Laying low with Kristin Dion
Laying low is a celebration of dogs and the ones that welcome them in. From beachside bungalows to architectural masterpieces, we experience firsthand how the simple presence of a dog can make a house a home.
Kristin Dion Talks to LAY LO
Kristin Dion is a former lawyer, mom of two, and self-taught textile and interior designer. After practicing law for 7 years, she pursued her dream to launch her own design business from scratch.
We caught a rare glimpse of what life looks like with her four-legged Cavachon mix inside her and her family’s quaint beachside bungalow home in Venice.
At a glance
Breed: Cavachon Bichon mix
How would you describe your dog’s personality?
Penda is incredibly loyal and boundlessly enthusiastic about life.
As the adopted child of the family, there isn’t a day that goes by where she doesn’t give us unconditional love.
I’ll never forget the day I picked her up 12 years ago. I showed up with a diaper bag worth of supplies. Penda was my first child, and she knew it the moment she saw me.
From joining us on the ride to daycare every morning to jumping in the stroller when we’d go on walks around the block. Penda is the loving and protective big sister to our two kids.
Penda is such a unique name. How did you come up with it?
My husband and I volunteered in Africa for our 6-week honeymoon. While we were there, we picked up the native language of Swahili. After learning that Penda means “love,” we knew that was the perfect name for her.
What sort of energy does your dog bring to your home?
Penda is quite the character. For my design business, I work from home, so I constantly am documenting our ever-changing revisions. Over time, Penda has gotten more and more comfortable in front of the camera. Now she will literally strike a pose the minute I get my camera out.
When everyone is together, Penda tends to go from being her mama’s fur baby to the loving and protective big sister to our two kids.
From joining us on the ride to daycare every morning to jumping in the stroller when we’d go on walks around the block, she fits right in.
Describe your dog’s favorite spot to hang out and sleep at night.
We’re lucky that Penda doesn’t shed, so she pretty much has full reign in the house. Our bedroom seems to be her favorite chill zone these days, especially in the afternoon when it catches the best sunlight. In the mornings, I’ll curl up outside with my coffee to plan out my day, and Penda will be right at my feet.
Describe how you broke into the design world.
Funny enough, I used to be a lawyer at a large firm in LA. After having my son, I decided to take off for 8 months and quickly realized that my dream job would allow me to raise him at home.
My love for design stemmed from inspiring our two toddlers to get messy and create. What started as a splotch of paint on a page turned into much larger design projects in our home.
The first time I posted our house on Instagram, Emily Henderson reposted it, and I took it as a sign. With time, I’ve gained more confidence, and I’m so glad I stuck with it.
Describe your home and style.
This house is constantly evolving. I tend to gravitate toward neutral earthy tones for the main furniture pieces, with plants taking on that added pop of color. Our art and decor usually have some kind of meaning behind them.
The statement piece of art in our home is a graffiti wall painting I found at a pop-up gallery that benefitted intercity kids in Los Angeles. With our home located in Venice's heart (the heart of the Los Angeles graffiti scene), I surprised my husband with it as a Christmas gift.
On the other side of the house, you'll find these 3 wall baskets made by an awesome brand called Local and Lejos. Every basket has a note attached with the name of a woman in Rwanda who made that basket.
What factors do you consider when buying pet supplies?
Durability, washability and design are all super important to me. Until I learned about Laylo, it was hard to find a dog bed that I didn’t have to hide. As someone who entertains a lot, I definitely recommend Investing in a dog bed that matches your decor.
If dogs and owners supposedly "look the same," does this reflect in the home design as well?
Probably! Sometimes when we come home, we can't find her because she is perfectly camouflaged with our light couch.
What has been the hardest part of owning a dog when it comes to products and/or maintenance? Any tips?
Our home is lived in hard. We are not scared to have our kids jump on the sofa or have play dates in the house. We like to make a mess but we also know how to clean up.
Consider your upholstery: When I purchased our couch, I chose a really neutral pet and kid-friendly color. It was totally worth it.
Train your puppy at a young age: When you train a puppy, train them to be comfortable in one place. If you don't want them on the couch, find a bed that they love.
Bring baby wipes everywhere: If you have a dog or kids, baby wipes cure everything, literally.
Kristin and Penda’s “go-tos”
Maroon & Blue Bogolan
“Living in Venice, we’re outside a lot so I love how these colors perfectly complement the earthy tones of our succulents. It just belongs. ”