MIEKO

BREED:  Bernese Mountain Dog
ARCHITECT: Foomann Architects

Describe your dog.

Mieko is gentle and patient. She is particularly amazing around little children and will calmly stand there while they pull her tail or yank her fur. She is also very affectionate and likes maximum contact so she often sits on people’s feet or tucks her head under their arm if she wants to be patted.
Mieko can be very stubborn and if she decides that, for example, she has walked far enough, nothing can make her walk any further.
Even though she is nearly 12 years old Mieko still has a luscious coat, clear eyes and a youthful attitude. She is a truly beautiful dog inside and out.

Describe your home.

Mosh House was built in 1903 with the modern extension created by Foomann Architects in 2011. The brief was to instil the fun and glamour of the Case Study Houses into our home and we think they succeeded. When we open the sliding doors – which we do often – the family room becomes a pavilion that embraces the outdoors.

What sort of vibe does your dog bring to your home?

Mieko exudes a calming sense of zen into our home and generates love in the hearts of everyone who lives here with her.

Was your dog considered in any of the design, layout, or choice of finishes for your home?

On a subconscious level, Mieko’s magnificent tricolour coat has influenced the colour scheme in our home – from the black kitchen, to the pale floors and the tan ‘Frog’ armchairs.

Whats your dogs favourite hanging out spot?

Mieko likes to lie on the over-dyed vintage black and white rug where she is virtually camouflaged. She can also be found on the deck under the grapevine or in the master bedroom blocking the wardrobe. In the height of summer she is usually splayed on the tiled bathroom floor next to the air conditioning vent.

If dogs and their owners are supposed to look the same, does this reflect in the design of your home as well?

Like Mieko, our home is big, welcoming, glamorous and playful.


What makes your dog unique?

Mieko is almost 12 years old, which is very old for a Berner. We like to think her longevity is a result of morning swims in the bay (the beach is at the end of our street), regular acupuncture and daily doses of confidence-building compliments (it’s impossible to take her for a walk without people admiring her beauty). The fact that she has so many favoured sleeping spots means she also gets a lot of incidental exercise between naps.

How did you choose your dogs name?

My daughter made up her name. We like to think it sounds part Japanese and/or part Danish and therefore edgy and sophisticated.


If your dog said something about the house, what would it be?

The wooden floorboards are too slippery!

Any other stories to share?

The Indian Minah birds nesting in our front garden like to terrorise Mieko by swooping on her head. They are so mean to her and not at all afraid of her loud bark. She’s a loving, social dog but when there are too many visitors, she likes to escape upstairs to the quietest corner of the house, making a brief appearance only when the food is served.

On a warm summer’s day we open up all the sliding doors so it’s hard to keep her outside when she’s wet. She often sneaks in to our bedroom when drenched after her morning swim.

CHIEF

BREED: Bernese Mountain Dog

Describe your dog.

LOVE. Chief is a large black bundle of pure love and joy. He’s treated like a 4th son so he gets to hide behind the bravado of his big brothers but really, he’s just the baby brother that is scared of the dark. When our older boys arrive home late at night they love to creep up on Chief and scare the life out of him. He rushes out to the drive way with the almightiest roar but actually, He’s completely terrified. 

Describe your home.

It’s a boys barn overlooking Byron Bay. Built for mud and motorbikes and hoards of hungry teenagers. 

We encourage our boys to live a creative life. Weekends are spent on the river fishing, exploring, and towing behind the tinny, evenings are spent in the family art studio and cooking over an open fire. 

What sort of energy does your dog bring to your home?

Chief is the heartbeat of our home. He’s calm, consistent and intuitive beyond words. 

Was your dog considered in any of the design, layout, or choice of finishes for your home?

The colour palette for River Hawk Ranch was actually born the day Chief arrived. I have never known a design process to be such an enjoyable journey. Walls are dark to hide muddy markings, floors are concrete to forgive paw prints and everything else dragged in. 
We don’t like rules and so, there is no place in our home that Chief isn’t allowed. He’s even allowed on the bed for birthdays and special occasions.

What’s your dog’s favourite hanging out spot?

Chief spends the daytime hours under the creative table where we all work unless we go out and then he relocates to the drive way waiting on someone to return. At night he actually climbs up onto the leather lounge but gently slides off if anyone gets up in the middle of the night for a glass of water. 

If dogs and their owners are supposed to look the same, does this reflect in the design of your home as well?

Absolutely! I look nothing like Chief but this house certainly does. It’s rugged and rustic yet warm and inviting. It throws its arms around you and says “welcome”.  

What makes your dog unique?

Chief arrived at the beginning of our family journey up here at River Hawk Ranch and he has bound us together through the hardest and happiest years of our lives. He feels like a gift that continues to glue and guide us.

How did you choose your dogs name?

We have a crew of our own boys up here and often half a dozen of their friends… fishing,  biking, boarding, camping and building. It seemed fitting that we needed a Chief of the tribe. 

If your dog said something about the house, what would it be?

Could we all sleep in the one room so that I can keep my eye on you all.

Any other fun stories to share? 

So, one day when we wanted to go for a paddle on the river without Chief on the front of my paddle board ( he paddles with me at least twice a week sitting happily, watching the birds and fish) we ran him down to river and back up to the barn, fed him his favourite treat and snuck back to the river for a quick 20 minute paddle to the ocean beach.
We were just about to dive into the waves when he came tumbling down the dunes to greet us. He must have swam along the river a couple of KM’s beat his way through a nature reserve and followed our scent to find us out on the open beach. 
He sat very quietly on the board on our journey home.