We’ve been longtime fans of architectural designer Tom Givone, who weaves handsomely weathered building materials into his renovation projects, whether heâs converting upstate New York barns into events pavilions or sprucing up his own clapboarded Manhattan townhouse. (For evidence, see Givoneâs four-year renovation of a dilapidated 1820 farmhouse in the Catskills: The Country Rental: A Floating Farmhouse in Upstate New York.) Here are some surprising ways he incorporates antique parts from his stockpiles into new construction, and why he loves their flaws.
1. When sourcing sinks from salvage, consider the fittings.
âIâve reused antique ones made of concrete, stone, metal, porcelain enamel,” Givone says. “If you need larger holes for modern valves, almost anything can be carefully drilled through or cut by torches.â (Givone used a found apron-front sink in the Floating Farmhouse and installed the fixtures directly into the countertop, negating the need for specifically-sized holes.)
2. Treat vintage baths as focal points.
âNew ones can be wrapped in salvaged wood, and old ones can be wrapped in stainless steel. When you have planes of new materials as backdrops, it shifts the dynamics and the antiques become like art objects.â
3. Don’t abandon the idea of salvaged hardware if you can’t find a matching set.
“If the knobs around a room donât match, as long as everythingâs approximately the same age, it still feels like it goes together. Time can be another design element that resonates.â
4. Embrace crookedness.
âA door thatâs a little crooked, with paint thatâs crackledâthe imperfections add to the charm. Youâre using the passage of time, in a sense, as a design tool.”
5. Seek out unexpected experts.
âOver my New York kitchen table, I hung a heavy beautiful light that was used at a wharf,” Givone says. “I had the dents in it banged out at an auto repair shop. I get creative about how to repair what I find.â
6. Don’t discard bits and pieces.
Consider it deconstructed salvage. Some ideas for stone and terracotta ornament: âCorbels can be supports for benches. Stone window lintels can be used for steps outdoors,” Givone says. “A white marble slab, maybe from the top of an elaborate buffet, can work beautifully as a hearth. If you find an object you love, get it. Youâll find a way to use it. In the right context, it will be a knockout.â
7. Don’t just go to estate salesâask to sleuth the estate.
âDoors, siding, molding, that my neighbors threw outâI harvest everything,” Givone says. “When I go to tag sales and yard sales, and thereâs nothing out for sale that I want, I ask if I can go into the barn or garage or basement: âYou mind if I go poke around?â And sometimes thatâs where I find treasure. If you have your radar out, youâll find things.â
To get the Floating Farmhouse look, seeÂ Steal This Look: The Ultimate Farmhouse Kitchen. And for more in our series on salvage, seeÂ Expert Advice: What to Source from Salvage, with Zio & Sons.
More salvaged finds:
- Before and After: AÂ Buzzfeed Founderâs Renovated Rowhouse, Budget Edition
- A Showroom in Italy Where Everything Is Made from Salvaged Materials
- A Brownstone in Brooklyn, Reborn