Four-legged friends are the true heart of many a home

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page - Res­i­dent Dog: In­cred­i­ble Homes And The Dogs That Live There by Neale Whi­taker Neale Whi­taker is co-host of Fox­tel’s Love It Or List It Aus­tralia on Lifestyle, and a judge on Nine Net­work’s The Block.

OK, let’s deal with the ele­phant in the room. Or per­haps that should be the Weimaraner in the room. Mel­bourne pho­tog­ra­pher Nicole Eng­land for­got to fea­ture my boys Ol­lie and Otis in her beau­ti­ful book

(Thames & Hud­son, $75). But no, we’re not bit­ter. We re­alise ev­ery dog has its day and this wasn’t theirs. Still, Nicole, you should know it took some ex­plain­ing and a lot of Sch­mackos when I put your book on the cof­fee ta­ble.

Eng­land’s book is a gem, although I should add you prob­a­bly need to love dogs to fully ap­pre­ci­ate what the ca­nine touch brings to these sump­tu­ous im­ages of some of Aus­tralia’s most ar­chi­tec­turally sig­nif­i­cant homes. In the au­thor’s words, “The pres­ence of a dog al­lows us to see these homes in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent way. Whether they end up in the fi­nal shot or not, dogs can bring vi­tal­ity, warmth and move­ment to some­times static spa­ces.”

For me, Eng­land is preach­ing to the con­verted. My part­ner David and I agree that our dogs make our house our home more than any fur­nish­ings, clever de­sign, mood light­ing or art.

Those things are all im­por­tant, but the lev­el­ling pres­ence of O&O (as we call them) and their un­con­di­tional love for their hu­mans and their sur­rounds is where the magic hap­pens. When they’re not at home, it feels wrong. But when their paws once again sound on the floor­boards and they re­sume flop­house po­si­tions on the sofa – their sofa – all is right with the world.

Clues as to the home – and dog – own­ers lie in the ac­knowl­edge­ments and cred­its at the back of Eng­land’s book, and let’s just say these are pedi­gree pooches in more ways than one. But on the page, the homes bear the names of nei­ther ar­chi­tect nor in­te­rior de­signer. In­stead, they’re the do­mains of Skip­per, Scout, Gin­ger and Harry, Buddy and Muddy. As dog own­ers, we all know who re­ally owns the house and so Res­i­dent Dog sim­ply tells it like it is.


At first glance, the photo cap­tions look as if they’ll con­tain the usual in­for­ma­tion about tiles, tim­bers and tex­tiles, but closer in­spec­tion is a de­light: “Polly is like Pe­dro’s shadow, but with bet­ter hear­ing and less fart­ing. She loves warmth and sleeps away most of her day, of­ten roast­ing her­self un­der the wood heater.” Polly, I want your life.

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