Catio? A Mushroom House? How Emily Bloom Transformed Her Home Into a Refuge for Her 7 Pets
In the middle of Fargo, N.D., Emily Bloom and her husband have created an animal oasis unlike just about anything you've ever seen.
"Creating these spaces, I tried to think of the cat personalities," Bloom says. "We wanted them to look nice. We wanted them to be cozy, and it was just really important to make them look like their own little houses [while] also kind of matching our house."
Bloom and her husband share their space with four cats (Buggy, Cinnamon, Big Boy, and Meatloaf), two bunnies (Mr. MarshMellow and Gibby), and Charles the chinchilla, all of whom live indoors. With that many playful pals in one space, it was important for Bloom to give her animals a space that makes them comfortable, feels outdoorsy, and still vibes with their human aesthetic. Front and center in that design plan is the catio.
"We knew that we had to get real plants and also fake plants to bring that nature to the cats," she says. "They always try and run outside when we open the door. They are not outdoor cats, though, so we kind of brought that in the house."
The wall-to-wall mix of real and fake foliage (and fake bugs) gives Bloom's cats a variety of textures and scents to explore. It's also adorned with wooden and wicker furniture and plenty of soft, tactile blankets and pillows perfect for cat naps. When there's energy to expend in the afternoon, the cats can play with a machine that fills the room with catnip bubbles. A starlit "sky" appears at night.
In addition to having large, communal areas for the animals, Bloom also wanted to give them some more dedicated spaces as well. That's where the vintage TV comes in.
"I needed a project to work on," she says. "I love projects and I love my animals ...
"I put so much time and thought into creating this little cat house TV because I just needed to make something beautiful for the animals and have them enjoy it."
She started with a 1950s vintage TV she found for $20 at a flea market. From there, she added marble flooring, wallpaper, tiny wall art, cat-sized furniture, and accouterments like a book shelf with itty bitty cat books. Bloom also keeps things fresh by constantly updating the TV's furniture and adding seasonal elements for holidays.
Lest the bunnies feel left out of the action, Bloom also built a custom home for them: a tiny mushroom house.
"I wanted it to be unique and kind of fit in with the nature theme that we have of the house," she says.
To create the bunnies' slice of nature, she started with a corner cabinet, removing the door and hardware. She shaped the "stem" with cardboard and textured it with plaster. She then topped her stem with a mushroom head of cardboard and fabric.
Inside, the mushroom is appointed in a very similar fashion to the TV house: wallpaper, bunny-sized furniture, plant life, and lots of little touches that make it feel cozy. The wallpaper and carpet are shades of green, keeping the interior feeling outdoorsy and bright.
Bloom hopes her work will encourage anyone thinking about giving their homes a pet-centric makeover. It's a bunch of trial and error and plenty of DIY sweat and elbow grease, but you and your animals will treasure the results.
For her own home, Bloom says she isn't done yet. Next up: a home for Charles the chinchilla.