Dog Days

The ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans named the days from mid-July to late August the, “dies caniculares” meaning “dog days”. They believed that the rising of the Dog Star Sirius combined with the heat of the sun could cause scorching heat and drive dogs and men alike to madness. Late July through late August is the hottest and most humid time of the year here in Florida and during these “days of the dog”; activity slows down as the constant heat makes everyone want to stay inside with the air conditioner on 78. With the air at 78 or lower it is a great time to work on decorating projects so the house does not “go to the dogs”. Let’s take a peek into a space that was decorated with the dogs in mind. The homeowners are pet parents to three Great Danes so there were a few decorating challenges, but all in all I would say that living in this Arlington bungalow Villa, is anything but a dog’s life somewhere in the heart of The Villages.

• Challenge with big dogsLight, bright and big dog friendly - Home Décor by Ruth Dyer - in the Villages of Florida.
The challenge with big dogs is that they need space to move. Also, they stand so tall that their tails swish from happiness at the same height as a table lamp. We were unable to use table lamps so we had to seek light out in the ceiling by adding more recessed lights. Rugs don’t work with such big dogs and curtains were out of the realm of possibilities.

• Hard surface flooring
I usually promote engineered hardwood but if you have a dog 80 pounds and over, there will be scratches. The homeowners chose a laminate that looks very nice and wears like nails. Laminate over luxury vinyl was a good choice for dogs this big because though it takes a lot to scratch luxury vinyl, it can scratch.

• Paint
We needed to paint for two reasons. The house looked white and the walls looked chalky. The homeowners wanted gray and of course the winner of all grays again was Popular Gray 6071. Popular Gray has a brown undertone so that it looks gray but it is warm. It is very popular because it is so versatile. Also, good paint with a satin finish is easy to clean, which is a necessity with three large fur babies.

• Molding
The homeowners decided that since side panels were out of the question, we would use lots of molding to finish the space. This villa has large windows on one side. We used large molding around the window to frame it out and finished the window with a large header. We installed a white wood cornice over the slider to visually coordinate with the windows for a finished look.

• Crown molding
The homeowners had seven inch crown molding installed around the main living room including the kitchen and dining room. The seven inch crown should be used on all ceilings nine feet and above. I prefer the medium density fiber board molding to real wood because the MDF has flexibility. The flexibility allows the crown molding installer to achieve a tight fit to all the walls even when the walls bow a bit.

• Kitchen island
The kitchen island was wrapped in a bead board wainscot and it looks amazing.
If bead board is out of the budget, plain boxes can be applied to the island to achieve a similar look. Once the wainscot is applied the entire treatment from the top to the bottom is painted white. This pop of white stands out against the oak cabinetry and updates the look of oak. When the woodwork is all painted white; it looks amazing, classic, and timeless. Tip: if you can’t get your oak cabinets changed, the addition of a classic treatment and the strong pop of white will make any space feel fresh and bright.

• Above the cabinets
The kitchen in this model is a large area that gets lots of visual attention. We decided to make the top of the cabinets look really good since we had to keep things high. We hung a picture titled, “Chairman of the Board” over the cabinets on the refrigerator wall. We placed two large lanterns above the pantry which filled the space nicely. In the corner we added a large basket full of lavender and on each side of the basket we placed large oyster shell spheres. A collection of
baskets, capiz shell platters, and glass adorn the wall above the stove.

• Mirrors
Lots of light is always on the priority list and we had two places in need of large mirrors. We hung one large arch mirror behind the dining table to make the space fell longer and catch light from the window. Also, we hung a large arch mirror above the sideboard to capture and reflect light from the opposing window.

• Art
Nice art was put into place to fill the walls and tie into an eclectic mixture of things but with a heavy leaning toward coastal.

• Improvements
All of the improvements were money well spent because these things add value to the home as well as make life a little easier.

P.S. –Attention all club presidents! We give free decorating seminars. It is lots of fun and very informative. Call and schedule your club today. Also, we are on-line check out our web-site at and you can always e-mail us at or Call Ruth your full service decorator at 352-804-2056.

Before and After Pics Below