Interior design with the enemy in mind

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catherinemonroe110BY CATHERINE MONROE

When it comes to Interior Design, it can often seem that there are many sticky fingered, drooling and shedding monsters that crawl and run around our homes and ruin or break all our things.  These “monsters” are the loves of our lives, which complicates the issue even further because we can’t live without them.  But, can’t we live with them…. just not on the wool settee ???

The answer is no.  Our kids and our pets are part of our lives and we must coexist in our home and not let them overrun our existence.  So, as a designer and a mother,  I offer you some advice regarding design that is practical and beautiful and will not have you constantly wiping tears away as you sweep broken glass into a dust pan.

Outdoor fabric can be used on indoor furniture and it cleans right off!

Outdoor fabric can be used on indoor furniture and it cleans right off!

Always look at outdoor fabrics for indoor use.  There is a new line of outdoor fabric out that looks like heavy linen, but you can pour salad dressing on it and it will bead right off of it!  There is also a line of fabric called has a “waxed linen” that comes in the most extraordinary colors and you can clean it with Windex.  These fabrics, along with hundreds of others are fabulous and indestructible and should always be considered.

Style your book shelves.  Take a full afternoon.  Put on a great album and re-do your book shelves.  Put all the beautiful vases and frames that you have stored away for fear that they might get broken, on the shelves, amongst the books…..out of reach.  Don’t be afraid!

Lastly, recognize that some things that your kids play with are pretty cool looking!  I have a Volkswagen beetle made of Legos on my kitchen counter.  There is a wood game called “Labryth” that I used to play with as a kid that has a heavy chrome ball and you have to navigate the ball through a maze.  This toy is so well designed that I put in on a client’s family room coffee table.  Old board games can look great hanging on the wall (Clue, Parchese, Monopoly), and the kids can just lift them off the hooks when it’s time to play.

We all know we are supposed to “love thy enemy.” I say we should decorate with them in mind.

Catherine Monroe is an interior designer who has worked for several high end residential design firms including Ralph Lauren, Robert A.M. Stern and Michael Smith. She was born and raised in New York and received her degree from Parsons School of Design. Previously, a Studio City resident, she is currently living in Brentwood, CA, where she runs her own company.  For product information included in her articles and interior design consultation, contact her directly at

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.