The Wrightsman Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art are full of the gilded furniture and ornate chandeliers that typify the decorative arts of 17th- and 18th-century France. Wandering the rooms as a child, the designer Adam Charlap Hyman, 34, noticed one piece in particular: a blue velvet-upholstered doghouse — or niche de chien — that belonged to Marie Antoinette. Its arched doorway was gold rimmed, its interior lined with striped silk. “I always loved that dog folly and thought it would be fun to make a little world for a dog that could also go into one of our interiors,” Charlap Hyman says, referring to the rooms he creates with the architect Andre Herrero, 34. The pair recently produced a scalloped wicker dog bed frame with spherical steel feet, as well as a pair of ruched lilac and pink imitation-taffeta slipcovers to beautify a classic metal-barred crate. They initially created the ruched designs as a wedding present for a Los Angeles couple whose bedroom they’d decorated with leopard-print carpet and wallpaper patterned with hanging vines. “It was definitely a more-is-more situation, so those dog beds felt at home,” Charlap Hyman says. Now, the firm is selling a made-to-measure version for others looking to add whimsy to an object that’s typically an eyesore.
“It’s something that you have out in your house all the time,” says the designer Ellen Van Dusen, 37, who first added a pet bed to her collection in 2016 after researching furniture for her Boston terrier, Snips, and realising that attractive options were limited. She ultimately applied her signature bright patterns to a flat cushion design because of its versatility. “We see a lot of people use these as floor pillows for kids, and I’ve seen one used as a cushion on a wide chair,” she says.
Both Van Dusen and Charlap Hyman have noticed increased interest in animal-centric décor. Charlap Hyman is currently designing a “cat environment” for a client, while Van Dusen is working on a collaboration with a pet company. They’re not the only makers considering the visual potential of a pet bed. Below, a few of T’s favourites.