Lifestyles of Rich and Famous Pets

From a Wall Street Journal story by Candace Taylor headlined “Doggie Mansions and Tiffany Bowls: Lifestyles of Rich and Famous Pets”:

Robbie Timmers went all-out adding a contemporary-style house on his property in Thailand. White with chic black trim, the two-story, air-conditioned abode has security cameras, smart lighting and a sliding door to the porch.

Mr. Timmers would have added a swimming pool, too, but his wife objected. Her reasoning? It seemed unnecessary for the home’s intended occupants: the couple’s five dogs.

The roughly 10-foot-high canine mansion was designed and installed as a relaxing space for the couple’s pups, and sits in the backyard of—and matches—the Timmerses’ own home. “I wanted to have something that looks cool,” says Mr. Timmers. “I love it so much.”

Pets these days are living more luxurious lives than ever as humans increasingly pour money into making their properties fetching for nonhuman family members.

The rub: Sometimes the pets don’t dig it.

“I have to be honest, my dogs never set foot in the house,” says Mr. Timmers, who spent about $10,000 on it. “They just didn’t like it.” Nowadays, the mini-house mostly sits empty.

“It has everything,” he adds. “Just no dogs.”

Moreover, all these swanky, special-made pet amenities inevitably have a shorter shelf life than those for humans.

“If we’re going to customize our homes to our pet, we have to realize that there will come a time when it might not be relevant, or we want to change it out,” says HGTV personality Jasmine Roth, known for creating “pet nooks” for clients.

Ms. Roth experienced this recently with the death of Tiger, her Chihuahua. She had built little Tiger a nook under the stairs, complete with plaid wallpaper and vintage mirrors.

“I wish I had recorded the call when my wallpaper installer arrived,” Ms. Roth recalls. At first, he couldn’t find the space he’d been hired to wallpaper. “I was like, ‘Look down.”

The door was so tiny, the installer could barely fit inside, though he eventually squeezed in. Now, with Tiger gone, the only occupant of the pet nook is Ms. Roth’s toddler daughter, who uses it as a fairy cave.

Social media has helped popularize deluxe pet items, says Sara Pijuan of Los Angeles-based Pijuan Design Workshop, which makes Midcentury Modern dog houses costing from $3,750 to $5,000. The company also creates custom dog houses for clients; one, for a family in London, was designed to look like a Japanese teahouse.

Paris Hilton’s pooches have enjoyed an air-conditioned two-story, Spanish-style villa, known as “Doggie Mansion” and sporting a chandelier and a balcony with wrought-iron railing, according to her Instagram feed. (She says that was at her old home, and she no longer lives there.)

Doug the Pug is a lovable pooch whose penchant for wearing elaborate costumes has earned him over 1 billion viewers across social-media platforms.

At the Nashville, Tenn., home Doug shares with his owners, Leslie Mosier and Rob Chianelli, the pug has his own 15-foot closet for his outfits, including tiny cowboy hats, cashmere sweaters, a rainbow of sunglasses, custom harnesses from London and a Boda Skins leather jacket.

“For the longest time, we had giant bins,” recalls Ms. Mosier. “If we needed to find an outfit, it was horrible.”

She tapped the organizing company The Home Edit to make Doug a supersize closet, and now Doug’s clothes are organized by categories such as “athleisure” and “bath time.”

“It’s way bigger than my closet,” notes Ms. Mosier, Doug’s full-time career manager. “You walk downstairs and you’re like ‘whoa’.”

Among other perks, Doug also only drinks purified water at home, she says, and routinely sees a canine herbalist and acupuncturist.

Nala Cat, who holds the Guinness World Record for the cat with the most Instagram followers, is a rescue who lives with owners, Varisiri Methachittiphan and Shannon Ellis, along with five other cats and a dog.

The couple’s house in California sports more than 10 cat trees and a “cat wall” mounted with feline lounging perches. Yet Nala yawns at the accouterments provided by her staff. She prefers to sleep in a cardboard box.

The country’s most pampered pets surely include those belonging to Lisa Vanderpump, the restaurateur and former star of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” At their estate, Ms. Vanderpump and her husband, Ken Todd, have a menagerie including six dogs, four swans and two miniature horses.

One of their Pomeranians, Puffy, is always nattily dressed, with Ralph Lauren cashmere turtlenecks and fluffy feather Maxbone dog sweaters, Ms. Vanderpump says. Puffy wears pajamas at night.

Ms. Vanderpump, who is also co-founder of the Vanderpump Dog Foundation, says it is important to her that amenities for her dogs fit in aesthetically with the décor of her home. Hence her dog beds in a dusky-pink hue, from the brand Hooman, which retail for $375 each. The beds come with velvet headboards, mattresses, tiny pillows and 400-thread-count fitted sheets. “It looks really cute,” she says. Plus, “I don’t want them sitting in a dirty bed, so to change the sheets is just great.”

Pet stairs from Le Pet Luxe—retail price $338—help her dogs climb in and out of her bed. Her pups eat human food, she says, usually poached salmon or organic chicken, out of turquoise-blue bowls from Tiffany & Co.

That is just inside. Several years ago, the couple adopted miniature horses named Diamonds and Rosé and set them up in the backyard in a pink house with gray trim built by luxury real-estate developer Mohamed Hadid, a friend of the couple’s.

When Rosé died, a heartbroken Ms. Vanderpump got another miniature horse, Velvety, to keep Diamonds company, but “there was an adjustment period at the beginning where they fought for control.” After kicks were exchanged, the couple doubled the size of the horse house to give the roomies some space.

On Washington’s Vashon Island, Linda Hatfield decided to build a “catio,” or outdoor cat enclosure, after her cat Watson dragged in one too many rats.

She enlisted Cynthia Chomos of Seattle-based Catio Spaces to build a 14-foot, L-shaped structure off the kitchen, with the same cedar trim and striped awnings as the rest of the house. “Otherwise it just wouldn’t fit,” says Ms. Hatfield, who spent about $20,000 on the structure.

While Ms. Hatfield’s four cats enjoy the catio, all hasn’t gone exactly to plan. When she adopted Boris, a nearly 20-pound Maine Coon, he was too tall. “He was banging his head on the roof,” she says. So she asked Ms. Chomos to elevate the roof. And Fergus, her Scottish Fold, learned how to open doors, a trick he taught Boris.

Ms. Hatfield’s solution didn’t require a big budget—just a bungee cord to secure the door.

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