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Designer Reinvents Aging Farmhouse

FRIDAY, MAY 22, 2015

By Jill M. Speegle

Here’s a farmhouse with a modern twist, seriously.

Twist Farmhouse, in Falls, PA, was not only a project to meticulously restore a rundown 1850s homestead to its former glory, but also a journey to provide its owners with unique nod to the past, according to designer Tom Givone.

Twist Farmhouse
Images: Courtesy of Tom Givone

Self-taught designer Tom Givone seamlessly blends a modern addition into a renovated farmhouse in Pennsylvania.

In a project description, Givone says owners Rose and Steve Smith, both overseas educators, had owned the rural abode for 26 years.

The couple had intended to fix up the property over time and retire there; however, when “one problem led to another” they ultimately reached a point where “burn it down” was the only option they felt was left.

Enter Givone, a self-taught New York-based designer who specializes in bringing aging properties back to life in unconventional and beautiful ways.

Sixteen months later, the Smith home was restored, including original wide plank floors and hand hewn beams, and given an updated look, with a striking, torqued-volume addition.

A Family Connection

The shape of the project was inspired by its location.

“[Rose] grew up, with her seven siblings, in the old farmhouse right across the street,” Givone explained. “Her brother still lives there, and like the creek that runs through both properties, family flows freely back and forth.

Twist Farmhouse

The twisted addition allows the owner to gaze upon her childhood home and the surrounding fields as it nods towards them.

“I imagined this family bond as a physical force, like a gravitational field between the two homes, acting on the addition and ‘pulling’ it towards the original farmhouse across the street,” the designer said.

Thus, the addition employed a flowing curvilinear form.

“Twisting it in this way opened up new sightlines as well, allowing my client to view her childhood home and the surrounding fields as it ‘nods’ towards them,” he noted.

Challenging, Rewarding Makeover

Admittedly, Givone said the project posed “immense challenges,” including finding the resources to build such an unusual, complex form.

Twist Farmhouse

Original wide-plank floors were discovered beneath layers of linoleum and plywood and restored, according to project details.

To that end, he tapped local architects Joe Rominski and Rick Hammer of JRA Associates in Scranton, PA, who helped model and design the five curving columns that form the skeleton of the new addition and make its undulating walls possible, he said.

He also sourced a Chicago-based steel company, Chicago Metal Rolled Products, specializing in roller coaster track, to fabricate the columns.

The frame was then clad in bowing anodized aluminum siding.

From there, the project team performed painstaking restoration work and cutting edge construction.

Twist Farmhouse

“What surprised me most about the project was my clients’ willingness to go all in with me on this unusual vision for their home; a total leap of faith,” said Givone.

“What surprised me most about the project was my clients’ willingness to go all in with me on this unusual vision for their home; a total leap of faith,” said Givone.

The experience was humbling, he added.

You can see more of Givone’s work here.


Jill M. Speegle

Jill Speegle is the Editor of Durability + Design News. She earned her B.A. in journalism and English as well as her J.D. from the University of Arkansas. In Sketches, Jill shares her thoughts on a number of topics that may be of interest to the D+D community, including architecture, interior design, green building, historic restoration, and whatever else catches her radar.



Tagged categories: Architecture; Color; Design; Green building; Interior design; Restoration; Aesthetics; Architectural history; Building design; Building facades; Maintenance + Renovation; Modernism; North America; Rehabilitation/Repair; Renovation

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