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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.