Juice spills, sticky fingers, "masterpieces" drawn directly on the wall, upholstery scratched to oblivion, a permanent layer of fur on all surfaces...oh, the joys of having kids and pets. We can't tell you how many sad, frumpy sofas we've seen purchased on clearance from a big box store with the cushions flipped over to hide stains. Usually, they're stand-ins for the dream furniture the homeowners plan to purchase once the toddler (or kitten or puppy) years are over. Then, the school-aged and teen phases set in and the same furniture that makes you cringe when you walk by remains or a new cheap replacement takes its place because bottles and crayons give way to muddy sports equipment and excessive snacking. If you do happen to splurge on a new area rug or pricey piece for the living room, you're constantly shooing away the dog, glaring at the kids or holding your breath whenever someone fails to take off their shoes.
Well, we're here to tell you that it doesn't have to be that way. You can have a home you adore that reflects your style and taste even with messy little ones and furry friends running around. Between all of us here at Ella Design Group, we have seven children, four dogs and seven cats (enough to start a petting zoo!) so we get the struggle. Being animal lovers and parents ourselves, pet- and kid-friendly interiors that are functional while also being sophisticated and beautiful are one of our specialties. As trained interior designers, our clients rely on our expertise, tricks and access to a huge variety of sources to strike a balance that works for their aesthetic and lifestyle.
The key really is going custom as opposed to heading to a bargain store for furnishings. One tactic that works well when clients have children and pets is using commercial-grade fabrics that are stain- and scratch-resistant and have a tight weave. Some of our vendors' offerings are even bleachable! In fact, many are actually outdoor fabrics that look and feel like indoor, residential versions. You can still have that amazing sofa or chair from your wish list but it will be more durable than anything you can buy on your own. We create spaces using everything from pet- and child-proof upholstery and pillows to storage that blends in with the overall design.
Seeing the big picture with an eye for safety and the entire family's enjoyment requires creativity, vision and a deep understanding of clients' needs, which is why hiring an interior designer is actually a smart way to get exactly what you want. Non-toxic, green materials and finishes like no-VOC paint, accessories that are pretty but not overly fragile, rounded corners, anchoring shelves or considering built-ins are all ways to ensure your space is stress-free. Patterns, color and texture can hide chocolate milk and the handiwork of your cat's claws and happen to be elements we'd incorporate into any design.
Value goes beyond that initial price tag. While some people may balk at investing in quality pieces while they have no problem spending the same amount of money on a week-long vacation, it boils down to whether you want something quality that will last for a long time and give you lots of enjoyment or something cheap that needs to be replaced every few years and reminds you daily that you settled. The cheap stuff adds up eventually and you're constantly being forced to accept good enough as opposed to something that excites you and makes you happy. We're all about helping clients find the best value for their budget so they can have furnishings that will withstand the daily wear and tear and won't need to be swapped out on a regular basis. Custom, quality pieces combined with creative solutions equals a stunning home where you can relax and make memories, where spills aren't the end of the world and where you smile whenever you walk in the door.
"Buy the best and you only cry once." – Miles Redd