In 1976, young Timothy Godbold was watching television in his Perth, Australia, living room, but his mind was thousands of miles away on a fictional lunar station called Moonbase Alpha, the setting for the British show Space: 1999. Godbold was obsessed with the program, and not just because he enjoyed dreaming about faraway galaxies. The set design, with its undulating walls, sleek plastic components and low modular furniture caused him to imagine exotic lands—specifically New York City, where he hoped to live one day. Years later when a grown-up Godbold, now a designer in the U.S., began working on a Manhattan apartment, he tapped this early interiors infatuation for inspiration.
“This is a newly built apartment and a blank slate,” he says. “The challenge with new homes is to add personality and depth, and I thought about the sci-fi programs I loved while growing up.” Drawing on the futuristic elements from shows like Space: 1999 and the movie Blade Runner, as well as the natural textures and color palettes that were the hallmark of many 1970s-era programs, Godbold, along with general contractor William Ramos, created a house that could be described in the parlance of the era as “groovy.”
It starts in the living room, where red oak panels create curved walls and Frank Lloyd Wright-designed tiles make for textured accents. A series of ethereal alabaster ring light fixtures, a pair of Floating Pagoda armchairs with lacquer-and-brass accents, and a low-slung sofa with a mod aesthetic create a look that’s original but wouldn’t be totally unfamiliar to John Koenig (the fictional leader of Moonbase Alpha). Key to the style is the mix of vintage (the Italian travertine coffee table) and new (the Godbold-designed rug), a dichotomy employed throughout. “I used to work in the fashion industry,” the designer recalls. “One time, I was looking at vintage clothing with a coworker, and she commented that old pieces have so much soul. I feel the same about vintage furniture. The line between slick and modern and cold and off-putting can be a fine one. Vintage pieces bring a soulful attitude to an interior, and I’ve used many here.”
The owners (a married couple) viewed the apartment as a place tailored to just the two of them, and a decision was made to turn the second bedroom into a cozy den for relaxation. Here, modern meets earthy with elements like a vintage Kappa lounge chair and a set of steel tables set against a backdrop of Ultrasuede-covered walls and custom shelves crafted with travertine and wood. “Perth is wonderful, but it is one of the most isolated cities on Earth. When I was growing up, the American programs I watched were all filmed in Los Angeles, and most of the interiors personified a West Coast style,” Godbold says. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was studying those interiors with their natural textures, and brown-and-burnt sienna color palettes, and you can see that influence here.”
But it’s silver screen inspiration and another era that shines in the powder room, where more 3D tiles line the walls. “It reminded me of the tile you see when Rick Deckard enters the Tyrell Corporation in Blade Runner,” says Godbold. “This apartment was built without molding, so to add a sense of architectural interest, I used tiles above the windows in every room.”
Indeed in this residence, small details resonate as much as larger ones. “I love accessories, I always have,” Godbold says. “I believe they finish a house. Here, I had the chance to source everything from the doorknobs, to the Jeremy Anderson ceramics in the living room, to the plates in the cabinets. It allowed me to flesh out the entire experience of living here.”
The clients appreciate those details and, according to the designer, love living in their new pad. “They trusted my aesthetic,” says Godbold. “Having clients like that allows you to explore design.” But what would the boy who dreamed of living in America think? Says Godbold: “I think that, if little Timmy saw this apartment, he’d be blown away that he did it. We are all the sum of the experiences we have stored, and I drew on mine to create this home.”