DOGS and THEIR INTERIOR DESIGNERS – PART 1






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Whether it is the provenance of a silk velvet, the right colour of a brass finish or the finesse of bespoke embroidered curtains that decorators can agonise over, the life of a dog with an interior designer or design tastemaker can’t clearly always be as glamourous and peaceful as one would imagine.


In this final feature of the year, A-Gent of Style interviews well-known figures in the world of interior design to talk about their adorable, loyal (some might add long-suffering) canine acolytes with discerning tastes.

A-Gent of Style would like to thank everyone involved, two-legged and four-legged, for their time and cooperation.


By Chelsea Textiles

By Chelsea Textiles


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ALFIE and JENNIFER BOLES (THE PEAK OF CHIC)

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 Jennifer, tell us about your dog.

Alfie is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He is five years old.  He hails from Monticello, Georgia, the hometown of country music superstar Trisha Yearwood. However, since moving to Atlanta, he has become a city boy through and through.


When and how did Alfie come into your life?

I adopted Alfie when he was six months old. Although I grew up with Springer Spaniels, I was anxious to adopt a Cavalier because the breed is so loving and affectionate. I now understand why people call Cavs “love bugs” and “love sponges”.


What are Alfie ‘s favourite toy and food?

He loves small squeaky toys, especially Sniffany & Co., a plush version of the Tiffany blue box. For a dog, Alfie is a remarkably disciplined eater. He prefers chicken and salmon, but only in moderation. That must be how he has maintained his trim figure.



Do you and Alfie have any personality traits in common?

Alfie and I are both loyal and friendly. And, we both have a weakness for Porthault bed linen.



How involved are they in the design process?

Alfie is my constant companion. When I am sitting at my desk, he insists upon getting into my lap to keep me company.


Does Alfie have any pet peeves?

Alfie is very finicky about his home. If I make a decorating decision of which he doesn’t approve, he lets me know with a few barks and a look of horror on his face.

 

Does Alfie have any quirky habits? 

He loves to listen to the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday afternoons.

 

What are Alfie‘s favourite tricks? 

 He can walk upright on his hind legs but only for short distances.


 Where is Alfie’s favourite spot in the house? 

 My lap!


 
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JEAN-PIERRE and ALESSANDRA BRANCA (BRANCA, INC.)

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 Alessandra, tell us about your dog.

Jean-Pierre is a French Bulldog. He is 7 months old.


 When and how did Jean-Pierre come into your life?

My son got him three months ago.


 What are Jean-Pierre’s favourite toy and food?

His favorite toy is a toss-up between his little toy hedgehog or mini tennis balls.



 Do you and Jean-Pierre have any personality traits in common? 

My feistiness and energy seem to be in sync with his! Occasionally he visits, although not often enough. Have seriously considered neutrals to match his coloring!


 How involved is Jean-Pierre in the design process?

 He is seriously into comfort!!!! He demands and requires wonderfully comfortable seating (preferably with a warm human nearby).


 Does Jean-Pierre have any pet peeves?

His biggest pet peeve is being woken up from a nap.



 Does Jean-Pierre have any quirky habits?  


His quirky habit is that he always has to walk past his food bowl and then walk under a specific chair before eating.



What are Jean-Pierre’s favourite tricks?

His favorite trick is playing fetch with his tennis balls.

 

 Where is Jean-Pierre’s favourite spot in the house? 

His favorite spot in the house is a tie between the sofa and our bed. His favorite place in the office is on the work table right on top of fabric samples and elevations in the interiors area.



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ARCHIE, THEO and NINA CAMPBELL (NINA CAMPBELL INTERIORS)


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 Nina, tell us about your dogs.

Archie is aged 12 and Theo is 9. They are both Shitzus.


When and how did they come into your life?

Archie was given to me and I bought Theo as a companion for Archie.


What are Archie and Theo’s favourite toy and food?

Theo has a black dog and Archie isn’t too interested in toys but loves all food.


Do they have any personality traits in common?

Not sure?!


Do they come to work with you? How involved are they in the design process?

They both do and Theo always likes to sit on the new samples.


Do they have any pet peeves?

No, thankfully.



