5 June 2012

sustainable home: the floating farmhouse

This renovation of an 1820's farmhouse in upstate New York stopped me in my tracks as I cruised the Dwell website last weekend. Homeowner and contractor Tom Givone was careful to be historically sensitive as well as creatively innovative all while keeping the footprint of his project as light as possible.

A new wing was erected that is similar in proportion to the original gabled structure but finished with a transparent 22-foot-tall wall of skyscraper glass. 

Barn beams were added for character and new trim work was milled from trees onsite. 

Old and new materials mix seamlessly, like this salvaged 19th century soaking tub wrapped in stainless steel. Wow. 

And the old cedar roof shingles and exterior planking as part of the new master bedroom in the addition. 

What a gem. This truly proves (to me anyway) that taking something old and making it new again is the way to go, both for sustainability and for character. You can read more at Dwell.

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  1. This really is a fantastic renovation!

  2. Sorry for the negativity of this comment but renovations like this, or new-builds labelled as green or sustainable that are unnecessarily large or excessive should not be considered ecologically responsible. While this home is beautiful and offers examples of sustainable features that are also aesthetically pleasing, it lends itself to overconsumption of materials.
    Truly eco homes should be more modest in design, purpose-built with durable and when possible, renewable materials.
    Should weekend homes, as this one is described, be so large? And sometimes such examples make eco-homes appear to luxury and out of reach for the average home owner.
    Again, sorry for being such a downer but I find the inspiration derived from these homes to be kinda green-washed.

  3. @cred

    I hear you, and for the most part agree. I usually feature small spaces when featuring sustainable design here, but I thought this reno deserved some kudos.

    Although the owner put a large addition on, for the most part, the footprint and materials were saved and reused, and some of the new materials brought in were local. This doesn't happen much yet in North America unfortunately, where the norm is to build all new and big. So the forward thinking in this design to create a "luxury" weekend home without going massively overboard with materials shipped from halfway across the world is commendable.

    We are a long way from European thinking on sustainability and conservation, and I hope that dialogues like this help inch us closer.

  4. thank you for the thoughtful retort- it 'was' my intent to add to the discussion but it can be difficult not to sound overly critical in writing, just as it can be difficult to respond without sounding defensive.

    thanks for the well-crafted reply 'and' well-crafted blog

  5. @cred

    And thank you for your thoughtful comments. I love a good discussion like this and I think it can open up new ways of thinking about design. Kudos!


  6. Hi
    This really is really a beautiful renovation! i love it . smart home


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