Welcome to the ‘At Home with Dogs’ series: a celebration of dogs within the home, considered design and curated living.

For the first instalment we spoke with aesthete Simone Haag, renowned interior designer and director of Simone Haag Studio, about living with dogs...big dogs!

Name of your dog? Ralph

Home (Town/City)? Melbourne

How did you meet Ralph? Tell us about when you brought him home?

Ralph is our second dog, before him was Tank...a Great Dane x Wolf Hound.
My husband and I had just married and were looking for a dog and I found Tank, my parents picked him up whilst we were on our honeymoon, he was a gorgeous dog, they would have kept him if we had changed our mind. We had him for 7 years and lost him a year ago. There was a huge gap in our home so I started looking for another dog and found Ralph. He was 12 months old and he wasn't the right fit at his then home so I went to meet him and after a great first meet I brought him home. We then had a 1 year old chewing furniture, barking at the postman, jumping...its taken a year to learn how to live with a young pure breed Great Dane.

Image of Tank by Nicole England for Resident Dog.

Why a Great Dane? From our time with Tank being part Great Dane it was breed we were familiar with and loved. Although, as Ralph is a pure breed he is more full on!

What kind of energy does he bring to your home?
His a total split personality; chilled, cuddly, chin on my arm like a big pussy cat or, the total opposite if spooked. He’ll run around like a mad man with his guard dog hat on. He swings between moods, but as he matures his leaning more towards calm, now his older and more settled.

Nowadays it’s commonplace to fully integrate your dog into your home. Describe the way Ralph lives at home? Where does he eat, sleep, play?

When his outside he wants to be in! His 90% inside and 80% on couch! He has a huge ugly crate to sleep in or settle when the family is eating. I'm looking for a big beautiful bouclé covered bed for him inside so we can eventually transition the create outside.

Being such a huge breed play inside is difficult and we have a small yard in Melbourne. We walk him a lot, my husband runs with him. He also goes to doggy day care one day a week which he loves. They collect him and drop him home, its a great outlet for him.

Describe your style/aesthetic and how does having a dog influence your interiors and maintenance? Any tips?

My aesthetic is collected but curated. We had renovated our home and had most things before we got Ralph, so there's some things I'd do differently, like not having wooden floors and instead go for more scratch resistant materials like tiles or cork. We've installed gates between the yard and sliding doors to prevent him from scratching the glass and put pavers down in our yard to replace the lawn as Ralph would just tear it up cutting laps.

We have lambskins on the sofas, keep the bedroom doors shut...practical things for living with a big dog, we know his behaviour and work with it rather than against it.

On local dog-friendly spots ? Mullum Mullum Reserve.

On grooming? Home visits; its good for Ralphs confidence as he knows the groomer and what to expect.

On dog related book? Resident Dog.

On treats? Anything salmon flavour:)

  All Images courtesy of Simone Haag.