Our expert pet blogger Alex Frith spills the beans on what she's learned from living with her pet dog, Basil the Boston Terrier
(Image by Racheloatespetphotography.com)
To celebrate Petember we’ve invited Alex Frith (pictured above) of pet fashion and lifestyle blog Barkarama.co.uk – and owner of Basil the Boston Terrier (also above) – to share her top tips for creating a lovely home for herself and her furry friend without compromising on style.
Alex says: “For me, a house is not a home without a dog. Granted my Boston Terrier, Basil plays havoc with my home – drool, muddy paws, shedding fur and more, but he brings so much joy that I can’t imagine life without him.
“We live in a 1970s townhouse that’s the wrong side of mid-century cool and begging for a do-up but even so, I’ve still had to consider Basil’s impact to avoid it looking like a total dog’s dinner. Plus with a major makeover on the horizon, pet ownership has had some influence on pinning and planning for our new look. So here’s what I’ve learnt from sharing my home with a dog – hopefully it will help would-be owners welcome one to theirs…”
1. The great crate.
My epic fail was that I didn’t nail crate training. They’re great for toilet training, keeping your dog out of mischief – especially if you need to pop out – and are an ‘out of bounds’ signaler to kids. While not exactly good-looking, there are ways to style them up. You can buy beds and bumpers, and if you search online you’ll find hacks to integrate in to your home and ways to make them into multi-purpose furniture. Once your dog is house-trained, you might want to switch to a standard bed.
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2. Beds are beyond!
Doggy dwellings have evolved from the traditional plastic baskets. Now owners have their pick of styles to suit all kinds of interiors and dogs. Some are less bed more furniture, for example Sofa.com stocks a miniature dog sofa and Styletails has some fantastic contemporary styles – my fave is their pet version of the 70s ball chair.
For luxury dog bedding, Charley Chau excels at style and quality plus most of their products are machine washable. Basil loves their Snuggle Dog Bed (think doggy sleeping bag) and I’m lusting after their rattan dog baskets, as they’re easy to clean and look great bundled with blankets. For something original, why not try a DIY project such as a dog bed made out of a vintage suitcases or an old wooden drawer. Pile up with blankets in complementary colours to match your decor.
3. Flooring is a Man Vs Dog debate.
There are so many floor types to choose from, and many pet factors to consider – claw damage, pet mishaps, shedding fur, traction etc. Vinyl and carpet are best for pets, wooden flooring (real or laminate) not so much as they’re like an ice rink for dogs, which is particularly bad for a senior dog’s joints. However, I don’t have time to hoover daily even with my can’t-live-without
Dyson V6 Animal Cordless Cleaner and I want a wooden lounge floor, so I’ll address Basil’s needs with rugs.
4. A modern dog has a lot of stuff.
As a pet blogger, Basil does well for swag but I know he’s not the only pooch being spoilt. For today’s dog an overflowing toy basket, multiple beds and plentiful choice of accessories are commonplace. For project do-up, I’m already planning ways to store his bits and pieces in style.
I have a hook and wire-shelving combo in mind for his walking paraphernalia, and I’ve been eying up some IKEA hacks for baby’s clothing that I plan to replicate to accommodate his enviable pet blogger wardrobe! For toy storage, TK Maxx will be my first stop, as they have some lovely modern baskets for less.
5. Being a crazy dog lady is not good for your home.
I adore my dog and like any Pedigree owner, I think my breed is best BUT that does not mean I want a Boston Terrier takeover. For something more stylish, subtle and sane, I think being selective is best. I’ve paired a few vintage figurines with some superb custom pet art – check out Marlene’s Gang and Ros Shiers for their Basil artwork, which adds a personal touch to my gallery wall.
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Loving our Petember content? Read Alex’s post on 8 clever ways to stop your kitty from cramping your home style