Do Archie and Theo have any quirky habits?

Archie has a penchant for wine corks and waits by the drinks tray waiting for a bottle to be opened.


What are their favourite tricks?

They don’t have any!


Where is their favourite spot in the house

They both love my bed.


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HENRIETTE, HERCULE, DORA, CLARA and ROBERT COUTURIER (ROBERT COUTURIER)


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 Robert, tell us about your dogs.

I have four dogs Henriette the oldest one who is 14, Hercule the boy who is 7, Dora the white girl who is three and Clara the black and white who is now 1 year old. They are all four ShiTzus.


When and how did Henriette, Hercule, Dora and Clara come into your life?

​Henriette was my present to my husband for his 50th birthday, Hercule I got when my little Chuck died at 17 years of age, Dora I saved she was horribly tortured and we took her in she was so tiny and so scared, and now she is the happiest and healthiest girl, Clara we got when Bess who was only 10 died of a Lymphoma Cancer… If I could I would have 50 dogs… All ShiTzus or Pekingnese or Pugs.


What are their favourite toy and food?

​They do not have favorite toys but they all want the same toy at the same time and fight for it, I cannot call it fighting really, it is all fun and games and amicable… As far as food they all eat the same chicken and rice with some science diet in wet and dry form…. They LOVE their treats.


Do you and your dogs have any personality traits in common?

​They are all so very different from each other, and I just wish I were as loving as kind and as sweet as they are, they know no impatience and no anger, they love unconditionally and exclusively… Some times I think that they truly are far better than I am…


Where are there favourite spots in the house? Do they come to work with you? How involved are they in the design process?

​They stay in the country where they live with my husband, they, husband included, never come to the City which they all HATE, they are surrounded by the entire household whose only purpose is to make their lives as beautiful and as comfortable and fun as possible… I want them to ONLY know happiness comfort and joy.


Do Henriette, Hercule, Dora and Clara have any pet peeves?

​They are the best adjusted little dogs in the world they have no pet peeves, they are all so funny and so adorable, all jostling to sit on my lap or nearest me on a sofa, I sit them on armchairs near me at the table, they don’t beg they just sleep in the comfort of our presence, safe in our vigilance​ and protected by our love.



Do they have any quirky habits?

Not really. They don’t have any favorite trick, only Clara likes to steal food during meal time from an inattentive sibling…But that’s it really.




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GoGo and LISA FINE (LISA FINE TEXTILES)


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 Lisa, tell us about your dog.


GoGo is a 6 month old Bedlington Terrier


When and how did GoGo come into your life?


I have wanted a Bedlington Terrier for over 20 years. I first saw one in Vita Sackville West’s books on Dogs and fell in love with them. I normally get rescue dogs.


What are GoGo’s favourite toy and food?


GoGo loves stuffed animals. Since my past dogs only ate roast chicken and steaks I am determined for GoGo to only eat dog food.



Do you and GoGo have any personality traits in common?

We don’t have any similar traits. GoGo loves everything and everyone, NOT like me!



Does GoGo come to work with you? How involved are they in the design process?

GoGo spends a lot of time with me and is always the center of attention. He is a big distraction.


Does GoGo have any pet peeves or any quirky habits?

No pet peeves or quirky habits.


What are GoGo’s favourite tricks?

His favorite trick is to pull the leach of our little rescue dachshund mini pincher mix. I can spend hours watching them.


Where is GoGo favourite spot in the house?

His favorite spot in the house is wherever there is any food or wherever I am.



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 RIO and VEERE GRENNEY (VEERE GRENNEY ASSOCIATES)


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Veere, tell us about your dog.

 Rio, 4.5 years old and she is a Lurcher (whippet/ greyhound/ Beddlington terrier cross).


 When and how did Rio come into your life?

A great friend and interior designer, Ginny Howard rang me to tell me her brother had Lurcher puppies so without thinking of the consequences, I said I would have one. No time is a convenient time to have a dog but she is worth every bit of inconvenience.


What are Rio’s favourite toy and food?  

Her favourite toy is a knitted sailor! And food wise, anything I am eating.


Do you and Rio have any personality traits in common?

Yes we are both very quick with killer instinct and good legs! 


