BREED: Golden Retriever
ARCHITECT: Brenton Smith of Bates Smart
Describe your dog.
Humphrey is very relaxed with an inquisitive nature and although he enjoys the company of others, he also loves his own space to ponder life.
Humphrey is very particular about who he likes to associate with; he has a limited number of favourites and everyone else is tolerable. His movie star looks and nonchalant attitude makes humans and dogs alike desperately wanting to be friends with him.
Describe your home.
The apartment is one of eight within an interwar period building constructed in the 1920’s and has an elevated view of Sydney Harbour. There was a degree of formality with apartments built during this period and we wanted to capture the essence of that formality with redesigned living spaces which are more relevant to the way we live today.
The entire apartment has been completely replanned to establish the living and dining spaces on the harbour side which maximises the incredible views and light.The master bedroom suite which was once the kitchen and dining room features curved art deco walls and has been designed as an entirely separate wing. The principle philosophy was to enhance the existing heritage architectural elements and reinterpret them in a contemporary manner with a layered tonal interior that is warm and rich in materiality. It was important that features such as the original brass door knobs, doors, and cornicing were retained.
What sort of energy does your dog bring to your home?
Open the front door and you’ll hear Humphrey’s feet tippy tapping down the hall to greet you with a welcoming gift of soft toys or underwear stolen from the laundry hamper. Occasionally he will emerge from the bedroom and stagger blindly towards you in a half asleep state. You’ll always be warmly welcomed into our home although energy levels may vary.
Was your dog considered in any of the design, layout, or choice of finishes for your home?
Knowing that Humphrey’s paws would be traversing the floors, wide format timber boards were selected due to its wire brushed texture and depth of colour with heavily patterned grain to contend with claws and any possible scratching.
We also lined the fireplace with Santorini marble for Humphrey because he has always loved hanging out in his own cool little dog-cave.
What’s your dog’s favourite hanging out spot?
The talian marble fireplace is his private sanctuary and gives him full view of the living area whilst also allowing him to keep an eye on anyone going into the kitchen for snacks.
He enjoys sleeping in the master bedroom suite - but only on dad’s side of the bed - and will grunt in annoyance if you try to move him. He has also been known to take naps illegally on the Minotti sofas.
If dogs and their owners are supposed to look the same, does this reflect in the design of your home as well?
Humphrey has a collection of vintage YSL scarves which he wears on special occasions. We take much pride in dressing well which is reflected in our home’s highly polished, timeless yet luxurious aesthetic.
What makes your dog unique?
Humphrey can be very affectionate when he’s in the mood but doesn’t freely dish out love and affection; he likes to make people work for it.
He’s obsessed with tennis balls but preferably thrown directly at him so that he doesn’t have to go too far, although in the water he would happily swim to Japan for a tennis ball. He’s also an awesome bodysurfer.
How did you choose your dogs name?
We’ve always wanted a golden retriever named Humphrey so he had his moniker before he had even joined our family.
People often ask if he was named after Humphrey Bear but it’s actually Humphrey Bogart, one of the ultimate cool, hard-drinking, no-nonsense men of all time, just like our golden boy.
If your dog said something about the house, what would it be?
We should move this house to the beach.
Any other fun stories to share?
For a while Humphrey was running a scheme where he would find a pair of rubber flip flops, bite off the plug from the bottom of one shoe and then turn it over and place it back with the other shoe. You didn’t know until you tried to put them on. He did this to six pairs which wouldn’t have been such a sick joke if he hadn’t specifically destroyed the right shoe every single time.