You Smell Like a Dog!

Wet dog smell; dog bath.
“Yuck, you smell like a dog!” “But I just changed the cat box!” “This house needs aired out!”

Do any of these sound familiar? Are you desperate to get your home smelling fresh and clean? Then this blog post is for you! Keep reading to find out how you can combat that dog and cat smell. 

While I will be sharing a few products that I highly recommend, I first want to point out some simple home maintenance and pet care tips. The time frames for these will vary in each household, but it’s a routine that you should develop for your home ASAP.

Household maintenance: HVAC system

It is critical to perform household maintenance on your home, especially in maintaining the life of your HVAC system. Your filters need to be changed multiple times a year. The exact number varies depending on your type of filter or situation (multiple animals, only one animal, location/seasons, etc). But, definitely change at a minimum 3 times a year or every 4 months. Some, however, need to be changed every 2 months or even monthly.

I also suggest that you have seasonal check ups on the system twice a year to make sure it’s running efficiently and properly! Ideally, before the first time you turn on the AC or the heat. This will help you be proactive on any problem that could occur with the function of the unit. And, you can also utilize this time to get an education from the technician on your exact system’s needs. Ask during your maintenance visit or locate the manual for the unit to determine the correct size of filter you should be using. This will also determine how often you need to replace it. Getting ducts cleaned is also a good idea, but I’d advise that you discuss with your technician for their recommendation on how often.

Quick tip: purchase the number of filters that will last you for 6 months to have on hand. Add to the calendar on your phone to alert you when you need to change the filter. Is it monthly, bimonthly, or every 3-4 months? Set an alarm in advance so you don’t forget. And before you put the filter in, write the month/year on it so you can be sure to know how fresh it is, especially if something happens to your calendar reminder.


A clean home combats dog and cat smell.
Home maintenance tips.
household maintenance: home care

Make sure you are vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, etc regularly in your entire home. This will help you remove pet hair and dander so it doesn’t build and set in to hard to access places. Also, don’t forget to vacuum furniture, wash bedding, and anything else your pets come in contact with on a regular basis. Check to see if your furniture fabrics are the best or the worst to have with pets!

Bathe your dog regularly to prevent dog smell.
Chihuahua with soap on head.
groom your pet

Regularly groom your pet to help combat the smell. Brush them often, especially during the transition months from hot to cold and cold to hot. Most dog breeds and some cats will shed their winter and summer coats as they prepare for the incoming weather! Plan puppy/kitty spa days (at home or at a groomer), too. During the warmer months at our house, we typically give the dogs monthly baths to help combat that dog smell; and then every other month once it cools down.

pet health

Diet, allergies, weather (rain, snow), health, breed, etc. can all play a huge factor in the pet smell. If you have specific questions about your pets, talk with your vet to find the best solution for you both. With litter boxes, make sure you’re cleaning it out daily. Scooping the pieces out that need it and adding some fresh litter to what’s left. It seems to be the best routine in my experience, but your pet may be different and require a different routine. Just like with humans, our pets are unique and have their own specific needs.

suggested items to purchase

Add items to your home that can help you combat the smell. Plants are a great option, but please do check out the ASPCA’s website for a list of poisonous plants.

Another option, and personal favorite of mine, are small air purifiers that plug in to a wall outlet and have a filter you can remove/change as often as necessary.  I highly recommend this one from Amazon. They have specific refills for pets, tobacco, etc.  You can even set up a subscribe and save order so you can install, plug in, and forget until the new filters arrive!

Combat the dog and cat smell with the TrueAir Purifier.
TrueAir Purifier and Replacement Filters

We have two on the main floor (where the dogs and humans hang out the most, two on the lower level (in the main rec room area and the bedroom where the at least a few of the dogs sleep regularly), and then three upstairs (main loft area and two bedrooms where at least a few of the dogs sleep regularly). There are many other options out there, but I love these! They are quite compact, plug in directly to the wall outlet, easy to change the filter, and easy to mask or hide wherever they’re installed. Plus, units and filters are pretty reasonable! We’ve had at least 3 of these for over 3 years and then purchased the others when we moved into the large home 3 years ago. And they’re still going strong!

final thoughts

I tend to avoid anything with scents for a few reasons. The main one is that many of the products on the market today that have any scent/parfum added to them, will also have formaldehyde in the product. Check the ingredients of anything you plan to use with an added scent; it’s pretty shocking how many products have that ingredient. Formaldehyde is not something I want to inhale. And, I most definitely do not want my dogs to inhale it either.



