September 2022 View more

When designing the interior of a Naperville home recently, Angela Graefenhain had to balance the needs of four residents. Two were a recently retired couple who had lived in Naperville earlier in life and wanted to return. But there also were their pets to consider: Ivan, a 60-pound, mixed-breed rescue dog, and Otis, a purebred Leonberger weighing 120 pounds.

“I’ve never really had a client make the pets such a big consideration,” says Graefenhain, principal designer and owner of Graefenhain Designs in Naperville. “Usually the conversation is limited to, ‘Is there a space where we can put a dog bed?’ ” This project put a much bigger focus on the furry inhabitants.

The 3,400-square-foot, three-bedroom, four-bath home was completed earlier this year. Some of the pet-centric design decisions included plentiful sliding doors for access to the yard and performance fabrics on furniture. Porcelain tile flooring in many of the rooms is a close facsimile for wood, but its texture makes it easier for dogs to grip without slipping. Abundant windows are hung low for optimal viewing of squirrels and deer on the wooded lot. And the house is conveniently located near a dog park.

While Graefenhain gave the dogs their day, she didn’t forget to make the home attractive for the humans as well. An open layout and rustic modern design, with natural elements like wooden beams and stone fireplaces, is simple, easy to care for—and, just as important, beautiful. 

1. Sunroom Designer Angela Graefenhain mostly avoided area rugs in order to keep spaces easy to clean. The sisal floor covering in the sunroom, however, is durable for both pets and people. It is layered over stamped concrete mimicking the look of stone. Board-and-batten walls and a wooden ceiling add texture.

2. foyer This roomy entryway gives guests space to take off their shoes and stow belongings when they come in. “I’m a huge proponent of what I call ‘shuffling space,’ ” Graefenhain says. “Guests need a space to reorient when they come into a home.” Windows flanking the front door keep the space flooded in natural light. 

3. Kitchen This space has everything a cook could desire, including an oversized island, well-thought-out workflow, great storage, and durable quartzite countertops. Modern globe lantern light fixtures are from Chapman and Myers through Circa Lighting.

4. Great room Room sizes are large and open, a feature that is handy for entertaining but also one that gives the large dogs space to roam. A patterned Pottery Barn wool rug is a practical choice for the pooches, while a Room & Board sectional amps up the comfort factor.

5. Primary bath The husband formerly worked in the flooring and tile business, so the couple knew exactly what they wanted when it came to choosing finishes. For the shower, they selected CEGI Tile’s Odonata pattern, a move that Graefenhain wholeheartedly approved. “Some people avoid committing to a color, but I believe choosing an artistic element gives the room staying power,” she says.

6. Built-in Bookcase and Bench Flagstone from Wisconsin adorns the fireplace in the great room, which is flanked by shelving. “There are different things happening on each side, but there’s an overall feeling of symmetry,” Graefenhain says.

Sitting Pretty

Muddy romps in the rain. Digging in the garden. Encounters with skunks.

A dedicated dog room and pet shower in this Naperville home is the first stop for wet and dirty pooches coming in from the outdoors, stopping grubby paw prints in their tracks.

The homeowners chose a printed blue tile that provides a connection to the color scheme in the rest of the home. Italian-made Ceramica Fioranese porcelain tile in the lively Boho pattern stands up to mucky paws and sharp claws. 

Nearby cabinetry provides space for organizing grooming tools, food, toys, and other accessories that come with the territory of owning two large dogs. Hooks keep leashes close at hand, and a basket holds towels at the ready.

Photos by Time Stops Photography and getty images (paw prints). Contractor: CT Schillerstrom Construction