HOW TO: Choose a Sofa for an Instagram-Famous Dog

“Ella Bean looked like an ugly gremlin when I first saw her,” says Hilary Sloan—a surprising start for a dog who has since become famous for her cute (and chic) looks. Ella Bean’s life began as a rescue from a puppy mill, but thanks to Sloan’s love and a bespoke wardrobe of tiny designer clothes, she’s become an Instagram phenomenon with 110k followers. We chatted with Sloan to learn more about how she’s created her dog- and fashionista-friendly home.

How did Ella Bean become Instagram-famous?

The idea to create an Instagram account for Ella Bean happened during a business trip. I work in the fashion and e-commerce space, [and] I thought it would be funny to create an account for my dog that was in the vein of a fashion and lifestyle blogger. We really got our start when our Insta-famous puppy pal Toast posted a photo of Ella telling her rescue story. We got thousands of followers and that really kicked things off. Toast recently passed away, so we’re honored to continue to educate the world about rescuing dogs in her memory.

Ella Bean wears a sailor-stripe breton while vacationing in Nantucket. (instagram.com/ellabeanthedog)

Tell us about your home in Williamsburg.

We live in a modern condo; it’s very much a white box. While it doesn’t have much unique New York charm or personality, it allowed us to create a space from scratch that feels very much like us!

What are your favorite tips and tricks for creating a dog-friendly home?

I grew up with dogs and Ella Bean was my second pup as an adult. My first was our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Louis. We always think about the dogs when we bring objects into our home—can they knock them over? Will the fabric hold up to Ella’s digging? (She’s part Yorkie and loves to dig on surfaces!) Louis, on the other hand, he’s a puker, if he is too excited, upset, happy or sad, he pukes. We need fabrics and rugs that can easily handle and clean up. We have a natural wool rug which seems to hold up pretty well to accidents and we use a lot of hides because they are so easy to clean. My advice is that you can absolutely have a gorgeous home while being pet friendly, just take the pets into consideration when making fabric choices and don’t have a lot of breakable objects.

Choosing furniture for a fashionable and dog-friendly home can be tricky. What drew you to your Asher sectional from Interior Define?

The Asher sectional is perfect for city living. It’s a wide chaise you can really relax on and lay out cuddling with your pups, but the chaise is short enough to fit in smaller spaces. We liked that and the clean lines and easy to care for fabric. We had literally been sofa shopping for over a year when we discovered Interior Define. My husband was on a business trip to Chicago and made the time to pop by the showroom. We FaceTimed and he reported on comfort. [Editor’s note: Interior Define now has a Guideshop location in NYC!]

Asher isn’t an especially tall sofa, but with such a petite frame, we’re guessing Ella Bean can’t jump up by herself. How does she get sofa time?

Believe it or not, Ella can launch herself up onto the couch, she’s an incredible jumper! Our newest rescue, Coconut can’t get up herself, so we have to pick her up.

What are Ella Bean’s favorite spots in the house?

Ella is the inspiration for having faux fur and cashmere blankets everywhere—she will literally ONLY sleep on those two fabrics. You’ll find her on the faux fur blanket on our bed or couch and if she can grab it, she’ll curl up in a cashmere throw.

True to form, faux fur and cashmere are never far away from Ella Bean on the sofa. (intstagram.com/ellabeanthedog)

How can someone be sure they’re getting a pet that was humanely raised?

Make adoption your first choice! Ella Bean was a puppy mill rescue, that means she came from a factory that farms dogs like livestock. These dogs are bred commercially for profit and sold on the internet and via pet stores. No responsible breeder will sell online and ship the dog or sell to a pet store. For those reasons, it’s especially important to avoid pet stores and online retailers of pets.

You can find your dream dog through adoption. Go to local rescue events and meet the people working for the rescue organization, follow them on Instagram and get pre-approved to adopt so when you see the pup of your dreams you can act fast! There’s so many ways to find amazing dogs, local shelters and petfinder.com are also awesome.

Could Ella Bean come to the keyboard for a second? Does she have anything to add?

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Hilary, can you translate?

I believe Ella said “Adoption is the Chicest Option.”

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