Does Rio come to work with you? How involved are they in the design process?

Via Hyde Park in my car and she particularly loves sitting in the passenger seat when the roof is down. She wanders around the office in a calm and elegant way and whenever someone is stressed she stands beside them for a stroke. This appears to keep the office balanced.


Does Rio have any pet peeves?

She is scared of big Mastif dogs.


Does Rio have any quirky habits?

She has very expensive taste in sofas and cashmere throws and a mink blanket on my bed.


What are Rio’s favourite tricks?

Bringing a present when everyone arrives.


Where’s Rio favourite spot in the house?  

Any sofa or bed available.



Country House, The Hamptons

Country House, The Hamptons

 




DAISY, DANIEL SAGER and BRIAN Mc CARTHY (BRIAN Mc CARTHY, INC.)

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 Brian and Daniel, tell us about your dog.


Daisy, a (questionable) poodle, – turning 6 at the end of November.

 

When and how did Daisy come into your life?

We found Daisy on Facebook. A friend posted a photo of her looking tiny and scruffy. She had been born to a family that simply couldn’t afford to keep her and so they gave her to the local Dog Control Officer of the county in upstate New York where we have a weekend home. Having once had a Westie myself ( another smallish white dog), this friend thought Daisy was a perfect fit. Of course I still had to convince Brian that a dog is what he too needed. Brian has a tendency to want to wipe a dogs face each time they take a drink of water for fear that they will drip water on to the floor. To me this is not the sign of someone who should have a dog. That said, I convinced Brian to meet her and after a trial weekend with her at her home, Brian was as smitten with her as I was and the rest is history. Im also happy to report that having Daisy has actually made Brian less neurotic about things being absolutely perfect at home. Perhaps that’s an over statement BUT at least he doesn’t even think to wipe Daisy’s face with a towel after each meal or sip of water!


What are Daisy’s favourite toy and food?

Daisy used to be quite content with the conventional dog food BUT as she spends every working hour at our office, there is a whole team of people who manage to spoil her rotten on a daily basis. She has become quite accustomed to getting some turkey or cheese upon her arrival at the office and then at lunch time she makes it her point to visit every single person in the office as they sit at their desk eating lunch. Mind you, she never begs. She simply stops by and pays everyone a respectful visit. She claims to simply be checking up on everyone and making sure that everyone is doing their job. 

As for toys, she has a few small soft stuffed toys but basically she only pays attention to them after she has been left alone at home. Upon hearing out approach she grabs the nearest one and greets us at the door holding said toy in between her teeth with tail wagging as if it might spin entirely off of her if she spun it any faster or longer. We of course are expected to chase her down and wrestled the toy from her which we do. Funny thing is that most dogs would not give up the toy so quickly. Daisy surrenders it almost immediately and then continues to welcome us home by jumping up and down and licking us until she has exhausted both herself and us!


Do you and Daisy have any personality traits in common?

I too like to go around the office in the hopes that someone will share their lunch with me, Alas, it never happens! I suppose I could threaten to fire them and see if that makes a difference?


Does Daisy come to work with you? How involved are they in the design process?

Obviously she does indeed come to the office. Every day. And god forbid we go on vacation or Daisy has an appointment that requires her to be away from the office. Our staff is not happy when that happens. They miss her terribly. A dog simply creates a wonderful atmosphere in an office and when she is not there you can sense the difference. As for the design process, I would hate to admit that she has any influence in that department in case a client is reading this but let’s just say that she has been known to select the softest and most luxurious of textiles to sit on when given the chance. She particularly loves to perch herself on top of a chinchilla or sheared beaver sample.


Does Daisy have any pet peeves?

I would say she doesn’t like to be ignored and she doesn’t like being left behind.  She also isn’t fond of fruit of any kind.


Does Daisy have any quirky habits?

Besides sometimes lifting 3 of her 4 legs off the ground all at the same time while she is relieving herself, I can’t think of any.


What are Daisy’s favourite tricks?

Would being adorable considered a trick?


Where is Daisy favourite spot in the house?