Upholstery Fabrics Not Pet-Friendly

worst fabrics to use in a pet friendly home

Earlier this week, I discussed the “Best Fabrics for Pet-Friendly Spaces”.  Now it’s time to chat about the worst fabrics for upholstery in pet-friendly spaces and why! Scroll down to see my “Worst Fabrics for Pet-Friendly Spaces” list!


In my research to see what others online are saying, I noticed several resources say that silk is pet hair resistant.  While that may be true, silk is a very fragile and high maintenance fabric. It can easily stain, rip or tear. And it doesn’t respond well to liquids, making it very tough to clean, too. Due to these factors, and the expense (!), I personally do not recommend silk on upholstery. And, depending on the client and the space, I often don’t recommend it at all in a pet-friendly space (i.e. window treatments or pillows, etc).

worst fabrics for pets, don't use these fabrics in a pet friendly home
cat on stool

While a luxurious upholstery fabric, Velvet, is another fabric I don’t recommend. It is a high maintenance and delicate fiber for anyone, but especially pets. It’s super easy for the fibers to be damaged and crushed. Any rough playing, cleaning, or scratching/digging on the fabric can permanently damage the fibers. Professional cleaning is also recommended, and that can add up quickly! And on top of all that, pet hair clings to it like a magnet!

worst fabrics to use in a pet friendly home
dog on chair
Loose Weaves

The Loose Weaves category include many types of fabrics. These include linens, cottons, tweed, chenille, and many other open weave upholstery fabrics. The looser the weave, the more likely these fabrics will snag or unravel. Claws easily get caught in the fibers, while dirt, hair, and dust get trapped. And, over time, that trapped debris embedded into the fibers, will cause the furniture to smell. It is best to save the open weave fibers for machine washable knits or fabrics to use as accents in your space, like removable pillow covers and blankets that you can easily and regularly clean.


I’m sure many of you think that suede should be a good option for upholstery due to its strength and durability, however, it is not something I’d recommend with pets. Water spots from cleaning, wet pet hair, licking, etc. make this fabric one to skip when furniture shopping. Please note, ultrasuede is a whole other subject, which you can read about here. 

worst fabrics to use with cats
cat sunbathing on sofa

Have you had experience with any of these fabric types? Let me know your real life examples in the comments below!



it’s time to chat about the worst fabrics for upholstery in pet-friendly spaces and why!
Have a dog? Avoid these 4 fabrics for upholstery!

Fabrics Best Used in Pet-Friendly Spaces

If you’re like me, your pets have full or almost full access to your house. I even jokingly say that the sofa we bought when we first moved to the new place (3 years ago already!!) was a purchase for them, not us! And, almost daily, I get asked what fabrics are best for pet friendly homes. Below, I’ve created a brief review of the types of fabrics that are best for you and your pets. Don’t forget to check out this other blog post with the worst fabrics to use with dogs or cats.

use these fabrics for pet friendly homes
cat on sofa with pillows

One quick reminder, each home and space are different! Each pet, each breed, each living situation, different seasons, different environments, etc., so while these are the best fabrics overall for pet friendly spaces, things may be slightly different for your own living situation. If you aren’t sure which is best for you or if you’d like some guidance, let’s set up a virtual consultation and chat!

these are the best fabrics to use in a pet friendly home
large dog sitting on dog bed; tongue sticking out
High Performance Crypton/Commercial Fabrics

Most think of healthcare or educational settings when mentioning commercial fabrics, but the reality is that there are so many uses for these fabrics, including among pets!! Options are seemingly endless and often quite luxurious, rivaling some of the top residential fabric brands out there. They come in a large variety of patterns, solids, and textures; are stain, odor, bacteria, and water resistant; and, due to their durability and technology used to produce the fibers, they are easy to maintain.

Crypton is a specific name brand for this technology, and many other fabric companies have begun to develop residential fabrics using this brand technology in their own brand. It is becoming easier to find on the market.

