Minimalist, Modernist, and Exotic, Too

A Texas family gave full rein to their architect and designers
Conrad and Josie Goerl’s East Hampton house
Conrad and Josie Goerl’s East Hampton house, a 13,800-square-foot model of green energy and custom design. Durell Godfrey

   When Conrad and Josie Goerl’s East Hampton house, on about two acres overlooking Northwest Harbor, was transformed from a 5,000-square-foot 1970s’ residence into a 13,800-square-foot model of green energy and custom design, it also got an infusion of color, taken from the hot palette of Ms. Goerl’s native Brazil. 
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    Nick Martin, the Sagaponack architect who undertook the renovation, is, he said, “continuing the evolution,” working with the Goerls to add features and fine-tune the “minimalist modernist” bones of the house while keeping the entire site in mind.
    Mr. Martin shifted the approach to the house to enhance privacy, and added new wings, bridged by a hallway on the second floor, and a third floor, with angles that interact with elements of the property.
    The lines of the house are parallel to the waterfront bluff, and a moat-like “meditation pond” surrounds the house, a watery anchor for those parts of the house that hover over it. A recently planted Chinese elm hinges two parts of the house on the bay side.
    Mr. Martin and his firm worked on the grounds with Silas Marder, a landscape designer, and Richard Coleman, a Houston decorator, brought in the color and nautical schemes.
    The living room, where the colors of the rainbow reside, has walls of tall windows girded by steel and a water view past the striking shapes of pruned trees on a sloping lawn. Lines of a multicolored, striped settee are repeated in the wire bases of bucket-like chairs set around one of several glass-topped tables. Squiggly lines of red, blue, orange, and green are seemingly in motion on the carpet and, in a feature that repeats throughout the house, the rug is monogrammed “Goerl.”
    A light-blue sofa echoes the colors of the expanse of water outside, but it is punctuated by bright throw pillows. Table bases that look like silvered tree stumps, and metal branches stretching across the front of a black cabinet, echo the outdoor view.    The elements of each room are many, and finely detailed, and the hues vary in each: purples and silver in the master bedroom, bright greens of a forest in an Oriental-themed guest suite, and flaming orange in a “pool den.” A hermetically sealed alternative to a separate pool house, it abuts the main floor and prevents moisture and humidity from seeping into the house.
    The surface of the wall behind the bed in the mauve, deep purple, silver, and black master suite is a textured, clear, glittery plastic. Purple plush-covered circles affixed to it create a headboard. A blown-glass chandelier, and a row of large multicolored glass vases atop the wall but below the ceiling, hover above. A studded purple throne chair sits in a corner, and two silver skulls sit on an ornate black lacquered chest with gold pulls.
    Golden “stumps” punctuate the main bedroom in the guest suite, which includes a children’s room and two bathrooms, one with Turkish tile on the walls. The Asian forest theme continues with a lattice cabinet, bright green ottoman, bamboo, and dishes of moss and stones.
    One of the children’s rooms is in a separate section, which includes a billiards room. The lower floor contains a media room with a 3-D projector and the stereo system controls for the entire house. It is next to a wine cellar with its own geo­thermal climate controls, wire shelving, and cabinetry. It has room for 4,300 bottles and a stone tasting bar in the center of the room. From a mirrored gym next door, one can look into the wine room.
    Mr. Goerl likes to cook, and the kitchen has professional-quality appliances, including a wall-mounted salamander. It is open to the living room but can be closed off with an electronically operated metal shade. Fixtures are made of 98-percent recycled aluminum and the countertop of French lava stone. A silver light fixture that once hung in a Vegas nightclub is suspended over the table.
    The Goerls and their three children, who live in Houston, where Mr. Goerl is an oil and energy portfolio manager, use the house primarily as a summer retreat. It is set up for outdoor entertaining and fun.    There is an outdoor “Brazilian kitchen” not far from the pool, with a Brazilian-style barbecue roaster. Clean lines continue around the pool, hot tub, and footbath, with a glass surround.
 There is a D.J.’s sound system in the pool den, a Zen garden, and a duplex tree fort for the kids, with a zip line from higher elevations toward the water. A museum-quality Nantucket sharpie, restored by a local boat builder, sits on the lawn. Near the treehouse, a thick slab of wood creates a table of Mr. Martin’s design, surrounded by a grove of young redwood trees.
    The architect designed built-in cabinets throughout the house and some 20 pieces of furniture. He worked with consultants to develop custom flooring of carbonized, engineered red oak with a limed finish. He worked with a glass manufacturer on bathroom shelves and collaborated with lighting designers on the fixtures, including, in one of the rooms, a plastic lighting column.
    The furniture Mr. Martin designed includes a large kitchen table of polished stainless steel and Costa Rican wood with a lighted water feature, an outdoor steel-and-marble table with a fire trough, and a wall unit of lighted cubes.
  Other custom touches include walls of a specially created three-layered plaster product, travertine vanities, and soundless electronic window shades. Martin Architects’ in-house engineer planned the steelwork, including stainless steel rails along glass-enclosed stairways. A high-tech system allows the homeowners to oversee the house and operate its controls from afar.
    A candidate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification as a “green” designer, Mr. Martin incorporated a 16-kilowatt solar energy system that provides close to the house’s total energy needs, and a geothermal heating system housed in its own spotless basement-level room. The carbon footprint of the house is close to zero, he said.
    Through the process of constructing the singular residence, Mr. Martin said, he and the Goerls have become friends. He credited them with “really allowing us, with our vision, to manifest and create all these wonderful things.”


Thank you for the great article! You can find more pictures of the house here:
what a joke. 13 thousand square feet is not a green choice. especially for an oil fund manager. Nice design, but please, no capitulating on the truth.
Looks more like a Brazilian bordello on the inside.
Agree w/sinead. How is a 13k square foot house green?