From the category archives:


The post below is a copy of the article I wrote for the online publication of Seattle’s Child, where I publish bi-weekly articles on home organization. To see a complete list of all past articles, please visit the Reclaim Your Home section on Seattle’s Child. See this article on the Seattle’s Child website here.

For many of us, our first child was a pet. They’re our babies and best friends. Still, even the most die-hard animal lover (at least those reading this column!) wants to preserve a sense of style in the home while giving four-leggeds ample room to roam.

Here are some fun, pet-friendly ideas that won’t leave you feeling like you live in a dog house.

A nook of their own. We’ve talked about dedicated space for grown-ups and kids. Turns out pets need it, too! Your pet’s space needs depend on her or his size, naturally, but also on their temperament. A highly social dog might want their bed in a more central space, such as the kitchen or family room, while a cat or timid pooch may be happier in a cozy spot away from all the action. Choosing a spot that works for your pet will likely work well for you, too. More time in their special spot means less time under your feet!

Photo Source: Houzz – Cook Architectural Design Studio

Photo Source: Houzz – Candlelight Homes

Photo Source: Etsy

Photo Source: DIY Network

 Designated dining. Food and clean water are daily necessities for a healthy pet. Ugly, intrusive pet bowls that you trip over trying to get to the coffee pot are not. Here are some ideas for keeping it tidy on the food front.

Just about every home has a spot in the kitchen, laundry or mud room, or near a back door that is away from (human) foot traffic but still easily accessible for your pet. Try seeing the space in your home with fresh eyes.

Photo Source: Houzz

Ultra neat freaks might even consider converting a small drawer into a furry feeding station. But if you close the drawer between meals, just be sure to leave a second water bowl out for your friend.

Photo Source:

A raised feeding station can be a little easier on your dog’s digestion, not to mention your back! Storage space below makes this option extra convenient. (Learn how to make this yourself right here.)

Photo Source: This Old House

Key to the great outdoors. Unless you don’t mind being at your critter’s every bark and call, you might want to think about a dog or cat door. But you should know by now that I’m going to ask you to think beyond the plastic flaps from days of yore. (Gasp!)  In today’s burgeoning pet industry, there are lots of safe and stylish options both you and your four-legged will love. Shop around and get creative!

Photo Source: Armijo Design Group

Installing a simple frame on the exterior masks that this is a doggie door. Smart and safe!

Photo Source: Hale Pet Door

Time-out zones. Sometimes even the most well-mannered dog needs a little enforced quiet time on his own. For anxious dogs or those who get excitable when company arrives, a contained space that lets them see and smell what’s happening may be even more comforting than roaming free.

This built-in dog crate has access to the outdoors and lets your pooch keep an eye on indoor happenings, too.

Photo Source: Pinterest

Just like with a crate, keeping the door open makes this a no-pressure safe space for your dog. Once she knows it’s her special spot, you’ll be able to close the door as needed and she’ll feel calm and cozy inside.

Photo Source: Houzz – LDa Architecture & Interiors

Pet and baby gates are another easy way to partition off a room but so many of them are ugly and unwieldy. I’m a big fan of pocket gates that slide back into the wall when not in use.

Photo Source: Houzz – Greymark Construction Company

Feline-friendly furniture. Cats love to climb, and scratch, and sleep, and sneak into tight spaces, and go pretty much wherever you don’t want them to go! Rather than fight your feline friend’s natural urges, I vote for taking charge so you can at least have a say on the fashion front. Take some inspiration from these cool cats on cozy, climb-worthy furniture that looks downright fresh, too.

Photo Source: The Petorialist

Photo Source: hauspanther

Just like I say with kids, it is possible to have furry ones in the family without surrendering your sense of style. Take a fresh look at your home and make intentional use of space. I bet you have lots of creative options just waiting to unfold!


Bare walls are sad walls.

Wallpaper has been a craze for a number of years now, but one of the main reasons for hesitation to use it is the fear of long term commitment. For those that are commitment-phobic, there is now a great variety of removable wallpaper! Unlike traditional wallpapers, which you can indeed remove with a bit of elbow grease, these removable wallpapers don’t leave much of a residue behind when the time comes to take them down, and often that residue can be wiped away with a damp cloth, rather than a lot of wall patching and repainting. *Note: brands may vary and the amount of gunk left behind may differ from each application. Always do a test strip if you are concerned. Here is a quick roundup of some of fun finds that I have recently discovered:

  • Walls Need Love: I recently discovered this site with premium removable wallpaper and decals with a great selection of designs to choose from
  • Sherwin Williams: No longer just paint, this company has partnered with HGTV Home to produce their own line of removable wallpapers
  • Swag Paper: I love the line of maps they have! Plus a specific category just for Tots
  • Chasing Paper: One of the nice things about this company is that the sizes are a little smaller, so if you have a smaller project, their 2′ x 4′ panel may be just what you need
    Teal Teardrop_Chasing Paper
  • Etsy also has a number of individual shops that sell removable wallpaper and wall decals




Five Pin Friday

March 28, 2014

Another week, another roundup of what’s hot on my Pinterest boards! Check ‘em out!

1. The Kallax Aliens is the Expedit replacement from Ikea, with thinner boards (to help out the environment). This one with Panyl self-adhesives to punch it up an extra notch!


2. Coffee tables turned into shelves? Couldn’t be any cuter!


3. A double-dip colorful wooden pendant light by Etsy shop, Mutating Creatures


4. Reclaimed pallet boards make for a lovely little walkway!


5. A wood heater for the smallest of spaces that actually looks pretty, too!



Up With Fun

March 25, 2014

Continuing on our upward trend of examining stairs, let’s tackle the riser – a perfect spot for some design fun! You trudge up and down them each day, sometimes oblivious to just the wealth of potential beneath your feet! Before you take another step, let’s up the game a little with some great ideas on how you can step up the design fun with your stairs!

I’m helping a client with a remodel that includes the stairs and we’ve been having so much fun gathering inspiration for her new space that I couldn’t resist sharing a quick roundup of some of the fun ideas! Are these inspiring to you? Do you have a picture of your own stairs that you’d love to share? Post it to your Instagram account with the tag #seattlestairs!

1. Painted pretty: Pick a theme or color palette that reflects the rest of your house and makes people feel good when they come in the door.



2. Up with Words: Another alternative, also using paint (or stencils) is to use wording to decorate, whether the lyrics to a song that was playing when you met your sweetheart, or reflecting another subject that you’re passionate about. I love the idea of book titles leading up to a library!



3. Painted Runners: Paint can also be used to design your own runner, or do something fun with the stairs, like these numbers.



4. Embellish: Have a collection that you’re dying to show off, but unsure how? Folks will be stepping right up to admire these steps, fitted out with a license plate collection or a stash of rulers cut-to-size.



5. Paper ‘n Paste: You can choose to go the re-movable route or paper the stairs like you would a wall, using glue adhesive. Either way, there are a multitude of design options available, so the possibilities are pretty much endless!



6. Mosaic Masterpiece: I love the idea of tile not only for the design options available, but also the durability. Aren’t these stunning? Keep the pattern the same or create your own unique mosaic tile design for a stairway that is completely unique!



7. Make it something else: Even with the ever-increasing popularity of digital books, many of us still cling to our cherished printed volumes. I love the idea of taking space under stairs for stashing tomes. I’d of course be the one planted on the steps all day, reading away. And of course, who can’t use a little more storage space?