Laying low with Monica Wang
Laying low is a celebration of dogs and the ones that welcome them in. From beachside bungalows to architectural masterpieces, we see firsthand how the presence of a dog can make a house a home.
LAYLO Talks to Monica Wang
Monica Wang is never short of inspiration when it comes to home and design. As one of LA’s top architectural photographers, she surrounds herself with the latest trends and styling tricks that have everyone talking.
Little do people know, behind the scenes, Monica is also up for “best dog mom of the year.” A title we made up after spending an hour watching her care for her 11-year-old poodle Gracie inside their charming home.
At a glance
Name of dog: Gracie
Age of dog: 10 years young
How would you describe Gracie's personality?
Gracie loves being the center of attention as she’s the only child. We just let her be. Funny enough, there are actually many traits in her (good and bad) that we both share. On the good side, she is very protective, loyal, and clever.
She definitely knows what she wants and won’t budge until she gets it. On the flip side, she can get quite moody and internalizes her stress. She goes crazy if she doesn’t get enough playtime or misses her dad.
Tell us about the first time you brought Gracie home?
We got Gracie when she was 12 weeks old. I found her online and immediately fell in love with her. We decided to bring her home, and she has changed our lives for the better ever since.
She lost her eyesight two years ago, and at the time, she was definitely sad. To get through it, we had to adjust our lives. The first thing we did was teach ourselves how to interact and communicate with her better. After learning new verbal commands, she quickly realized that we helped her from hitting hard objects and when the stairs were going up or down.
She lost her eyesight gradually over 6 months, and now she completely adjusted to her blindness. We’ve learned about having an older dog always keep a daily routine so they know what to expect. Gracie’s got her routine memorized, and we try our best to stick to it.
What sort of energy does your dog bring to your home?
Gracie makes our house feel complete. She brings a sense of playfulness to every minute of our lives. At the end of the day, no matter how bad our days are, she always finds her way into our arms and reminds us of what is truly important.
Describe your dog’s favorite spot to hang out and sleep at night.
Gracie always tends to find the coziest spots in the house. Her favorite area is by far under the dining room table. It’s like her little cave where she can monitor every direction and also feel completely safe.
At night, we are guilty of letting Gracie sleep in bed with us. She is usually nestled right in between my husband and me. In the morning, she won’t hop up to go on a walk right away. If she could press snooze a million times, she probably would. We usually give her about 30 minutes to an hour to wake up, and then we begin her routine for the day.
Describe your style.
I try to design my home to be timeless over “trendy.” Being an interiors photographer, I get many tips and ideas from the houses that I photograph. Whether it’s to style a mix of highs and lows, how to pair neutrals and add in meaningful art, I’m always learning. I also never want my house to feel too structured because I value comfort more than perfectionism.
Despite accumulating many unique pieces from shoots, I’m trying to slowly replace everything to have a meaning behind it. Art is one of my favorite ways to do this. This photo is actually one that I took with my friends in Lake Michigan. I love it because it reminds me of what summer should always feel like, carefree, fun, and spending time with loved ones.
Describe your home.
I love the older architectural details of this home. It's harder to find an apartment with crown molding, dome ceilings, and french doors with modern amenities. We get lots of natural light in every room, and the size is perfect for us right now.
If dogs and owners supposedly “look the same” does this reflect in the design of the home as well?
It’s funny you ask that because, ironically, Gracie matches everything in our house. As you can see, our apartment is full of neutrals, but it was never my intention to get a dog that matches my home. It naturally happened.
What factors do you consider when buying pet supplies?
We buy most of our pet supplies from Urban Pet and Healthy Spot. I need to provide Gracie with food and toys that are naturally derived and from trustworthy brands.
Even though she is blind, she still loves to play fetch. We try to buy her toys that squeak or make noise when they roll so she can easily hear and find them.
Since beds are more visible, we look for a combo of practicality, comfort, and style that fits our home. I love how the Laylo beds give you the flexibility to change things up depending on your style changes. With a home that is always in progress, that’s a huge benefit.
What has been the hardest part of owning a dog when it comes to products and/or maintenance? Any tips?
Wiping her paws are essential: We’ve become obsessed with keeping Gracie’s paws clean, especially after being out and about. We use washable hand towels to keep her paws clean.
Groom regularly: We try our best to take her to the groomer every 3 months to control dander and matted hair. While this helps keep the house clean, more importantly, it keeps her happy and healthy longer.
Choose fabrics wisely: Our sofa is made out of a Crypton outdoor fabric, making it very easy to wipe down. I try to buy washable things, making for a non-fussy lived-in house.
Let the plants slide: This is a bit more of a life hack than anything else. But all of our plants have felt pads under them so we can quickly move them around throughout the day or get watered.
Gracie & Monica’s go to beds:
Gray & White Line
“Since my home is neutral, I love how these colors blend in while letting me mix things up.”