Dogs in the Design

Dogs in the Design

This article appears in the August 31, 2008 edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer – Home & Style section

By Jenny Callison

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This family’s house has gone to the dogs.

Chuck and Laurie Storey’s three Cavalier King Charles spaniels are more than beloved pets – they’re the decorative theme of the family’s Anderson Township home.

Over the years, Laurie collected seat cushions, throw pillows, fabric and figurines featuring the breed.  The family had a portrait painted of an earlier pair of Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

So it was not a stretch when, contemplating a kitchen remodel in 2007, the couple decided to cater a bit to their canines, Sassy, Casey and Snitch.  They contacted Sycamore Township-based Neal’s Design-Remodel, and worked with Steve Hendy on the project.

Starting in a totally gutted space, Neal’s refinished the hardwood flooring and framed the kitchen’s work area with new cabinets and counter space.  A two-level island provides casual dining space for the couple and their sons, Brandon, 11, and Scott, 9.

The kitchen’s faux Venetian plaster beige-gold walls set off the dark wood cabinets, beige tile backsplash and tawny granite countertops.

Against an interior wall is a large kitchen desk with cabinets above.  A dog bed fits neatly into the kneehole of the desk, backed by two painted wood cutouts of Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

“The built-in dog bed gives the dogs space without their being underfoot in the human use of the kitchen,” says Neal Hendy, owner of Neal’s Design-Remodel.

“The sink selected was deep enough for Laurie to bathe the dogs, with convenient concealed storage for supplies,” he says.

The stools at the island bar have spaniels painted on them.  Similar images crop up on a cookie jar, a vase, a photo.

The kitchen earned the Storey family a spot on the “Cool Kitchens” segment of “The Rachel Ray Show” last February.  Hearing that the food maven was looking for unusual kitchens, the family grabbed their video camera and shot some footage they submitted to show producers.

Although the house was in perfect condition when the Storeys bought it in 1995, it needed freshening after 12 years of wear and tear, Laurie says.

She attributes a major part of the changes to faux-finish expert Jerry Chambers.

In addition to the kitchen walls, Chambers worked his magic in the foyer and living and dining rooms.

In the foyer he applied slightly wrinkled tissue paper to the walls and painted the surface a pale apricot.

Dining room walls got a two-tier treatment.  The upper wall expanse is a champagne color with a textured look achieved by layering several finishes.  Below the chair rail, champagne-colored medallions are surrounded by a soft green.

In the living room, Chambers painted over wallpaper.  Above the chair rail the wall is swirled with a golden apricot color; below, the color is a shimmering light plum.

In all three rooms, images of Cavalier King Charles spaniels are used to great effect.  Two upper-level windows in the foyer are inset with stained glass portraits of the Storey’s first pair of the breed.  Valances draped over the windows feature the spaniels, as do throw pillows.

Although he enjoys the pervasive Cavalier King Charles theme, chuck wanted one room where he could indulge his other passions: trains and running.  The basement-level family room holds two G-Scale model railroad landscapes, along with mementos of marathons he has run.

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