The site, which offers everything from stylish pet accessories to a glossy magazine for pet lovers, also has a successful new strand offering posh places to stay where pets are welcomed with open paws.
“We launched it in May last year and it took off,” says Elphick, 53, whose two Norfolk Terriers, Rufus and Heidi, play a key role in the operation. “You can stay at Cliveden House in Berkshire, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire and many other places.
“Rufus and Heidi are our pet inspectors. They turn up in little tweed coats and hats. Ring our pet concierge service to discuss.”
TAKE A TOUR OF DENISE ELPHICK'S HOME
My home - Denise Elphick
My home - Denise Elphick
1/6 Clever seating
Potted olive trees feature in the courtyard garden. Designed with seating all the way round, it replaced the house's rather plain lawn which Elphick stuck with until 2005, when she and her then husband divorced. Soon afterwards she met her new husband on a skiing trip and the grand home makeover commenced.
2/6 Courtyard garden
Elphick with her pet Norfolk Terriers Rufus and Heidi in the convivial, sunny courtyard garden. The "outside room" is as pet friendly as the interior of the house and, natural green notwithstanding, shares the same colourway and comfortable styling, with plenty of seating and lots of white, accented with pink and purple planting.
Garden design: Jane Fairclough at www.plantworkscollection.com
3/6 Fabrics and prints
Elphick has introduced sofas, chairs and beds that all have a distinct 18th-century feel. Mainly antiques bought locally, they have been upholstered in fresh linens, silks and velvets in strong pinks, limes, turquoises and taupes, many from Designers Guild, which keeps the look modern. Here, a painterly wallpaper picks up the pink of the headboard.
4/6 Get the look
White gloss paint on floorboards and throughout: www.dulux.co.uk
White walls: All White by www.farrow-ball.com
The home's overall feeling of prettiness is evident in this bedroom, where feminine pink and the sky blue of the cover and cushion contrast with - and complement - the white walls and floor.
5/6 Get the look
Architect: Nick Farnell at NFA Architects (www.nfaltd.co.uk)
Fabrics: Designers Guild at www.designersguild.com
Velvet spotted cushions: from The Cross (www.thecrossshop.co.uk)
Sofa cushions: from local emporium Holly’s House (www.hollys-house.com)
The Swedish-style palette sees the white backdrop broken up with contemporary pops of colour, as in the sofa cushions.
6/6 Denise Elphick's major makeover: take a tour
Denise Elphick's major makeover of her home in Parsons Green included a light, bright, modern kitchen-diner with a breakfast bar and an open feel that runs throughout the house. An extension to the room saw a big skylight installed above the spot for the dining table, letting natural light flood in.
WHAT IT COST:
House in 1989: £310,000
Value now: £1.85 million
Images by David Butler
Before PetsPyjamas, Elphick and Hanton were founding partners in TopTable website, which let restaurant owners advertise and book customers directly. The business was sold in 2010 to a company in the United States for a reported £36 million. “Start at the top, that’s my motto,” she says. “Get the best in, and the rest will follow.”
Elphick has lived in Parsons Green since 1989. This part of south-west London, with its cafés, boutiques, green spaces and the river nearby, is perfect for pet lovers and families.
Elphick bought the terrace house with her first husband, an accountant, who she married when she was 23.
The couple had previously moved to Hong Kong where, though trained as a secretary, Elphick started dealing in furniture.
When they returned to London, she raised daughter Camilla and wrote for the Evening Standard on interiors and design.
She was still writing for the Standard in 2000 when she met Hanton in a café around the corner from her home.
Hanton had just had the idea of TopTable, so Elphick joined up with her to offer creative input.
Given that Elphick is crazy about dogs, you might think it odd to have an almost all-white house, but she pooh-poohs this idea at once.
The white-gloss painted floorboards, now attractively mellowed, which go everywhere including up the uncarpeted stairs, were done five years ago with ordinary gloss and just get a wash every week and a wipe if necessary.
She vacuums the upholstery with a pet-dedicated cleaner. “Have rugs rather than fitted carpets and clean or replace when needed,” she says. “Though you can’t prepare for everything — a Labradoodle once peed on the coffee table and its owner was mortified.”
But when Elphick and her then husband moved in, the house wasn’t white at all. “It was pure Colefax and Fowler, very dark,” she says. “But it was also well done, so I left it.”
The house, a classic three-storey, quite shallow Victorian terrace, had a narrow little kitchen and a rather plain lawn.
Elphick stuck with it until 2005, when she and her husband divorced. Soon afterwards, she met her new husband, Rory Foster, a Guardian journalist, on what turned out to be a romantic skiing trip. Perhaps the dazzling white snow inspired her, but it was time for a major home makeover.
In one fell swoop, out went the dark colours. On went an extension with a big skylight over where the dining table would be, making an incredibly sunny kitchen-diner. Elphick’s friend, designer Lena Proudlock, whose son Oliver owns the design-led Serge DeNimes fashion and accessories brand and stars in Made in Chelsea, suggested the idea of a light, classical Swedish palette.
Elphick started out with pale grey, but soon went for pure white, both for walls and floors.
Proudlock also suggested mirroring all the panels of the doors and cupboards, and the walls of the little enclosed hall. This last idea is terrific, turning an ordinary small entrance into a glittering, mini Versailles Hall of Mirrors.
Proudlock’s other suggestion, apart from putting big antique mirrors everywhere possible — there are 17 in the house — was to hang glass chandeliers. Taken together, the effect is one of brightness and prettiness. The mirrors are surprisingly easy to live with and definitely create a sense of extra space.
Against this backdrop Elphick, who says she loves cheerfulness and light, has introduced sofas, chairs and beds that all have a distinct 18th-century feel.
While they are mainly antiques, bought locally over the years, they’re all upholstered in fresh, contemporary linens, silks and velvets in strong pinks, limes, turquoises and taupes, many from Designers Guild, which keeps the look modern.
It is a good palette, repeated in the convivial and sunny courtyard garden, designed with seating all the way round, potted olive trees, and jaunty colour pops from lavender and geranium.
Elphick’s home is certainly pet friendly, but it’s not pet dominated.
PetsPyjamas is at petspyjamas.com