How To Make Your Home Cat-friendly But Also Chic

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Nina Dunham kept her two Somali cats (one pictured) in mind during the redesign of her one-bedroom co-op in Southwest Washington’s River Park. (Deborah Jaffe/Deborah Jaffe for The Washington Post)
Nina Dunham kept her two Somali cats (one pictured) in mind during the redesign of her one-bedroom co-op in Southwest Washington’s River Park. (Deborah Jaffe/Deborah Jaffe for The Washington Post)

Nina Dunham wanted her redecorated one-bedroom co-op to be completely cat-friendly. That was a huge challenge, especially considering that her designer, Rachel Dougan, was installing high-end furnishings from both Fortuny and Fornasetti. But quite fortunately, Elli, 19, and Diablo, 14, Dunham’s fluffy Somali cats, seem to live very comfortably in the glamorous new digs, Dunham says. Here are some suggestions from Dougan on just how YOU can stylishly accommodate four-legged live-in companions:

1. You should install a wood laminate floor. Dougan used gray laminate in Dunham’s cozy apartment, because it’s pet-friendly and easy to wipe clean after any spill. It also won’t buckle.

2. Try to choose rugs strategically. In the bedroom, a dense-weave was used, high-pile wool wall-to-wall carpet. The nubby brown-and-black pattern perfectly matches the color of Dunham’s cats, making hair less noticeable. The living area and kitchen also have rugs made of cowhide, which Dougan says is resilient and easily cleaned.

3. Order a slipcover in the same exact color as your upholstery for daily use. The sectional, which was bought at Random Harvest, was upholstered in a luxurious olive velvet, Pierre Frey’s Opera-Velours. They also managed to find the same color in an indoor-outdoor fabric, and they first washed and dried samples of the fabric several times to see how durable it was.

4. Build a litter box niche inside the bathroom. While designing a custom storage unit in the bathroom, Dougan carefully carved out a space at the bottom for the litter box. The cats are comfortable, and the box is well hidden from guests.

5. Invest in all stylish seat protectors. Dougan recommends getting some inexpensive faux to keep atop dining or occasional chairs. This type of rug is readily available at Ikea. You can keep them on your good chairs when you are home. Your cats will either be repelled by them or completely love curling up on them, but either way your seat upholstery will be saved and you can whip off the rugs before guests arrive.

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