Dan Bergeron with Miles, Major and Maggie. Photos by Jackie Haxthausen.

Pet Project: Local design professionals at home with their furry friends

For many, a house isn’t a home without furry friends who are part of the family. And the six Baton Rouge-based design professionals featured in this story are no exception. From a pair of dachshunds to a gentle Doberman to a trio of cats, their pets are as diverse as their design styles—and actually inspire them, whether purposefully or inadvertently.

Read on for a glimpse into these design professionals’ personal homes, showcasing how they live with and design for the beloved pets in their lives.

Dan Bergeron with Miles, Major and Maggie

When Dan Bergeron first met his partner Shawn Zeringue, he was also introduced to Zeringue’s five-year-old French bulldog, Maddox.

“Not having a French bulldog before, I totally got the draw,” Dan says. “And it was all downhill from there. We adopted Miles a year later, and they just keep coming.”

The dogs’ short noses make for nearly constant noise within the Bergeron-Zeringue household, but Dan doesn’t mind. And he even notes that their lazy ways encourage him to slow down in his daily life.

“My dogs are the balance I need in my life because I am always going,” he explains. “I enjoy that my dogs are lazy because it makes me take a minute to actually relax.”

But they do so on the floor—never (or almost never) on the couch. Because of this, Dan has covered the wood floors of his 1930s Garden District home with wool and seagrass rugs that are durable and easy to clean. “Although,” he notes, “they don’t destroy my upholstery more than friends with wine glasses.”

Beyond the built-for-paws rugs, Dan has assembled a home that is eclectic, bright and fun—much like the personalities of his Frenchies. The walls of his sitting room are covered in a patterned Cole & Son wallpaper. A vibrant gallery of paintings hangs on top featuring works from artists like Hunt Slonem, David Harouni, Harvey Sherman Harris, Peter Keil and David Zimmerman. The space—as well as the others throughout his home—is constantly evolving, and that’s the way Dan likes it.

“The rooms in my home don’t necessarily match each other,” he says. “I just buy pieces and choose colors that I personally love, and I have a natural skill for making them work together.”


Rachel Cannon with Jack and Tiger

Growing up with dogs, interior designer Rachel Cannon of Rachel Cannon Limited Interiors always thought of cats as strange and standoffish animals.

“I really hated cats before, but I had no idea they could be so dog-like,” she explains. “I’ve learned to pay closer attention to their cues since they don’t signal in the same way that dogs do, and I think that’s made me a better animal lover. Their little world provides me with so much entertainment, and there is nothing better than snuggling up on the sofa with all three at the end of the day.”

But not before lint rolling, because the pervasive cat hair makes it just part of the cleaning drill. By selecting fabrics that don’t require much precious care—no silks or embroideries—and wool rugs that can be easily cleaned with soap and water, Rachel manages to keep her vibrant but traditional home looking just as eye-catching as her trio of cats, Jack, Tiger and Gigi, who have inspired many of Rachel’s design choices.

“When I finished renovating my kitchen, which has pale blue cabinetry and lilac-colored grasscloth walls, a friend pointed out that it ‘matched’ Jack,” she says with a laugh. And more recently, in her dining room, she had the walls painted a soft purple, Farrow & Ball’s “Calluna No. 270,” which also plays into Jack’s breed of lilac bicolor ragdoll.

In the interior design world, Rachel has become known for her eye for color, as well as her attention to detail, which guides her to statement-making choices that are often rooted in sentimentality. But while design and aesthetics are crucial to Rachel, in her own space, she will always make compromises to cater to her pets.

“Every animal I’ve ever had—dog or cat—has been allowed to go wherever I go,” Rachel says. “I think it’s precious that they want to be close to us. It might mean more maintenance and cleaning for me, but what I’ve gotten in return has been worth every bit of it.”

Amanda Cason with Rome

The home that Amanda Cason of Amanda Cason Interiors shares with her husband Blake is eclectic and collected but it is anything but pretentious. And the same can be said for their goofy, fun-loving Doberman, Rome, who found his home with the Casons through a Facebook post back in 2018.

He is the first to greet guests at the door for any of the couple’s frequent parties and get-togethers, which their contemporary and bohemian-style house has been designed around. “I think entertaining goes hand in hand with having a dog,” Amanda says. “Company is allowed to put their wine glass on any surface, and we know Rome will make himself comfortable in any chair he pleases.”

But this doesn’t deter Amanda from collecting antiques or investing in pieces like a custom-built walnut dining table by Doorman Designs in New Orleans. Instead of compromising, she has learned to guide her choices with intentionality, focusing on their function and how each piece can and will serve the family’s lifestyle.

“[Having Rome] has only influenced how I select things because I don’t want anything to be hands-off or unavailable,” she says. “If it’s not useful or comfortable, it doesn’t make sense for us to have it.”

