120 OCEAN WALK
Architect: EARL COMBS, c. 1968. Renovation: MICHAEL GOTTFRIED, c. 1984.
In several homes in the Pines, Earl Combs engaged in tempestuous relationships with octagons. This is his most elaborate example, which was published in House and Garden in 1969 and Architectural Digest in 1985.
The interior spaces of this house are almost spectacularly impractical: its three stories contain just two bedrooms. All is given over to a three-story atrium that takes in the ocean views. But this very impracticality tells us something about the atmosphere in the Pines in the 60’s and 70’s. These houses were not burdened by the need for closet space and other bourgeois refinements. They just needed to be artful, sociable, and a little bit flamboyant.
Composer Tommy Tune, who regularly jogged past the towering home in the 1980’s, came to think of it as “the Emerald City done in cedar.” It was a perfect fit for the 6’-6” Texan’s lanky proportions, and he put his own stamp on its interior in the 1980’s with the assistance of designer Michael Gottfried. The home sustained damage during Hurricane Sandy which, as of 2016, has not been repaired.
Black and White Photos: House and Garden/Helms. Close-up facade: Warren McDowell. Color Photos: Architectural Digest/Peter Vitale. Poster: Courtesy FIPHPS. Illustration: Ferron Bell courtesy FIPHPS.