Depends on her location and also time of day. At the office she has three favorite spots. One is on top of her own desk which is situated directly at a window five floors above West 57th Street. From there she has quite a good view of the center of Manhattan and some might even say the center of the world itself. Her second favorite spot in the office is a small bed in Brian’s office where she goes towards the end of the day to patiently wait for Brian to signal that its time to call it quits and go home. And her third favorite spot in the office, as per an earlier answer is actually wherever anyone is eating their lunch. At home I would say that during the waking hours she will always choose to be in the same room as Brian and/or I but when it comes to sleeping through the night, she starts off in our bed but pretty soon thereafter makes a quick exit and  chooses to sleep solo on the king size bed in our guest bedroom!


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LOUIS, PAOLO MOSCHINO and PHILIP VERGEYLEN (PAOLO MOSCHINO for NICHOLAS HASLAM)

Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen (& Louis and Rocco)


 Paolo and Philip, tell us about your dog.

Louis is our French Bull Dog, aged 5.


 When and how did Louis come into your life?

After I lost my beloved boxer Tyson I was looking for a similar breed but smaller, so they could be in the office with us. French bulldog was an obvious choice, as same squashed face but more compact!



 What are Louis’s favourite toy and food?

A well chewed/loved soft toy Fox, and his best friend Rocco, my other French bulldog. All food is his favourite.


 Do you and Louis have any personality traits in common?

We both hate change.


 Does Louis come to work with you? How involved are they in the design process?

Of course. Louis does an exceptionally good job at keeping everyone in the office happy. He is a dog of discerning taste, so his opinion is always valid.


 Does Louis have any pet peeves?

High pitched voices.


 Does Louis have any quirky habits?

Louis gets on particularly well with giant dogs but not as much with toy dogs. Like most small dogs, he assumes he is larger than he is!


 What are Louis ‘s favourite tricks?

Louis will always give you the warmest greeting, lavish you with attention and then look straight toward the biscuit box!


 Where is Louis’s favourite spot in the house?

My bed.

 

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HRH LILY and MARK D. SIKES (MARK D. SIKES)

Photo by Darren Ankenman



 Mark, tell us about your dog.

Lily, she goes by HRH Lily, is a french bulldog.



 When and how did Lily come into your life?

Lily is six years old, almost 7, she’s from the state of georgia- a southern girl!


 What are Lily ‘s favourite toy and food?

Lily eats pulled rotisserie chicken for most meals…very particular eater! she doesn’t love normal dog toys, she likes to push around empty rosé bottles, she enjoys playing with everything she shouldn’t.


 Do you and Lily have any personality traits in common? 

Lily, like me, loves anything blue and white!


 How involved is Lily in the design process?

Lily does come to the design studio, she loves to pick out and lay on fabrics- she seriously does!


 Does Lily have any pet peeves?

Lily is very protective of the house- the gardeners have to watch out!


 Does Lily have any quirky habits?  

Lily loves the garden!


What are Lily’s favourite tricks?

Getting everyone to love her!

 Where is Lily’s favourite spot in the house? 

The garden, she loves to lay in the sun.


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WINNIE and HOWARD SLATKIN (HOWARD SLATKIN INTERIOR DESIGN)


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–  Photo by Jeffrey Hirsch –



 Howard, tell us about your dog.

Winnie is my eight year old Norfolk terrier.


When and how did Winnie come into your life?

A gift from my late mother, a year after my Westie, Lulu, died.


What are Winnie’s favourite toy and food?

Winnie never met a squeaky ball she didn’t love, and the louder the better.  As for food, her favorite seems to be whatever I am eating. But she does love chicken and thankfully lots of veggies: carrots, broccoli and cucumbers are her faves.


Do you and Winnie have any personality traits in common?

We are both loyal, loving and patient. Winnie, however, has much more energy than I do.


Does Winnie come to work with you? How involved are they in the design process?

Winnie goes everywhere with me, my little shadow: to work, when I travel, she is up for any adventure. And of course she has perfect taste—-when she lays on a carpet or fabric sample in the office I know she has chosen the ideal one.


Does Winnie have any pet peeves?

Being left home does not please her, nor does not playing ball with her for hour upon hour


Does Winnie have any quirky habits?

