What happens when two design stars come together for a project?
Two stylish Pomeranian furkids, of course. There is Allegra, five years old (named after Allegra Versace) and Tyler, four years old (named after a ‘90s male model), the two cute furkids of fashion designer Rajo Laurel and interior designer Nix Alañon.
What is Rajo Laurel busy with these days ?
“I am very happy that my plate is full,” he begins. “I just finished my 2017 summer collection. I also recently opened my second Rajo store at Shangri-La Plaza. There are three weddings I am preparing for — Divine Lee, Malou Gamboa and Pam Quinones — for which I will do the wedding ensemble.”
Nix Alañon, who creates beautiful interiors for homes, offices and hotels, recently opened his PhoeNix Home store along Kalayaan Avenue in Makati. “While I am working on my store there are also other projects that I am currently busy with,” shares Nix. “I am redoing a lobby for Discovery Suites Ortigas, designing the Belo clinics and doing the interiors of Mesa, Cravings Group of Restaurants, CCA and SM, among others.”
But for Rajo and Nix, their pets are on ongoing project — something that they lovingly work on together and enjoy doing every day.
Rajo and Nix grew up with dogs, each one of them having a Chihuahua at one point in their younger years. Rajo says that it was Nix who was more insistent about having a dog in their home.
“We both knew at some point that we were getting a dog and we were just waiting for the right moment to do it,” shares Rajo. “I told Nix that when we reach our sixth year together, we could get a dog.”
Their choice of Allegra was a result of a serendipitous event. During a trip to Palawan, they met another traveling couple whom they spent much of their time with at a newly opened resort.
“They told us their dog had just given birth a week ago. We both looked at each other and said we would get her once we got back to Manila, And the rest, as they say, is history. That was five years ago.”
A year after the couple got Allegra, they adopted Tyler, a male Pomeranian, from Rajo’s 10-year-old niece, who found the responsibility of caring for a dog too much.
“Allegra is the alpha dog in our home,” notes Nix. “She is sweet, spoiled and feisty.”
“Tyler is more chill,” adds Rajo. “He normally lets Allegra have her way.”
So close-knit is this family that Allegra and Tyler share a bed with their humans.
“In the morning, I normally find both of them sleeping on top of our heads,” shares Rajo. “They wait for us to wake up. It’s always the beginning of a happy day waking up to these two furkids.”
As they begin the day, so do they end it — with their furkids. There is no better stress reliever than being greeted by Allegra and Tyler when Rajo and Nix get home. Rajo says that, no matter how stressful the day might have been, seeing his two furkids puts him at ease.
“We like to snuggle with Allegra and Tyler,” says Rajo. “I am greeted by both of them at the door when I get in.”
When Rajo and Nix have time, they bring Allegra to Tyler for a walk at Rockwell.
Do you dress them up? I ask.
“Sometimes I do, but just for fun,” shares Rajo. “I know that it is not natural for them to wear clothes — so I make sure that they are wearing something comfy and cool.”
Dressing up Allegra and Tyler is not something that Rajo does every day, but he does make sure that the two are dressed when there are dinner visitors in their home.
“Since they are the first to run to the door when a visitor comes, it is nice to see them dressed up to greet our guests,” adds Rajo.
Nix adds that there are quite a few things he has learned about the best interiors for a home from living with two dogs.
“Make sure you train your dog to be housebroken,” Nix starts. “When we got Tyler, he was already over a year old and not toilet trained so it was a problem. Now I know that for a house to be dog-friendly it must have a door (that the dogs can push open), which leads to a garden, where a housebroken dog can do his business. It is important that there are no metal or brass decorative items, tables, chairs that the dogs can get to. Male dogs tend to pee on these, and their pee can be very acidic — causing the furniture to corrode. And — very important — no carpets or rugs in the home.”
Nix adds that if a dog is toilet-trained early on, there is less likely to be any damage to furniture in the home.
Both Allegra and Tyler are drifting off to sleep as we wind up our pictorial and interview. Before I make my exit, I ask Rajo if he plans to come out with his own pet line.
“Next year I celebrate my 25th anniversary as a fashion designer,” he says. “There are a lot of things I am planning for that special occasion. And maybe a pet line will be included. Why not?”