Tag Archives: pet friendly living

Kitty feeding bowls – a solution when company comes

With multiple cats, you have multiple feeding bowls.  It’s not the prettiest site when company comes over. At the same time, of course, your cats have to eat, and, as creatures of habit, will not understand it if you move their dining table!

We recently converted a closest pantry into a more accessible storage area that started as an old, unwanted entertainment unit.  (You can pick these up for CHEAP – sometimes for FREE — check Craigslist, garage sales and eBay.)  Removing the closet pantry freed up some floor space and created a perfect area for us to create a dining area for our kitties.

But there were still a few problems:  Occasional dry food leaving crumbs all over the floor.  Bowls getting moved around.  And the risk of someone tripping on a wayward food bowl. Well, our contractor came up with the perfect solution: the disappearing kitty dining table.

IMG_2409IMG_2410Our contractor installed a feeding DRAWER underneath the unit. The drawer has sides so that loose food cannot get out.  And the best part – it rolls right back into the unit after use. The cats love it –and no more worries about food bowls getting kicked or broken!

Antique storage bin holds leashes & supplies

Caring for and cleaning up after multiple pets can be time consuming as anyone who does it knows!  So at our house, we are always looking for ways to simplify everything and save time.

This applies to making pet supplies easy to store and access. Its fun to try to find storage solutions that can be incorporated into your home’s decor where they are most likely to be used. This prevents the pet family members from having to look for the items in multiple places before using them.

We found this cool antique storage bin at a flea market. I think we paid about $20.  (I recently saw a similar on eBay.) The deep storage area is perfect for concealing clean up bags and the round spindle is great for hanging up leashes.  It’s also large enough to hold doggie coats, sweaters, booties, and whatever other supplies you might have. We hung the storage bin right inside the front door for easy access before walks. In the picture, you see a few umbrellas that have been hung here for easy reach in bad weather. IMG_2406 IMG_2407

What I really like about this piece is that it doesn’t take up floor space. Our home is on the smaller side, so we are careful not to overcrowd. We find that this piece helps to balance the antique railroad station bench that sits to the left of it without taking up a lot of wall space.

This storage bin is a perfect example of incorporating function into your décor. Shop flea markets for unusual storage solutions that add style and interest to any home. We left this bin in the natural wood, but it could easily be painted to fit shabby chic, contemporary or any décor!

Pet-friendly FLOORING – I guess you could say I live ON a Barn!

I used to have carpet.  Key words – USED TO.    With multiple cats and rabbits, the vacuuming and cleaning the occasional accident became overwhelming.  Half of my first floor (kitchen, dining room, entry way) is porcelain tile – which I love – but I wanted a warmer, softer feel in the great room.

So the logical choice was hardwood, but I had a lot of concerns. What if it gets scratched? What if someone has an accident and it ruins the finish? For me, the absolute best solution was recycled BARN WOOD. Not only am I doing my part for the environment (no trees were killed!), but I have a durable floor that looks even BETTER with wear!


Advantages of barn wood:

I chose an OAK barn wood to match my décor and because I love the grain and durability of the wood.  Plus you will find that many of the old barns were made of oak, so this is a common barn material. I chose the rough-sawn finish since it retains the rustic look of the original wood. This option may not be for everyone. Smooth styles are also available.

Not only will you need to choose the type and style of wood, but you will also need to choose the type of FINISH.  I choose a TUNG OIL finish (3 coats) as opposed to a polyurethane top coat. Why? Because if I do get a scratch or someone has an accident, I can easily sand it and apply more Tung oil to the spot.


What do I like about our barn wood floor?

  • You CANNOT damage it. It already contains knots and imperfections – that I think are beautiful – but that also easily mask any type of wear and tear.
  • It’s easy to clean. I simply vacuum and occasionally use a soft mop to wipe it with furniture oil – maybe several times a year.
  • It does not show water marks. We have had pet accidents as well as overwatered plants that have dripped onto the floor.  Simply wipe up with a paper towel.

The best place to buy barn wood:

To avoid mark-ups, do NOT buy this kind of flooring through a local retailer. Instead, buy direct from a MILL that salvages and planes the wood.  Searching online, I found that the majority of them are in eastern states like New York and Vermont, but there may be others.  I am in Michigan and shipping charges were more reasonable than you might think. You will need your own flooring contractor to do the installation.

Buying tips:

  • Ask for SAMPLES of the type of wood and the finish that you choose. Most mills will send out at no or minimal charge.
  • Understand measurements. This is one problem that we had with the mill – I did not realize that the tongue and groove was part of the width – so I ordered too narrow of a piece and had to return them.  Again, it’s best to have a sample of exactly what you want.
  • Shop around. We found rather large differences in pricing at the various mills. Do not hesitate to negotiate.

So how do we like living ON a barn? It’s worry free. It’s warm under our feet and paws. It looks homey and warm. We wouldn’t trade it for the farm.