Browsing Tag

living with pets


New Uses for Old Things: Vintage Suitcases

vintage suitcases etsy photo

Easy spot to at second-hand stores and garage sales, vintage suiteases come with built-in charm (and, usually, a not-so-pleasant smell). Battered corners and silky linings tell tales of the suitcase’s travelled past, and you can instantly imagine the trips taken and memories made by previous owners.

vintage suitcases etsy photo

It’s just as easy to imagine taking one of those suitcases on a new trip, albeit one which tranforms it as creative storage, a cozy bed for Fifi, or a modern tech-savvy charging station.

Here are just a few of the most creative suitcase re-purposing projects we’ve spotted. (Look for links to full DIY in the Sourcing section below!)

It doesn’t matter if you’re a cat person or a dog lover, your furry family member will feel right at home with a stylish space of its own.

vintage suitcase pet bed diy

Of course, suitcases make lovely seats for your less furry family members too – just add legs, upholstery foam and pillows.

vintage suitcase chair diy

Did you see this colourful train case-cum-charging station on Design*Sponge last week? Most charging stations tend toward masculine styling, so we loved that the suitcase’s original girly colour was preserved, and the colourful feminine lining that was added.

diy suitcase charger device design sponge

Thinking outside the closet is the key to giving these suitcases a new lease on life. Create an organized and portable crafting station for kids (or mom!), or a picnic-party-in-a-box that will be ready to go when spring weather arrives.

vintage suitcase craft organizer diy

vintage suitcase picnic basket diy

Anyone who’s visited the home of a musician knows how instruments can take over the home. This guitar stand from the master Macgyver-ers at Readymade keeps things corralled, and folded up is easy to tote on stage or to band practice.

vintage suitcase guitar stand diy readymade

Of course, don’t overlook the suitcase’s original intent: storing clothes. Britsh artist James Plumb created custom chests and fitted suitcase fronts to the drawers for a one-of-a-kind look.

vintage suitcase chest of drawers james plumb

+ “Journey in Blue” Vintage Suitcase Print, Simply Hue Designs on Etsy, $25 USD
+ Cat Bed DIY by Camilla Styles
+ Doggy Day Bed DIY by Covet Garden
+ Vintage Suitcase Chair DIY by See Kate Sew
+ Charging Station DIY by Design*Sponge
+ Craft Suitcase by Inspire Co.
+ Picnic Basket Suitcase DIY by Funkytime
+ Guitar Stand DIY by Readymade
+ Suitcase Chest of Drawers by James Plumb via Bless This Stuff


Umbra Bird Cafe and Fish Condo

umbra bird house feeder design condo

umbra bird house feeder design condo

Leave it to Umbra to give “pet paradise” a whole new meaning. Made from durable white ABS plastic, these smart designs are modern and sophisticated with their simple square shape and graphic cutouts.

It’s easy to imagine the bird cafe in an urban backyard, and what fish wouldn’t want to live a long life inside the fish condo? Chances are humans will love them too – they’d make a great gift option for the pet or animal lover in your life.

umbra fish bowl aquarium condo design

+ Bird Cafe Feeder from Umbra, $30
+ Fish Condo from Umbra, $35


Ooboo Cat and Dog Haven

ooboo pet haven

ooboo pet haven

Cat toys, like kids toys, can invade your living room. This is why I like the handy cat storage on the roof of this stylish faux-leather cat and dog house. Since I have a baby, I put away the cat toys to limit the clutter. But I feel bad about it. The Pet Haven would solve that problem while providing a nice place for my cats to hide away during the day.

If you have a cottage, you won’t need two since the Pet Haven is easy to carry around in its own carrying case. The Pet Haven has a portable/collapsible design; it assembles without fasteners or tools. And I think that it looks good.

Have a chance to win one by participating in the Moderncat July 2011 giveaway. The x-small is for cats of all sizes.

+ Pet Haven by Ooboo on sale at $119.99 to $149.99
+ photos: Moderncat and Ooboo


Catinet by UrbanCat Design

catinet inside urban cat

catinet inside urban cat

If there’s one thing that can ruin an otherwise stylish space, it’s the sight of a litter box in the corner of the room.

