Tony Hawk is keeping a promise to his late friend — with a home makeover.
The skateboarding legend teamed up with home improvement hub Houzz to remodel the North Carolina home of Kerry Overman, the widow of his best friend Ray Underhill, who died tragically from a rare cancer in 2008.
“When Ray died, I vowed to help [his family] however I can,” he says in a new episode of the makeover series MyHouzz, which has also featured sentimental projects by Mila Kunis, Kristin Bell and others.
“He and I skated together through the ’80s and ’90s. I think it was 1989, we were in our late teens early twenties . . . and I will never forget seeing Kerry see Ray next to me, and they did not stop looking at each other for the rest of the night, pretty much for years afterwords. It was truly like I got to witness love at first sight,” he recalls of his friends’ romance.
When Underhill was diagnosed, “It was devastating,” he says. “We were completely shocked. He tried to go through all the treatments and ended up losing the battle.”
Hawk has looked out for his widow and their children. “I’m officially Keaton and Olivia’s godfather and I’m still very much in their lives,” he says. Overman later remarried her current husband Brad, who Hawk calls “a solid dude,” and had another daughter, Scarlett.
“Tony is Uncle Tony. He’s been there from day one. He’s been a blessing in my life,” says Overman.
The family’s Wilmington, N.C. home, was in need of a major update, according to Hawk, who described their kitchen and living room as “stuck in a time warp in terms of furniture, and aesthetically.” And their family bathroom was like “a hallway cave.”
Since he’s based in San Diego, Hawk found a local design firm, PBC Design + Build, through Houzz to oversee the redo.
Together they overhauled and combined the living area and kitchen, opening up the space but keeping the lodge-like feel that Kerry loves. They also made sure that Ray’s memory wasn’t lost in the makeover.
“If anyone defines what sentimental value means, it would be Kerry,” says Hawk. “There are things that are very much associated with Ray — the iconic cross that was his first skateboard graphic.”
The result, a brighter and more functional take on the family’s existing style, he says, subtly honors him “in a way that doesn’t overshadow the entire household.”
When she finally gets to see the completed space, including the newly combined rooms, Overman breaks down in tears. “It’s like one big space that we can all enjoy. I never would have thought to open it up. It’s beautiful. It’s perfect,” she says.
In addition to removing the interior wall, the design team of Dave Spetrino and Chrissy Absi Bonney, shared a Houzz idea book with Hawk to pick out new fixtures, including a modern-yet-rustic light fixture to go over the family’s existing dining table of reclaimed barn wood. They also stole space from an underutilized closet to create a lighter, brighter bathroom for the girls, and repurposed a pair of barn doors to hide the TV.
“She loves it, so mission accomplished. She loves it more than I even imagined,” says Hawk, adding, “I love this family and I’m so thankful to be part of it.”