Text by Bethany Adams
David Walker’s historic home came into his life by chance. “I lived in a house down the street previously, and I was out for a walk on a sunny February morning,” he recalls. “They were having an open house, and I just kind of wandered through.” Although the home, which had belonged to its original owners since its construction in 1950, was in serious need of an update, David saw past the dated surface to the gem underneath. “The lines were simple, the house had good bones, and I just felt like it could be a really cool, simple, updated, more contemporary home,” he says.
In the 15 years since, David and his husband, Clark Underbakke, have worked to uncover and enhance the home’s strongest features. Carpet, parquet flooring, and black-and-white linoleum were replaced with a unifying black porcelain tile, and rooms that were once pink, turquoise, and yellow were refreshed with Benjamin Moore’s “Glacier White.” “I like a simple, clean color throughout,” David says, “and as far as furnishings, we play more into texture versus a lot of pattern.”
That preference is evident in the plush upholstery and natural materials of the living area, which soften the room’s more updated elements. Oversize lounge chairs and a sofa stacked with throw pillows offer a warm, inviting place to enjoy the original terrazzo fireplace, which holds selenite crystals backed by candlelight. The mirrored coffee table reflects the large sisal rug that covers the tile floor, one of David’s favorite ways to add texture to a room.
Balancing the collection of contemporary art throughout the home, an assortment of antique pieces keeps friends and family in mind. “Most of the antiques that we have, we inherited those,” David explains. “So, they’re personal as well as beautiful.” Displayed at the end of the hall, a collection of Bing & Grøndahl Christmas plates that belonged to Clark’s mother back an antique Norwegian chair. “The years of those particular plates are the years from 1969 to 2002,” David says. “And 1969 is the year that Clark was born, and 2002 is the year that his mother passed away. So collectively, those are their years together.”
Carried into the master bedroom, the subtle patterns and textured surfaces of David’s designs enrich simple lines and muted gray tones. “It’s not a large space, so we wanted it to be, of course, cozy,” David says. A high upholstered headboard that was built to cover a window fills one wall, flanked by hammered nightstands and antiqued mirrors. It’s an effect that, as David says, gives the room “that very cozy, soft, inviting bedroom feeling that you want.”
In the guest room, a metal bed by Ann Gish is piled high with lush bedding and surrounded with the rich warmth of antique wood. Chinese shutters rest on an antique tea cabinet on one side and a table from Clark’s family on the other. In each room, the carefully curated collection of pieces, both old and new, is perfectly blended with warm tones and rich textures in a way that makes this happy chance of a home seem like fate.