great rooms

Cloud City in Tribeca

Inna Khidekel and Bert van der Walt let their designer, Timothy Godbold, surprise them.

The artwork on the overhang is by Malcolm Hill. Photo: David Mitchell
The artwork on the overhang is by Malcolm Hill. Photo: David Mitchell

During the pandemic, Inna Khidekel and Bert van der Walt hatched a plan to move to Florida. They both work in finance — she is senior managing director and global co-head of client solutions at Bridge Investment Group, he the co-founding partner and portfolio manager of Tectonic Investors — and had been renting a loft in Tribeca that would be too small with their second child on the way. But after they found a house in Miami, Khidekel’s company asked that she stay put, so they went looking for a new place in Manhattan.

“This was actually our first purchase in the city,” Khidekel says of the Tribeca duplex they bought in early 2022. It’s in an 1881 cast-iron building that had once been a textile factory and was redone by the Pritzker Prize–winning architect Shigeru Ban in 2019. “We felt that it fulfilled that criteria of what we were looking for,” Khidekel says. “That feeling that we were hoping to get in Florida.”

Once they bought it, there was the question of how to live in it. “Both Bert and I appreciate good design,” Khidekel says, “and we know what we like, but we could not possibly do it ourselves; that was not even in the cards.” A friend suggested they meet with Timothy Godbold, who worked at Ralph Lauren in London and New York before launching his own firm in 2016.

“The really big thing,” he says of his clients, “was they are young and they wanted a house that they could entertain in.”

The space, he felt, had to flow well. “The one thing I’ve always hated about these lofty apartments are those columns in the middle of the room,” he says Godbold. His solution in the dining area was to float a table off a column so that it “was integrated into the design and wasn’t just sitting there.” It references a table from the 1930s by Hans and Wassili Luckhardt and Alfons Anker.

Godbold also referenced his favorite sci-fi movie sets for decorative elements. “The plasterwork was inspired by a wall detail I had seen in Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back.” The dressing room gives a nod to the Fortress of Solitude in the 1978 Superman movie.

Khidekel and van der Walt gave Godbold a lot of leeway. “It wasn’t completely blind trust,” van der Walt explains, “but we knew he was going in the direction we would love to go. And after a while, he came up with ideas — even if it sounded a little bit nutty, it worked.” He chuckles, then adds, “So after a while, you just keep going with him. If it works, it works; let it go.”

Timothy Godbold designed the furniture and the carpet. The chandelier is by Lindsey Adelman Photo: David Mitchell
Godbold replaced a bulky cabinet that broke up the family room with arched shelving to keep the area open. “What we liked about Tim,” Inna Khidekel says, “is that the contracting is integrated with the design. He looked at it like a holistic project.” Photo: David Mitchell
He floarted the dining table off a column so that it “was integrated into the design and wasn’t just sitting there.” Photo: David Mitchell
“I want to do very geometric shapes on the walls,” Godbold told Khidekel of the office area. “I literally had no idea what he was talking about,” she recalls. The Iliad desk is from May Furniture, and the light fixtures are Bert Frank. Photo: David Mitchell
This light fixture is by Apparatus Studio. Photo: David Mitchell
“The light fixture in the dressing room is from Atelier Alain Ellouz Paris and was inspired by the Fortress of Solitude in the Superman movie of 1978, which I loved as a kid.” Godbold says. The closet doors are covered in antique glass. Photo: David Mitchell
The walls of the bedroom are covered in fluted plaster. Photo: David Mitchell
The wall sculpture in the bedroom sitting area is by Etienne Moyat. Photo: David Mitchell

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