High Performance Sunbrella and Indoor/Outdoor

We are long past the days of “crunching” or that plastic fabric when sitting on indoor/outdoor fabrics! In fact, most would NEVER guess these fabrics are outdoor safe! Technology has indeed come a very long way! Sunbrella is a top leading brand in the industry, however, there are others as well. All come in a variety of patterns, colors, and textures.

This type of material is also a favorite of mine for pillows and accent furniture (chairs, ottomans, etc.), but easily work for larger pieces (think sofa, sectional, headboards, etc). Very easy maintenance with these fabrics in case of spills or areas needing to be cleaned. Some can even be cleaned with a diluted bleach solution!

Leather/Vegan Leather

Leather is resistant to smells and doesn’t attract pet hair. In fact, it’s super easy to wipe clean with a dust cloth. If scratches occur, a high-quality leather can typically be buffed. Distressed or patterned leathers may even disguise added scratches. There are also vegan leather options with similar characteristics and options to natural leather.

That being said, not all leather out there is the same. It is critical to make sure the leather that you are looking to put on your furniture is high quality. Leather is sold in different quality types: genuine/bonded, bicast, split-grain, top-grain, nubuck, and full-grain. Genuine/bonded and split grain are the lowest quality, top-grain is the upper mid to high-level, and full-grain is high-level. I highly recommend the top-grain or full-grain leather qualities for furniture in any house hold, but especially with pets.

I’ll be sure to go into detail on each of these in a future blog post.


This is one of my favorite fabrics for pets and their owners. It wears exceptionally well, is easy to clean, and typically is available in a variety of colors, although mainly only solids or a heathered look. This material does attract pet hair, but it is very easy to brush off because it does not embed itself into the fibers. It’s also resistant to nail or claw punctures! Add accents with pillows and throws (perfect for those nesters!!) in various prints, colors, and textures to add a personal touch.

Ultrasuede is the name brand and original microfiber invented (Japan, 1970s). Since then, many other fabric houses have developed their own microfibers, in varying price points (usually less expensive). While just about any of the microfibers on the market today are quite durable and hold up to pets well, the name brand, Ultrasuede, is still the best on the market. If you were to compare samples of the typical microfibers in competition to the Ultrasuede, you would see some differences, including that Ultrasuede is usually thicker than the other variations.

use these fabrics for a dog friendly home; blue gray sofa, tufted sofa, living room design, interior design
dog sitting on human’s lap on a sofa

Still have some questions about one of these fabrics? Feel free to send me an email or post a comment below! Don’t miss my blog post on the worst fabrics for pet friendly spaces!



Bringing Nature Indoors

Americans spend an average of 90% of their time indoors. And as humans, we crave nature; we respond well to it. Plants help cleanse the air around us. They bring life to a space (literally if it’s a plant 😉 ). These are just a few reasons adding natural elements can enhance your space and living experience!

So how do you bring natural elements into your space? It can be pretty easy, and you may already have this covered and not even realize it!


Do you have any natural wood elements: flooring, furniture, decor? Do you have windows in your space? Can you look out into nature (think trees, plants, water elements, etc.)? Are there stone elements in the space (granite or marble, certain tiles that are made from natural stone materials, fireplace surround with stone, etc.)? Do you have indoor plants or flowers (potted or an arrangement/bouquet)? What about artwork or wall-covering that has leaves, water, trees, or variations of these in an abstract design? If you have any or all of these elements, congratulations, you’ve accomplished this step!


If you don’t have any, or if you want to add some additional elements to your space, look around and see what you could add to increase the natural elements. I absolutely love to get fresh flowers at the farmer’s market in the summer and I’m developing a huge addiction to succulents (hello Plant Nite!!). I also LOVE shopping for fun and unique planters or vases for them (home goods and target are my go to spots for these!!). Etsy also has some very creative wall or hanging pieces for succulents. Often mixing materials to bring in various natural textures.

You should have fun shopping for natural elements, and looking at them should bring a smile to your face!


If you’re planning to add live plants to your space and are a pet parent, be sure to check out the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs and cats before you buy! And, you can check out some of my favorite pet-friendly plants from a recent blog post.

Here are a few more examples.





Shower Tip: Add a Grab Bar!


Perhaps you’ve stayed in an ADA compliant hotel room and have seen grab bars in showers or near tubs. Maybe you understand how these would benefit others for their needs. Or maybe you’ve enjoyed the convenience of them for your own use at that time. But have you considered adding one to your own personal bathroom?

