The experimental mid-century architecture of the Hamptons has long been a draw to 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 city home for sale, he was intrigued.
More interesting: It was built in 1973 by Eugene L. Futterman, a name he didn’t recognize.
The 1,700-square-foot home was all angles, with two planes of cross, triangular in shape, and a primary bedroom that rose to the treetops like a telescope. But the interior was dated and the cedar exterior had been repaired with mismatched clapboards, so the house had dwindled on the market. “It was really exotic, and it was a really good price,” he said. Mr. Godbold55 years old.
He continued, “The moment I saw it, I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be a black house.’ The shape of the house was so striking, but the different shades of wood were distracting to the eye. Painting it in a uniform color made the architecture cohesive.”
The asking price was $925,000, but it was a much lower offer and closed at $832,500 in January 2020.
Several months later, Mr. Godbold founded Hamptons 20th Century Modern, an organization dedicated to preserving modern homes in the area. But in his home, he was not beholden to the past.
After moving in, he started planning to fix up the interior and grounds. His goal: to combine the feel of his architecturally ambitious childhood home in Perth, Australia, with the vibe of a villain’s lair from a James Bond movie.
“I’ve always been obsessed with the dens of a James Bond villain,” Mr. Godbold said, citing “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 whatever I want.”
Leading up to his arrival at the house, he designed a series of cantilevered stone steps that wind across the garden and are lit from below, so they appear to swirl the light. They also hide the built-in speakers. “I can create any mood I want,” he said. “If I’m having a party and I want ’70s disco, it’s on the stairs.”
Mr. Godbold said the round steel fire pit is surrounded by a porch finished in sections of small and large mosaics of black pebbles—a design based on “nuclear code,” which also reminds him of Charlotte Perriand’s Rio coffee table.
In the living room, he installed a short wall angled so that it looms above a ’60s sectional sofa upholstered in fluffy white wool. A large planter filled with monster plants sits atop the wall. Below, the existing fireplace has a new profile reminiscent of a stepped pyramid.
“It’s based on ‘Moonraker,’” he said. “Do you remember when he goes to Brazil and comes into the dugout and there are all the angles?”
But the living room isn’t just an homage to 007. “This is also Paul Rudolph,” Mr. Godbold said, referring to the venerable 20th-century American architect known for his geometric buildings. “He is 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 operating machine guns or ejector seats.
Of course, few well-financed villains build dens solely for the purpose of organizing dastardly business. Well-being is usually a priority, and Mr. Godbold has taken care not to fall short in this number. In the primary bedroom, he put his bed on a carpeted platform with a light underneath and a Belgian linen curtain, to feel like a cocoon. Then he demolished a wall to open up the space to his bathroom, adding Equitone’s ribbed fiber-cement panels to the walls and a bathtub below the skylights.
For one of his guest rooms, he designed a custom stainless-steel bed with a taupe limestone headboard and built-in desk like an ottoman. In the dining room, he created a table by placing a custom terrazzo top on a planter from West Elm—”a $10,000 stone top on a $400 base.”
Although he did show off some private bits, Mr. Godbold pinched his pennies elsewhere. 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 worked as his own general contractor.
“I didn’t have a kitchen—just a microwave and paper plates and cups,” he said. “But I did, and it was cool.”
He estimates that the house might be worth twice what he spent on it. He said, “Nobody wants this house.” “It was on 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.”
For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here.