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A Mind-Bending Renovation Brings a Bold, Modern Addition to an Old Farmhouse

written by:
April 9, 2015
Originally published in The New American Home
as
Twisted Sister
Self-taught designer Tom Givone continues his practice of updating 19th-century farmhouses with unexpected details and salvaged materials with his latest creation—a torqued-volume addition to an 1850s family homestead in Pennsylvania.
Twisted Farmhouse designed by Tom Givone in Falls, Pennsylvania

Tom Givone’s clients, Rose and Steve Smith, teach overseas and have owned their house for 26 years. They intended to fix it up slowly and retire there. As one problem led to another, they reached a point when they felt their only option, as Rose put it, was to “burn it down.”

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Twisted Farmhouse porch designed by Tom Givone in Falls, Pennsylvania

Givone calls this project a companion to his Floating Farmhouse, featured in Dwell in 2012

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2 / 22
Twisted Sister farmhouse addition with large windows

A suspended balcony on the second floor lets light pass easily through the house.

Courtesy of 
Jonathan O’Beirne
3 / 22
Twisted Sister farmhouse addition wood frame

Chicago Metal Rolled Products, a company that specializes in roller coaster track, fabricated the addition’s columns using a technique called “round tube bending”— a cold process by which straight 8-foot-long hollow tubes are pushed through a series of dies and rollers to bend them into a desired shape.

Courtesy of 
Tom Givone
4 / 22
Twisted Sister farmhouse addition in process

"You sketch a concept, model it, but to see it actually take shape is always surprising." Givone says. "Building this specific structure, that payoff was more dramatic. It looked just as I had imagined and rendered it, by hand in Play-Doh, all those months before."

Courtesy of 
Tom Givone
5 / 22
Twisted Sister farmhouse addition with angled corner windows

Construction took 16 months from start to finish.

Courtesy of 
Tom Givone
6 / 22
Twisted Sister farmhouse with a new kitchen

The new custom kitchen is situated in the original structure. The window is a new commercial unit with an operable frameless center pane and was set so that the countertop could tuck right underneath it to create a 1/4-inch shadow line. 

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9.5.2 Walnut Bread Box

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Adónde Stackable Stoneware Fruit Bowl

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Bottle Grinders Set

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7 / 22
Marble countertop in the Twisted Sister farmhouse

Givone sourced a slab of marble for the sink and countertop from Thompson Stone in Montague, New Jersey.

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Eva Vase

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MU Flatware Place Setting

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Norm Slate Plate

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8 / 22
Bright modern kitchen in the Twisted Farmhouse

The updated kitchen is outfitted with stainless steel appliances, including a Bosch range, a Fisher & Paykel refrigerator, and a Frigidaire range hood. The faucet is Hudson Reed.

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Shapes Dhurrie Rug

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Mami Kettle

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Teema Dinner Plate

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9 / 22
Twisted Farmhouse with a wide, open porch

The client requested a porch, so Givone built one with columns made of anodized aluminum, the same material used in the siding of the addition, and stainless steel cables. "Even though it's a traditional, covered porch, it has very modern materials," he says.

Courtesy of 
Jonathan O’Beirne
10 / 22
Sitting area overlooking the dining room in the Twisted Sister farmhouse

A sitting area outside the master bedroom overlooks the dining room.

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Strap Magazine Basket

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Kiki Sofa - 2-Seater

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Ombre Throw

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Kiki Sofa - 3 Seater

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Bauer Pottery 12 oz. Beehive Coffee Mug - White

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Hasami Porcelain Mug 15 oz. - Black

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11 / 22
Kartell 4801 chair in the master bedroom of the Twisted Sister farmhouse

Kartell’s 4801 chair occupies a corner of the master bedroom.

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Joe Colombo 4801 Armchair

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12 / 22
Master bedroom with wood floors and exposed beams in the Twisted Farmhouse

All of the home's wide-plank floors were reclaimed from the original farmhouse during the demolition process.

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Type 75 Mini Wall Lamp

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Hans Bolling Wooden Duck

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Area Ray Pillow Sham

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13 / 22
Salvaged schoolhouse sink in the Twisted Sister farmhouse

The bathroom features a salvaged 1920s schoolhouse sink from Olde Good Things. The faucet mixers are by Jado; the original single tap openings were enlarged to fit them, and the entire sink was re-glazed.

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Yoshii Linen Border Towel

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Yoshii Two-Tone Chambray Towel

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14 / 22
Modern glass shower in the Twisted Farmhouse bathroom

A glass-lined shower with a Hudson Reed showerhead adds a modern touch to the second-floor bathroom. A pane of privacy glass lets natural light enter the room. 

