Current Exhibit

A South End couple's artful abode showcases a rotating collection of beautiful finds.

Brad Walker, left, and Rodin Shaw Cole share the sofa with their Italian greyhounds.

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

Brad Walker, left, and Rodin Shaw Cole share the sofa with their Italian greyhounds.

Architect Brad Walker and his partner, Rodin Shaw Cole, treat their one-bedroom, 780-square-foot condo like an art gallery. “Curating is more fun than accumulating,” says Walker, who has lived in the light-filled space for 23 years. Their ever-changing displays are a constant source of amusement. “If we do buy something new, we have to really like it, because it means something else has to go.” Of course, basement storage helps, too, especially when it comes to the pair’s library. “If I buy another book, our apartment will explode,” Cole says with a laugh.

current exhibit kitchen

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

1. Trick of the Eye
When Walker overhauled the kitchen, he used the same material — maple — for the flooring, the toe kick, and the base cabinets. “It sort of blurs your sense of where the horizon line is,” he explains. He also integrated the dishwasher and fridge into the cabinetry to avoid that “chopped up” and cluttered look that freestanding appliances can create.

current exhibit slice of life

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

2. Slice of Life
A collection of “things that cut” (Cole’s words) includes scissors, a cigar cutter, a mousetrap that belonged to Walker’s great-grandfather, and a Richard Sapper letter opener. “They all have interesting, almost primitive designs,” Walker says.

current exhibit go fish

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

3. Go Fish
Above the fireplace, a skull found at Provincetown’s Hatches Harbor peeks out of an early Victorian mirror, which the pair snapped up at pal Alexander Westerhoff’s Essex shop. “We both think it’s the best antiques store around,” says Walker.

current exhibit brewing

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

4. What’s Brewing
A postcard of the Santa Maria della Pace church in Rome — which now has a modern coffee shop in its courtyard — hangs in a maple frame next to an espresso machine in the kitchen.

current exhibit rome

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

5. On Location
Rome is special to the pair, so they marked their favorite spots with tabs on this 18th-century Nolli map reproduction. The panels help anchor the room so that everything else “doesn’t look all ditzy and lost,” Walker says.

current exhibit art

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

6. Art Seen
A pitcher painted with crows, purchased from OtisRein in Ipswich, is displayed next to paintings by Lois Beatty (forefront) and Corey Daniels.

current exhibit face

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

7. Face It
Tucked into a bookcase are three portrait miniatures — the two smaller ones were originally pieces of 18th-century jewelry, while the larger painting is from 1810. The head is from an 1830 statue of Venus that belonged to friends. When Cole accidentally knocked it over and decapitated her, he earned a treasure for his troubles.

current exhibit branch

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

8. Branch Out
First-edition books and Cole’s Ben Franklin doll rest on this Federal-style side table, nicknamed “Wall-E” because the knobs look like the animated robot’s eyes. The couple cycles art in gold frames through the three spots above the table; this grouping features tree paintings by Anne Packard, Marcy Dunn Ramsey, and Julia Purinton.

current exhibit hue

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

9. On Hue
Cole called Walker’s neutral decorating palette “12 shades of dreary” when he moved in seven years ago, but has since come around. “I just like the quietness of it,” he says. An orange Kartell chair and an IKEA dresser (Walker painted it green) in the bedroom offer pops of color.

current exhibit skel

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

10. Body Electric
Cole found this 19th-century German skele­ton print at Marckle Myers in ­Manhattan, one of his antiquing haunts. “Recently, I had Achilles tendinitis, and this was very helpful in diagnosing it,” he jokes.


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