Pet decorating books like ‘Where They Purr’ explore new ways of coexisting with our furry friends

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When my husband and I are ready to call it a day, one of us will say out loud, “Big beds!” which causes our older Chihuahua, Herschel, to move from his living room bed (a kind of blurred little igloo) to his bedroom bed. There he stretches out on a doggy memory foam mattress that costs almost as much as our own.

When it comes to animals, there are two kinds of people: pet people and not pet people. I get stuck in the former and honestly do not understand the latter. When Lady Danbury growled “Not on my chair!” when Kate Sharma’s corgi, Newton, jumped into her bergère in this season’s “Bridgerton,” I let out a laugh. I would have given Newton a stool to make jumping easier. (Herschel has a ramp for our couch.)

Silk brocade and paws can ask for problems, but an increase in nice pet decor has not only made our home more attractive, but also helps our pets feel better. Two new books, “For the Love of Pets: Contemporary Architecture and Design for Animals” and “Where They Purr: Inspirational Interiors and the Cats Who Call Them Home”, explore ways we can more comfortably – and in some cases, luxuriously – coexist with our furry friends.

“For the Love of Pets” dives into dozens of products and projects from around the globe that reflect the changes taking place in the pet furnishing market, especially a new consideration of our animals’ physical and psychological needs. A modular cardboard system from Taiwanese design firm A Cat Thing was inspired by the founders’ traumatized rescue cat, who sought comfort in the dark recesses of a simple box. Fetch House, from Washington, DC headquarters company CallisonRTKL, is a 3D-printed dog house made in size and inserted with tennis balls that combine easy grab-and-go playtime with a dog’s need to cave.

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Architects also have fun. As part of an earthquake renovation, Hitotomori Architects in Nara, Japan added interior structural supports that could act as catwalks for the family’s feline (they even made it so the cats could move from room to room via the ceiling beams), and Calgary, Alberta, the firm Studio North creates built-in wall hooks for quiet hiding places.

When I asked Phoenix-based cat-style expert Kate Benjamin, founder of Hauspanther, “Is it too much to decorate for your pet?” her answer was a resounding “No!” As a former director of marketing for a baby equipment company, Benjamin saw that the market shifted from daycare-like designs to exclusive options and wondered why the same thing did not happen in the pet world. “We need to design for our animals,” she says. “We need to understand their behavioral side so that they are comfortable and stress-free. Cats are small predators with natural instincts – climbing, scratching, hiding, hunting – and if you take that into account, you can help them live. their best lives. ” It’s a topic that Benjamin, co-author of “Catification” and “Catify to Satisfy” along with behavioral scientist Jackson Galaxy from Animal Planets “My Cat From Hell”, knows well. Her design solutions for clients range from cheap hacks to custom jobs that run up to $ 5,000.

The pet decor boom extends to what we humans call “table top”. When Seattle-based industrial designer Jay Sae Jung Oh could not find the right dishes for her dog, Boo, she created her own collection and launched Boo Oh in 2018. (It also includes leather harnesses, leashes and uber-chic poop bags.) “I wanted simple, minimalist bowls, but could only find things with crazy graphics,” she explains, adding that she would hide her ugly old bowls when friends came by. “There has been a lack of opportunities in the market and I thought someone should fix this.” (I share Oh’s contempt for silly bowls and have for years adopted solitary antique saucers on property sales – they were the perfect size for my cats and work just as well for toy breeds.)

In the success of these boutique operations, major manufacturers have spied on a juicy treat. According to pet counseling firm Pet Keen, the pet accessory market is expected to grow by $ 9.2 billion between 2022 and 2025. “Pet decorating has become more mainstream with social media,” Benjamin explains. “Ikea now has a whole section with some really amazing stuff.” Sauder, North America’s leading furniture company, manufactures pet furniture, including a side table with a pull-out bed for owners on a tight budget.

Pet Keen also points out that 73 percent of homeowners report that their pets bring their families closer together. In that spirit of appreciation, Australian photographer Paul Barbera published “Where They Purr,” a follow-up to his artist-studio-focused book, “Where They Create.” The book offers luxury interiors, but is focused on the felines that inhabit them. “One day I was photographing the Swiss artist Olaf Breuning in the attic of New York City, where he lived and worked, when I saw his two royal British shorthairs relaxing on a table,” Barbera says in his introduction. “Within this human realm, cats seemed like living, breathing deities; earthly, yet mysterious. I felt compelled to immortalize their elusive energy with my camera before the moment was over. “

What makes Barbera’s book so coffee table worthy is how charming it captures each cat’s eccentric. While Winston Fluffybum likes to sit in the library window of his 19th-century Italian home in Melbourne, Australia, neighbor Harvey Crafti prefers the living room sofa, from which he can admire his own resemblance, specially embroidered on a stool by designer Suzie Stanford. But there is a denier of pet decor in each group: Hercules, another resident of Melbourne, does not want to be more than her owner’s chest.

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“The world has a better understanding of compassion now that these are sentient beings,” says Benjamin. “They’re a part of our lives, and it’s satisfying.” And what nicer way to express our gratitude for the joy they bring to our households, than to give them an indulgent little something entirely their own.

Maile Pingel is a Los Angeles author and former editor at Architectural Digest.

Inspirational interiors and the cats that call them home

Thames & Hudson. 239 pp. $ 50

Modern architecture and design for animals

Edited by Images Publishing Group

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