books of fabrics and I was shocked that I found a pattern that I liked.

decorview shades

I’m picky when it comes to patterns and in general I like vintage, custom or just really expensive patterns so at first I said just a solid but then she showed me that adorable geometric pattern that was already in the color way of the room and we bit hard on that. The cornice box makes it look so finished and intentional, then underneath we have these accordian style black out shades that pull up and down super easily.

Sometimes this style can feel too contemporary for me (probably because I just love roman shades so much), but the function of it in this space convinced me. We couldn’t fit any fabric romans because the windows are too small and there would have been huge gaps in between them (even bigger than the ones here which look way less dramatic in person) or order to fit the actual top of the shade. Plus these are black out, and slim.


Over the transom we did the same thing … well, kinda. Alla suggested the Duette Architella, in the Smoke Blue color way with, check this out, remote control power rise function.  And if the remote control part turns you off, which it does me because I will lose that sucker in approximately 15 seconds, you can have a switch installed easily on the wall and control it from there. I now need everything motorized because it is EXTREMELY fun and you feel instantly very rich. Next week i’ll show you Joanna’s apartment that has motorized rolling shades that are awesome, too.


We tricked out the room with new bedding from Ikea, some Target pillows and rearranged the room a bit, cleaned it up and just made it generally more adorable. Ian LOVED it and gave me a big sign language ‘thank you’.

Naturally with any makeover seeing it in action is way more satisfying, so here is a video we made with SharkPig which I LOVE. It shows the makeover, the product and the whole process.

Décorview Shiny Happy Makeover with Emily Henderson from Shark Pig on Vimeo.

Watch and share, folks. Then go get your window treatment on.

Thanks for all your comments yesterday – they made everyone feel REALLY good. In case you are ever like, ‘Oh, I wonder if I should comment because she probably doesn’t read them’ know that unless it’s an insane day and i’m not in the office at all, I read every single comment and really, really appreciate them.  So, thank you. xx

This post was brought to you in partnership with Decorview.

All after photos by Zeke Ruelas.