Giada De Laurentiis runs a “pets-on-the-couch” kind of household.
She knows it’s impossible to control where her four-legged family members roam all the time, especially since Bella, De Laurentiis’ ragdoll cat, follows her everywhere she goes. But even if she could keep her three pets off the furniture, the Food Network star, 52, wouldn’t want to.
“I’ve had many people come over and be like, ‘Are your dogs allowed to sleep on the couch?’ “That kind of time for us is bonding time… I just like it,” De Laurentiis tells PEOPLE.
Besides enjoying the couch, Bella and her canine brothers — Bruno the Jack Russell terrier and rescue dog Ollie — also spend time outdoors, which means the pets can track in fur and dirt.
“I try to stay on top of the brushing, but I’ll be honest, it’s a full-time job, and I have other full-time jobs,” the Italian-born chef says of her long-haired cat’s shedding tendencies. adding that her dogs “go to the beach a lot and on hikes, so all of them get slightly dirty from time to time.”
For someone who built their career around entertaining and hosts a show called Giada at Homemaintaining a tidy household is a must for De Laurentiis — even with three furry family members.
Not wanting to sacrifice her aesthetic preferences — “I like white, believe it or not,” she says — or crucial quality couch time with her pets, De Laurentiis sought out chic pet-friendly options when designing her LA home about a year ago.
“Finding fabrics that I could clean was sort of the number one job that I had. And that’s why, pretty much, I teamed up with Sunbrella,” De Laurentiis says of the stylish solution she found.
The textile manufacturer, which launched over 60 years ago, specializes in durable yet comfortable fabrics. Sunbrella helped De Laurentiis create her dream home with easy-to-clean indoor and outdoor spaces that are inviting to all guests, whether they are people or pets.
Plenty of De Laurentiis’ cushions and couches wear her favorite Sunbrella fabric, “Piazza Cloud,” and the brand’s woven, water-repellent upholstery can be found in the chef’s mudroom that hosts Bella and her many cat-friendly toys and pool house, where her daughter, Jade, 14, spends time with friends.
Since her home is so welcoming to the four-legged kind, De Laurentiis is rarely seen without her pets. And she has a dedicated Instagram to prove it.
“My assistant at the time was like, ‘This is ridiculous. You have so many pets. I think people would think it’s fun to see what your pets do all day,'” the Food Network personality says, recounting the creation of @GiadasZoo in 2016.
The Instagram page is filled with photos of De Laurentiis’ animal brood, many of which are captured by her boyfriend, Shane Farley. The pictures tell the everyday stories of “Giada’s Furry Fam.”
De Laurentiis has come to appreciate her pets’ “calming presence” while in their company. “It’s sort of a reminder to me that we live very fast-paced lives, and sometimes the animals just kind of make you chill,” she says.
The culinary celebrity notes that caring for her pets is reminiscent of raising young children, with “a little less work” but similarly joyful.
“When you have little kids, they’re always excited to see you. It makes your day, just brightens your day. And I feel like the animals are the same,” she says. “They have this sort of wonderful… love for you that is never wavering. It’s unconditional.”