It used to be that there were very few designs of grab bars on the market. Most had the same clinical look. Many homeowners and designers associated grab bars with this look. So, unless they were required, the aesthetics of the shower took priority over the added safety benefit. Manufacturers heard this complaint. Now, they are available in varying sizes, finishes, and even appearance, while still maintaining ADA compliance.

Photo Credit: Moen


In almost every bathroom project I’ve worked on, my clients agreed with adding a grab bar into the design. And if a client didn’t, I would still ask the contractor to put blocking in the wall so a grab bar could be easily added at a later point. Something that every client agreed was a good idea!


Here’s one bath/shower I just completed where the client agreed a grab bar was a smart addition. This grab bar we had installed matches the shower and bathroom design perfectly. It doesn’t take away from the design at all! In fact, it brings the rest of the fixtures all together and adds another element to this wall, separating the two niches beautifully.



Lighting Basics

Lighting is pretty important in our every day life. And while we consciously know when to turn it off or turn it on, there’s even more to consider than just what fixture to put where.

lighting edison bulb
Edison bulb pendant


Ideally, every room should layer natural and electric light. There are 4 types of lighting: ambient, accent, task, and daylight.

natural and electric lighting elements creating a cohesive space
bedroom showcasing natural and electric light

Ambient is your overall, wash of light. It helps to light an entire space, often with an equal level. Think of giving your space a nice comfortable and even glow. Ambient lighting is your recessed light fixtures.

Accent is exactly like it sounds; it highlights spots in the space or accentuates certain areas. An example could be recessed fixtures that are directional and highlight a specific item (art, wall details, focal point in a room, etc). Use this sparingly to give impact where you want the eye to go.

Task is another one that is exactly as it sounds: designed for a specific task. Desk fixtures, pendants in a kitchen, lighting in a classroom. All of these tasks require higher levels of lighting for it to be accomplished. They aren’t used at all times, but necessary when it is time to do the specific task.

Daylight can be both a positive and a negative in a space. Positive because it’s free and we respond well to it for our natural body needs, etc. Negative because of glare, heat impact, not being to able to predict it, etc. How a room is positioned in a home can also play a factor.


Electric light and natural light can affect how color is seen in a space, which can contribute to how you feel in a space and if you even feel comfortable. The type of light bulbs (called lamps) used can affect color, light output, even physical effects to the body. There are a number of factors involved in regards to the various types (incandescent, LED, fluorescent to name a few) of electric light bulbs/lamping available including light output amount, color temperature (color of the light on a scale of warmer or cooler light — think of flames in a fire), life of lamp/bulb, etc.

Lamping (light bulbs) are now sold with information on their boxes that many purchasers don’t realize is even there. Each box will tell you the color temperature in Kelvin degrees. The kelvin temperature range is from 2700K to 6500K. The higher the number, the hotter and bluer the light. The lower the number, the cooler and warmer/more yellow the light. My experience has shown that the ideal color temperature is 3000-3500K. It is a crisper, whiter light and color reads truer in this range.

glass pendants with edison bulb; highlighting natural lighting elements
glass globe pendant with the Edison bulb


So, how do you know if your light situation is ideal or needs improvement? Evaluate it using these techniques and questions:

• How do you feel about the quality of lighting during the day? What about during the evening? How do you feel about the quality of light at night?

• What are the sources of light in the space?

• Are your sources of light giving you the layered lighting levels to provide ambient (overall), accent (highlight), task (enough light to accomplish a task), and daylight? If yes, great, move to next question! If no, what’s missing? What could be added?


• Do the colors you have in your space read the same in natural daylight as in electric light? If yes, great, move to the next question! If no, does the color appear muddier? Does the light itself appear to have a yellow or blue tone to it? If it is muddy, chances are the color temperature is the issue. Ideally, you should have light that reads more white than yellow or blue. This helps colors in your space to read true to their actual color. Try to ensure your lamps/bulbs are in the 3000-3500K range. Lamping (light bulbs) are now sold with information on their boxes that many purchasers don’t realize is even there.