When we are out walking and someone is chatting on their phone Winnie will insist on us going over to them—-she is certain they are talking to her. It’s Winnie’s world and we just live in it.


What are Winnie‘s favourite tricks?

I can throw one of her squeaky rubber balls down from the second floor staircase at home and she will catch it in her mouth. Then she runs upstairs to give me back the ball to do it again, and she scoots right back down and she gets in position, as if in the Olympics. We do this endlessly, until she collapses for a power nap.


Where is Winnie favourite spot in the house?

She has two: our bed (she refuses to set foot in a dog bed, no matter how handsome) and the glass-paned doors to the garden, where is watches endlessly for squirrels, bunnies, deer – all her friends.  It’s her television.



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GRECO, MICHAEL S. SMITH, JAMES COSTOS (MICHAEL S. SMITH INC)


Michael SmithPortrait: James/Michael with Greco from El Pais    



Michael and James, tell us about your dog.  

He is named for el Greco the painter (It was the 400th anniversary of his work the year we found him). Plus, James is of Greek decent, so it seemed a fitting tribute.


When and how did Greco come into your life?  

Greco is a rescued dog from Shelter ANAA (Asociacion de Amigos de Animales) which we adopted in the first year of James being US Ambassador to Spain. There is not a real tradition of shelter adoptions in Spain, so it was wonderful to help the animal population there, even if only in this small way. Greco story is really special. He was adopted by a family there and then had to be returned, because the family couldn’t afford him following the financial crisis. He’s never been in the streets, like so many dogs there. He has an incredibly sweet disposition and is a beautiful and wonderful dog.


 What are Greco’s favourite toy and food?

Greco loves the ball, like so many dogs. He loves to eat chicken. The odd thing is that he looks almost like a dog from a John Singer Sargent painting we acquired from the Hispanic Society in NY.


 Do you and Greco have any personality traits in common?

I think we are both very enthusiastic. I think Greco likes to just get on with. He is very determined in his tasks, which I think I sometimes am.


  Where’s Greco favourite spot in the house?

An oval pillow dog bed that is at the foot of our bed. Or in the garden chasing birds.


 Does Greco  have any pet peeves? 

No. He’s a really easy-going dog and loves to be outdoors during the day.


 Does Greco have any quirky habits?

Like many dogs, Greco growls and barks in his sleep like his having a very interesting dream.


 What are Greco‘s favourite tricks? 

He doesn’t do any tricks. He’s way too mellow.


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A-Gent of Style: dog lover/honorary dog-sitter/fairy dog-father

From top left to bottom right: Elsie de Woof (the cockapoo), Dexter (the foxy lab), Ben (ze border terrier), Fly (a mix), Charlie (the staffie/dog-son), Oscar (the black lab), Thimba (the Rhodesian Ridgeback) and A-Gent of Style (doglover/honorary dog sitter/fairy dog father)

From top left to bottom right: Elsie de Woof (the cockapoo), Dexter (the foxy lab), Ben (ze border terrier), Fly (a mix), Charlie (the staffie/dog-son), Oscar (the black lab), Thimba (the Rhodesian Ridgeback)




– Photos courtesy of each respective design firm –








7 comments


  • Dear Fabrice, I so enjoyed reading this. Thank you for including me. It’s a real honor.

    Merry Christmas!

    Jennifer

    December 19, 2014
  • Nicole

    Is that Dexter I see. A true winner as always! Xx

    December 19, 2014
  • Great article! Who doesn’t love reading about fabulous people and their pooches?

    December 19, 2014
  • Nancy Sykes

    Ben, ze Border Terrier, misses sitting on the balcony with you in sunny Paris!
    Truly an inspired topic for all who love interiors AND dogs.

    December 20, 2014
  • […] own homages. Designer and blogging friend Fabrice Bana of A-Gent of Style posted an entertaining series of interviews with designers talking about “their adorable, loyal (some might add long-suffering) canine […]

    January 4, 2015
  • Dear Fabrice, I truly enjoyed reading your post. Pups bring so much joy into our lives

    January 6, 2015
  • Fabrice thank you for this lovely feature! I love seeing some of my very favorite designers with their precious pups!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

    January 10, 2015

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