These monochromatic dogs fit into their Auckland villa

A couple of old charmers make an Auckland villa into a joyful home.

As a child, Jessica Agoston Cleary would beg her parents for a dog. “But they wouldn’t allow it,” says the co-founder and director of online art gallery Artfull. “Instead, I had rabbits, but as soon as I bought my own house, I got dogs.” Jessica and her husband Bryden share their 1900s Auckland villa with Duke, an 11-year-old retrodoodle, and Bowie, a 10-year-old Old English sheepdog, who works at promo events as “the Dulux dog”.

Jessica has had both since they were pups and says they’re real characters. “They’ve got arthritis now, so can’t walk far, but every day we wander down to Morningside’s Kind Café, where Bowie gets a date and orange scone. She won’t eat any other kind!”

Duke, meanwhile, is “a bit of a ladies’ man” who charms the punters at their local bar.

The couple bought their Kingsland home five years ago and are slowly doing it up – the fourth renovation they’ve taken on. “Our style is eclectic and we have a lot of art,” says Jessica, who gave up a career in corporate advertising to study art history and then open Artfull with film producer John Barnett.

“Our aesthetic tends towards the black, white and grey, and randomly our dogs – and cat Frank – are the same colours! But we’re not too precious about the art – ours is a busy, eclectic house and that’s the way we like it.”

It recently got even busier – since Haven visited, the couple have added Gus, a cairn terrier puppy. “My lovely old dogs sleep most of the day, so it’s been fantastic – if a bit manic – having puppy energy in the house. Dogs have such a joyful presence and make a house a home.”

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