• Do you hear buzzing or see flickering in your lamps/bulbs? Does it take time for your light to warm up/get to the full output? If yes, you’re probably using fluorescents or compact fluorescents. And, over time, these fixtures start to decrease the light output. I personally do not like these and would suggest you consider switching to LED versions instead.

• Do you have a dimmer switch, but it doesn’t seem to work with your fixture? This is something you should get checked out by an electrician. It could be a faulty switch, it could be a disconnect between the type of dimmer installed, or even something more complex.

• How about natural daylight? Does the sun shine into the space and disrupt the viewing of a screen? Or is it making the room hot when full sun is hitting that portion of the home? Consider window treatments: shades, black out curtains, window films, etc. to help control the temporary effects to the space.

Still not sure about your space or feel like you need more assistance? Contact me to set up a lighting consultation and let’s get that lighting working for you and your space!!



Meet the Hounds in My Life!


As I’m sure many of you are wondering, how and why did I end up naming my business HHI Studio (aka Homeward Hound Interiors)?

The answer is relatively easy…my love for dogs, especially my dogs, sparked the need for a name for my firm that would incorporate my furbabies.


Before I introduce the 3 pups in my life right now, I want to take a moment to spotlight and remember my sweet angel girl, Pebbles. She was taken from us way too soon in August of 2017. Pebbles was in my life for many career and personal struggles and celebrations. She was the first dog that was truly mine, not just a family dog. She helped me get through so much and I thank her for the years she gave me. I still miss her every day. She’s the angel with paws watching over me.


The oldest of my herd is Maggie (aka Mags or Old Lady). She’s 19 years old and still going strong. She loves to sleep, but lives for breakfast and dinner (and second dinner). Mags is such a sweet girl! We adopted her when she was 13, but it seems like we’ve had her forever because she fits in with our herd so well.


Next, we have Maggie 2, aka Maggie, who is 11 years old. She came to us in 2016 having lived with several other families, 3 in 6 years. Needless to say, she has indeed found her forever home with us! She’s 75 pounds of lap dog. And, we call her an honorary beagle, because she truly believes she’s one of them 🤣


And our baby is Blue (aka Boo Boo or Blue Berry). While he will be 6 in August, he is indeed the baby! He originally came from Florida, but seems to enjoy all 4 seasons here in Virginia. He loves to hunt in our back yard, and the neighbors know him well because of it 😂

If you follow me here on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook, you’ll get to see more of the herd…and often 😉



All NEW Homeward Hound Interiors!!

Hello and welcome to the NEW Homeward Hound Interiors!!! This website and blog has been about 6 months in the making. I’m thrilled to be launching officially today!

Homeward Hound Interiors was just the start of an idea last year. It came about after taking a year plus off for mental health struggles, and to rediscover who I was and what I wanted out of life. But the overall journey didn’t really start last year.


In 2010, when I graduated college, I was asked where I wanted to be 5 years. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure at that point in my life, having just spent from age 13 until then working toward my design degree and starting my design career. And even though I tend to prefer longer term goals, thinking 5 years out was huge to me at that time in my life. I remember saying that I’d love to own my own design business after 5 years, but I didn’t really feel that timeline then, and as I look back, I see why.

Fast forward to 2015, I had accomplished so much already in my career at that 5 year mark. But, I knew I wasn’t ready to do my own thing right then. I was still learning so much day to day! After 2015, my mental health started to go downhill, and my health became my priority and focus. I still had planted that seed in 2010 and I could feel the roots getting stronger.  The idea was blooming, but it just wasn’t time yet.

Last year, I felt the design bug bite. I started to crave design projects again. Almost overnight, I finally felt like my calling was found again. I wanted to make that idea blossom completely.


When 2018 began, I was feeling a little lost.  But, after starting to meet with a group mastermind, I knew I was on the right journey. I had just slipped off the correct path for a bit. With their help, I’ve been working on taking my business to the next level. This site and blog is just one of those steps to get me back on the right track.

I look forward to sharing a variety of topics with you here.  The NEW Homeward Hound Interiors is all about creating sophisticated and pet-friendly spaces for my clients. Other key features will include the dog mom life, growth of my business, continuing to discover myself, and much more!! Thank you for joining my journey and helping to make the forest of my dreams grow!! The NEW Homeward Hound Interiors welcomes you.

Want to stay in touch? Follow me on social media: Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.