Playing into the sentiment are the dark grey stained concrete floors that run throughout the lower level of the home. Hammering home the Casons’ eclectic and cool vibe, the floors are ideal for managing all manners of dog messes, as well as those of party guests, and they are also, coincidentally, an almost perfect match to the color of Rome’s shiny coat.

“He’s very present in everything we do,” Amanda says. “It’s like having a second shadow walking around the house, but he definitely makes our lives more full.”

Shane Griffin with Clark

Like many families, Shane Griffin of Shane Griffin Designs and his wife Elizabeth got their cavapoo Clark for their two sons, Grant and Blake. “We had dogs when they were younger—and a couple not so great ones—but the boys kept asking for one,” Shane says.

But, as is true for many parents, the puppy purchased for the children has become the parents’ best friend, too.

“I never knew I could love an animal so much, truly,” Shane says, noting that Clark’s name came from Elizabeth’s and his baby name list and is inspired by Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. “The past seven years with Clark have been the best. He makes the mundane so much more adorable.”

Given that Shane was already designing for a home inhabited by two boys, not much had to change to accommodate a dog. However, he notes that some things had to be tweaked, like adding aesthetically pleasing food and water bowls and a nice basket for his toys—including Clark’s favorite, a stuffed animal named Aubie that Grant picked up for him during a college visit to Auburn University, which Grant now attends.

“I just look at things differently,” Shane explains. “Other than seeing him, I don’t want it to look like a dog lives here.”

Shane’s passion for these design-forward dog items has carried over into his store, March by Shane Griffin Designs, with the Bocage boutique having sold hand-painted porcelain food and water bowls in the past, and even other décor items for dog-lovers like canine figures and art. These pieces allow Shane’s colorful, laid-back design style to incorporate and celebrate Clark and other family dogs like him.

“I definitely think our personalities match,” Shane says of Clark. “I think our pets can somewhat conform to our personalities. It’s extremely easy—and even better—living with him.”

Anne Underwood with Rosie and Peanut

Anne Underwood of Underwood Interiors describes herself and her design style as quirky. “I think that dachshunds are quirky, too,” Anne says of her 4-year-old dachshunds, sisters Rosie and Peanut. “Their funky shape, with a long slim body, is what separates them from other animals.”

Just like her dogs, Anne is unapologetic about her quirky traits and design taste.

“I don’t adhere to a certain style,” she says. “I trust my gut in knowing that it will work, even though someone else would never think it would go together.”

While the spaces she shares with her husband, Clay, and kids, Avery and Philip, are packed with unique and eye-catching elements like chartreuse walls, Anne says that Rosie and Peanut bring just as much joy to her home as her lively designs. “I love that they’re small but have so much personality,” she explains. “And they’re short-haired, so there’s not as much shedding or need for a lot of grooming.”

The dynamic duo loves to lie on the backs of couch and chair cushions, even causing Anne to replace the cushions after becoming sunken in. But Anne says that she will never go for disposable design. “It’s why I incorporate antiques,” she says, explaining that she is most inspired by British design because they showcase heirlooms and work with what they have. “It takes the edge off worrying about a piece messing up because usually it will already have some character scratches or marks.”

This doesn’t just apply to Anne’s dogs, though. With two teenage children, Anne is acutely aware of the wear and tear that comes with a full house. But she says that’s what makes a home—and its design—beautiful: the marks left by loved ones.

“They’re like our extra children,” Anne says of Rosie and Peanut, noting that her daughter, who is going off to college this fall, jokes that she’ll return to her bedroom being the new dog room. “They enrich our lives so much. No matter what, they will always be there to greet you, snuggle and just bring joy to everyday life.”

Becky Walker with Spike

While Becky Walker of The Design Studio of Louisiana has had dogs throughout her life, she says that her sweet, 7-year-old pug, Spike, has made her more of an animal person than ever before.

Walker surprised her son, Jack, with Spike on Christmas in 2017, with Jack being the main reason animals have been included in their family over the years. “Jack is such an animal lover, but for some reason, Spike has made me much more sensitive to animals,” Becky says.

She and her husband Len selected their newly built Rouzan home because they wanted something more manageable after Jack went off to college and they became empty nesters. But while they are comfortable in the smaller space, Becky notes that she’s already thinking about future design elements that would help to better cater to Spike and his habits.

“What I wish I would have done is create a pet space—and I definitely will in our next home—just to have a comfortable space specifically for Spike,” Becky says, noting that the area would keep everything pet-related in one specific location, including food, treats, leashes and medications, allowing it to be slightly hidden away. “We’ve accommodated for him, with a little bed and play area inside and outside, but I feel like a designated pet area would be such a practical use of space.”

Her fresh, sophisticated style—along with her signature color, green—is present throughout the home. And with pops of earth tones and black, Spike fits perfectly into the color palette.

But whether the pet matches the interiors or not, Becky suggests focusing on functionality when designing for life with a pet. It’s their space, too, so keeping their needs in mind will make for a more enjoyable and livable space for everyone.