Like humans, our four-legged friends have tastes and preferences that depend on the perception and comfort of a space.
Architecture has the capacity to generate and stimulate well-being, a need that does not apply only to human beings. Living with pets requires special attention and organisation if you all want to live together in harmony. Adaptation to the home is, however, different for all animals: while dogs prefer more comfortable and soft places that resemble a burrow, cats are explorers and like to investigate the highest and most remote places of a home. Just like humans, our pets also have tastes and preferences, which depend on the perception and comfort of a space.
With the help and techinical expertise of the Portuguese company Melom, the leading company specialised in real estate remodeling, here are some tips so you can create a real sanctuary for your four-legged friends at home.
Thinking about spaces for animals requires the same approach as spaces for human beings, with the need to have a clear outline of the different essential areas for each animal's daily life, as well as being adapted to the dwelling in which it is found. The creation of essential areas for a pet needs to meet the animal's basic needs: an area to eat and drink, another for sleeping and a play area. These spaces need to be of an adequate size and free of obstacles for greater comfort and freedom but without destructing the property in the process. Space limitations and restrictions are the key point of the organisation - this is where animals can move, play or stay.
It is possible to adapt empty or unused spaces to better serve the needs of our furry friends by using resistant and easy to clean materials. Flooring materials such as laminate or natural stone should be avoided because of their slippery surface, the accumulation of dirt and due to the fact that these materials are easier stained. A good alternative is painted concrete, ceramic, linoleum or vinyl flooring, all easy to clean and difficult to scratch. Although these surfaces are easy to clean, they are not always the best for animals because they are rigid and cold, but this is something that can be easily solved by providing space for a bed or blanket, allowing animals to lie down on a more inviting surface.
Another alternative is to consider is cork, a natural material that is easy to clean and scratch resistant, if it has a strong finish. Another advantage is that it absorbs sound, a great advantage if owners are not fans of having a lot of noise echoing through the house. Carpets, on the other hand, are not recommended: besides accumulating a lot of hair, they need a lot of cleaning and maintenance to be free of stains and odours. It is best to keep carpet to areas in the house that are off-limits to animals.
The best way to protect a space is through prevention. If an animal tends to bite into furniture or destroy objects at home, owners should consider reserving a space in the house where the animal can freely play with suitable toys, such as a laundry room, kitchen or another ventilated space, perhaps even with outdoor access.
Spaces to eat or sleep can be installed in certain pieces of furniture or in kitchen islands, creating cosy areas to place a bed, or a drawer where you can place bowls of food.
Areas for pets can also be set up in other spaces; in bathrooms or even in the entrance hall, to serve the needs of the animals by incorporating them into existing furniture.
If animals have more freedom around the house, spaces can can also be an option in the owners' rooms by inserting sleeping spaces under the beds. If the animals are more adventurous, like cats, shelves can also be used so they can climb through spaces (at the same time aesthetically framed in the design of the room).
The most practical option for window and door protection, and to prevent pets from escaping, is to use nets that can be fastened with Velcro or through a sliding framed net, also allowing adequate ventilation of the interior space. An exterior grid is also an option but the spacing of the grid should be considered so that the animal doesn't become trapped between the spaces.
Protective windows are another option, such as inverted hinge windows or tilt and turn windows, which can be used strategically taking into account the personality and activity of the animal.
One final alternative is a grid which can be incorporated into the facade of the building, and allows protection of animals while allowing the correct ventilation and relationship with the exterior.