European-based Urban Cat Design have developed a clean and clean-lined solution with the Catinet. This cabinet not only hides your cat’s litter box, helping to reduce litter tracking throughout the home, but provides additional storage for pet supplies. An open side entrance ensures the litter box is still accessible for your cat.

catinet inside details

Because the design company is based in Europe, the Catinet likely won’t be an affordable option for North American cat owners due to shipping costs. As an alternative, consider modifying a standard base cabinet or modular unit – available at Ikea and other home improvement stores – to create something similar for your furry friend.

+ Catinet by UrbanCat Design
+ via Moderncat


Kitty Teepee and Faux-Fur Skin by Loyal Luxe

cat recycled cardboard teepee by loyal luxe

cat recycled cardboard teepee by loyal luxe

Pets are like kids, they like to be entertained. Pet toy makers do not always pay attention to style. This is not the case of Loyal Luxe, a Montreal-based company that produces adorable recycled cardboard cat houses. I introduced last year, their first product, the Cat Cabin. A couple months ago, they launched a cute teepee. You know how I like teepee (or tipi) for kids and grown ups.

faux bearskin cat and small dog carpet

Loyal Luxe also added a beautiful faux-bearskin for cats and small dogs to their collection. I know for a fact that cats go for anything with fur or faux-fur. We bought several years ago two RENS sheepkins for our cats. They were delighted! Since then, I repurposed the sheepkins as small bed carpets for my husband and I. During the colder months, I now lay a faux-fur throw at the end of our bed so the cats know where to sleep. What I like about a cat rug is that it takes less space than a pet pillow. Plus, it is easier to store away when you do not wish to have it in your decor.

Going back to Loyal Luxe, they transformed a traditional Canadian icon by mixing a synthetic bearskin on one side with a red plaid fabric on the other side. More bearskin colors and fabric patterns are available on their online shop to suit your taste or decor.

+ Native American Teepee $24 CAD
+ Faux Bearskin $30

+ Canada: RENS sheepskin $39.99 CAD
+ USA: RENS sheepskin $24.99 USD


Stainless Steel Snack Bowls and Cats

stainless steel snack bowls

stainless steel snack bowls

It is fun when you discover new usages for every day objects. Take these modern snack bowls, for example.  A cat owner bought two stainless steel snacks at CB2 to feed and serve water to her cats. At last, you could get affordable cat bowls that you will not want to hide in a corner of your apartment. And I think that your cat will make less mess than with the traditional flat hole bowls due to the slopped shape.

stainless steel snack bowls used as cat bowls

If you prefer to stick to their original usage, a buyer commented on the CB2 Web site that she uses the larger one to serve pistachios and the mini bowls for the discarded shells.

+ USA:  Stainless steel snack bowls at CB2, $19.95 USD, mini at $10.95
+ Canada: Stainless steel snack bowls at CB2, 24.95 CAD, mini at $12.95
+  Cat bowls from Modern Cat


Cat Mat by Chilewich

I put the cat bowls on a placemat at home. I use a tablemat that I did not like anymore but I would like to have something pretty that relates to the cats. I may have find it with the new Cat Mat by Chilewich. The fish shaped mat is available in 8 colors: carbon, chestnut, glacier, lemon, lime, mango, platinum and wheat.

The Cat mat is part of their new Spring/Summer 2011 collection that I will introduce on the next post.

+ Fish Pet Mat by Chilewich. From $35 USD


pEi Pod for Cats and Dogs

pei Doggy :: stylish boxed bed for small dogs

pei Doggy :: stylish boxed bed for small dogs

We live with two wonderful cats. We spoil them once in a while. It is no secret that cats love to hide or sleep in a closed box. The pEi pod is a stylish option that will look awesome in a modern style interior.

pei Kitty

It just happens that this month giveaway at Moderncat is a pEi Pod in the color of your choice. If I do not win, I might buy one for our cats once. I am currently redecorating our living room. The mint pEi Kitty with a yellow pillow will look great with our new decor.

