In the Hamptons, a modern home fit for a Bond villain
The Hamptons’ experimental mid-century modern architecture has long been a source of fascination for many in the design world — including Timothy Godbold, an interior designer based in Southampton, New York. So in the fall of 2019, when he noticed an unusual modern home in the city for sale, he was intrigued.
What’s even more interesting is that it was built in 1973 by Eugene L. Futterman, a name he didn’t recognize.
The 1,700-square-foot house was angular, with two intersecting planes, a triangular roof, and a master bedroom that rose to the treetops like a periscope. But the interior was old and the cedar exterior had been repaired with mismatched shingles, so the house languished on the market. “It was really weird, and the price was really good,” Godbold, 55, said.
“The moment I saw it, I thought: ‘Oh, this is going to be a black house,'” he continued. “The look of the house was absolutely stunning, but the different shades of wood were distracting to the eye. Painting it a solid color really brought the architecture together.
The asking price was $925,000, but it was offered much lower and closed at $832,500 in January 2020.
Several months later, Mr. Godbold created Hamptons 20 Century Modern, an organization dedicated to preserving modern homes in the area. But at home, he was not beholden to the past.
After moving in, he began planning a comprehensive overhaul of the interior and grounds. His goal: to combine the feel of his architecturally ambitious childhood home in Perth, Australia, with the ambience of a villain’s lair from a James Bond movie.
“I’ve always been obsessed with James Bond villain lairs,” Godbold said, citing the films “Thunderball” and “Moonraker” as sources of inspiration.
“I’m not married. I don’t have a partner who says, ‘No, honey, don’t do that,'” he explained. “It’s just me, so I can do what I want.”
While arriving home, he designed a series of bluestone cantilevered steps that ran through the garden and were lit from below, so that they appeared to hover in the light. It also hides the built-in speakers. “I can create any mood I want,” he said. “If I was having a party and wanted 70s disco, it would be in the drawer.”
The round steel fire pit is surrounded by a terrace complete with small and large black pebble mosaics—a design based on the “nuclear symbol,” says Godbold, which also reminds him of the Rio coffee table designed by Charlotte Perriand.
In the living room, he installed a short wall slanted so that it looms over a 1960s sectional sofa upholstered in crisp white wool. There is a large pot filled with monstera plants high up on the wall. Below, the existing fireplace has a new look reminiscent of a step pyramid.
“It’s based on Moonraker,” he said. “Do you remember when he goes to Brazil and he walks into the dugout and there are all the angled walls?”
But the living room isn’t just a tribute to 007. “This is also Paul Rudolph,” said Godbold, mentioning the name of the revered 20th-century American architect known for his geometric installations. “He’s one of my idols.”
For the light switches and dimmers, Mr. Godbold chose metal toggle switches and knurled knobs from Buster & Punch that look capable of firing machine guns or ejector seats.
Naturally, a few well-funded villains build hideouts solely for the purpose of organizing dastardly deeds. Luxury is often a priority, and Mr. Godbold was careful not to fall short of that goal. In the master bedroom, he placed his bed on a carpeted platform with lighting underneath and Belgian linen curtains surrounding it, making it feel like a cocoon. He then knocked down a wall to open up the space in front of his bathroom, where he added Equiton ribbed fibercement panels to the walls and a bathtub under the skylights.
For one of the two guest rooms, he designed a custom stainless steel bed with a smokey gray limestone headboard and a built-in desk as a footstool. In the dining room, he created a table by placing a custom terrazzo top on a West Elm planter — “a $10,000 stone top on a $400 base.”
Although he spent lavishly on some private pieces, Mr. Godbold spent little money elsewhere. In order to keep renovation costs down to about $350,000, he lived in the house during the 18-month project, which he completed last August, and served as his own general contractor.
“I didn’t have a kitchen, just a microwave, plates and paper cups,” he said. “But I did it, and it was great.”
He estimates the house might be worth twice what he spent on it. “No one wanted this house,” he said. “It was sitting in the market. But I knew exactly what I was going to do when I saw it.
If others follow his example, he added, “I hope they have as much fun as I did.”
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