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15 / 22
Rough exposed wood beams in the renovated Twist Farmhouse

In the existing house, the wood beams were hidden under sheetrock and wallpaper. "I exposed them all, but I didn't let that dictate where the new walls would go," Givone says. "I let the beams fall where they may."

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16 / 22
Dining table and chairs with large windows

The new dining area is surrounded by swathes of glass. The windows were pivoted and installed at unusual angles in order to accommodate the undulating walls of the addition.

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17 / 22
Dining area with windows n the new, modern addition

The kitchen, dining room, and living room are connected in an open-plan arrangement.

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18 / 22
Bright, modern living area in the Twisted Farmhouse

A bright, modern living area opens onto the porch.

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Kiki Lounge Chair

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Nomad Shelf System

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24K Gold-Plated Cocktail Shaker

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19 / 22
Modern staircase in the renovated Twist Farmhouse

The modern staircase was built with the same salvaged wall planks that are used as flooring throughout.

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Kiki Bench - 3 Seater

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20 / 22
Twist Farmhouse floor plan

Lower level floor plan.

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Twist Farmhouse floor plan

Upper level floor plan.

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Twisted Farmhouse designed by Tom Givone in Falls, Pennsylvania

Tom Givone’s clients, Rose and Steve Smith, teach overseas and have owned their house for 26 years. They intended to fix it up slowly and retire there. As one problem led to another, they reached a point when they felt their only option, as Rose put it, was to “burn it down.”

Photo by Christopher Testani.
Project 
Twist Farmhouse
Designer 

Givone: Their only directives to me were open space and lots of light. The house was a lot like other similarly aged homes that had been updated over the years—the 70s called and wants its linoleum back. But I knew that the good stuff, like the original wide plank floors and hand-hewn beams, was lurking beneath all those layers. So the first design impetus was to bring the original house back. The second was to turn it on its ear.

My client grew up with her seven siblings in the old farmhouse right across the street. Her brother still lives there, and like the creek that runs through both properties, family flows freely back and forth. I imagined this bond as a physical force, like a gravitational field between the two homes, acting on the addition and “pulling” it toward the original farmhouse across the street. This was how I arrived at the volume’s shape—it’s a sculptural expression of family connection. Twisting it opened up new sightlines, allowing my client to view her childhood home and the surrounding fields as the structure “nods” toward those areas.


Givone: This project posed immense challenges, not least of which was finding the resources to build such an unusual, complex form; tough under any circumstances, but in a rural farming community…who was I kidding? To that end, I tapped local architects Joe Rominski and Rick Hammer of JRA Architects in Scranton, Pennsylvania. They modeled and designed the five curving columns that form the skeleton of the new addition and make its undulating walls possible.

The architects also sourced a steel company in Chicago, specializing in roller coaster track, to fabricate the columns. From there, it was about assembling a team that welcomed the twin challenges of meticulous restoration work and cutting-edge construction (they were not to be disappointed).

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. When we met, I assumed a traditional renovation would be their only interest. To be granted that level of trust was a very humbling experience. What's next for me is putting the finishing touches on my own home, a small Victorian row house in Harlem. I also have another historic farm-house renovation in the Catskills, which is presently in the design phase.

Shown in this Article

9.5.2 Walnut Bread Box

250.00  at the Dwell Store
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Adónde Stackable Stoneware Fruit Bowl

98.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Bottle Grinders Set

60.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Eva Vase

75.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

MU Flatware Place Setting

90.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Norm Slate Plate

18.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Shapes Dhurrie Rug

75.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Mami Kettle

200.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Teema Dinner Plate

26.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Strap Magazine Basket

195.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Kiki Sofa - 2-Seater

2541.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Ombre Throw

150.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Kiki Sofa - 3 Seater

3408.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Bauer Pottery 12 oz. Beehive Coffee Mug - White

28.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Hasami Porcelain Mug 15 oz. - Black

28.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Joe Colombo 4801 Armchair

3000.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Type 75 Mini Wall Lamp

155.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Hans Bolling Wooden Duck

149.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Area Ray Pillow Sham

55.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Yoshii Linen Border Towel

25.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Yoshii Two-Tone Chambray Towel

13.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Kiki Lounge Chair

1523.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Nomad Shelf System

0.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

24K Gold-Plated Cocktail Shaker

128.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

Kiki Bench - 3 Seater

2239.00  at the Dwell Store
SHOP

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