+ pEi Kitty or pEi Doggy – small $129.99 USD


The Cutest Dog and Cat Tags Can Help You Find Your Lost Pet

blanket ID tags for dogs and cats

blanket ID tags for dogs and cats

Losing a pet is devastating for all members of a family. This is why it’s important to provide a way to find your pet if he gets lost.

Blanket Online ID probably made the cutest animal tags I ever saw. But this BC-based company does more than that. Each tag identities your pet with a unique ID code. And with their networks in Canada and the United States, they can help you find or reunite a lost pet. Amongst the services offered by blanketID is the possibility to print a a ‘Lost Pet’ poster directly from your member account.

blanketID tag in Butterfly green pattern

Not Just a Tag

A year membership comes with every purchase of a tag. You register your tag and fill out your contact information, including multiple phone numbers, and the description of your pet. You can even write down any medical conditions and allergies.

In the event your pet gets lost, you simply report your pet missing via their Web site and automatically sends a broadcast email to local SPCA, animal hospitals, shelters, other local blanketID members. The email links to your online information so that everybody has 24/7 access to a full description and photos to help identify your lost pet.

blanket ID dog and cat tag collection

What is handy is that you do not need to replace the tag when you move since you keep your contact information online. I only wish that you can write down the name of your pet on the tag.

One more thing

If your pet goes outside, make sure to affix the proof of rage vaccination tag that your veterinarian gives you annually when you go for their routine checkup. It can save you troubles in certain situations.

+ Dog and Cat tag $24.99 CAD


Cat Cabin by Loyal Luxe

cat cabin by loyal luxe

cat cabin by loyal luxe

Maud Beauchamp and Marie-Pier Guilmain are the two young Quebec industrial designers behind Loyal Luxe. They created a cool cardboard Canadian style cabin for cats that is shipped on a flat box. I saw it in stores and it’s a great concept.

The cabin is a cat toy where a cat can rest or play hide and seek. Your cat could sit on the roof. We used to keep a red nylon cat tent and our cats love it. I’m pretty sure that they would enjoy the cabin. As a design-savvy cat owner, I appreciate the more sophisticated look of the cabin.

Included in the box are four decorative ornaments for the façade. You can affix a moose head, a fish, a bird and a banner on which you write the name of your cat. Why not decorate the cabin even more with collage, poster paint, felt, or adhesives to complement your interior?

You can find the cat cabin at many retailers, online stores and pet shops across Canada and the United States. It is also available online through Loyal Luxe. Check their Web site to find a retailer near you.

+  Cardboard cat cabin by Loyal Luxe $24 CAD – available on their Web site


Health Benefits of Living with Cats and Dogs

living with cats and dogs

living with cats and dogs

I read on WebMB, 27 reasons why, on average, pet owners are more healthy and live longer. There are the obvious health benefit of walking the dog every day. In general, the calming effect of interacting with your pets play a major role in lowering your blood pressure and improving your mood. I can vouched for the sense of well-being that comes from observing our pets since I live with two lovely cats.

Pets and Young Children

Many new parents are afraid to live with a cat or dog when their child is born. I believe that this is a mistake. Many pediatricians will confirm that a baby raises in a house with two cats and a dog will develop a stronger immune system. It’s during our early years that our body learns to distinguish between good versus bad bacteria. Being exposed to cats and dogs teaches the body that these bacteria are not harmful. As long as you select pets that are kid friendly, I think that living with pets is safe for babies and young kids.

One health benefit is that kids who live with pets tend to have less allergies. Other researches where done on young children at risk of developing asthma. They found that, except for kids from mothers who are allergic to cats, children were significantly less likely to develop asthma as they got older if they live with a cat.

Dogs Help in Many Ways

Dogs are trained to perform many tasks to ease the life and improve the health conditions of patients. This sounds strange but apparently one in three dogs living with people with diabetes will alert them when the person experience a sudden drop in the level of blood glucose. What they think happens is that certain dogs can detect the chemical changes in the body through a scent that gives off when we have a drop of blood glucose. If that is true, you can really say that dogs are man’s best friend. But I still prefer living with cats.

You can read the rest and get more details at WebMD. Do you live with pets? Do you think they improve your life?

+ photo: WebMD