Thomas Home

by Len Prosseda on September 29, 2014

Client: Thomas Home

When Dr. Tudor Thomas retired from his successful career as a dental surgeon, he and his wife Alicia decided it was time for a major change.  They purchased a 12 acre property along Penns Creek between State College and Lewisburg, PA, and set out to build their dream retirement home.  They called on LeFevre Wilk Architects, LLC (LWA) to translate their vision from concept to reality.

The initial idea for the home was to copy the style of a cabin that Tudor’s parents rented in Maine for many years.  But after a year and a half of trying to work through design details the couple scrapped the initial idea.  They hired LeFevre Wilk Architects to help them visualize and articulate their ideal living space and bring their dream to life.

“We wanted to showcase our art collection”, Dr. Thomas said. “Remember the Kohler Faucet commercial where they take the faucet to the architect and tell him, ‘build around this’?  We said, ‘Jeff, we want to build a house around this picture.’  Most people would have thought we were a bit off but Jeff said, ‘Oh, I get it.’  So we started the design process from there.”

At the end of the driveway visitors are greeted by a welcoming arch that draws you to the front entrance of the home.  Step inside the hallway and experience a mini art gallery where you can explore one beautiful piece of art at a time.

The floor plan is a visual maze designed to draw you in slowly, deliberately revealing the beauty and uniqueness of the interior space.  One spectacular print is highlighted as the focal point at the end of the hallway.  Look to the right and the next reveal is a floor-to-ceiling fireplace flanked by a spectacular view through a wall of windows looking out onto the creek.  The windows stream light into the clearstory creating a bright and vivid atmosphere.

To the left of the fireplace is a cozy living room and an inviting open office area.  To the right of the hearth is a spacious kitchen with an island bar capped with concrete countertops.  At the far end of the kitchen the breakfast nook is partially wrapped by windows looking out to the creek.  Behind this intimate dining area is a massive wall of cherry cabinets that define the space and separate it from the rest of the kitchen.

Secluded at the back end of the home is the master suite.  This area includes a large master bathroom with a functional, roman-style shower and a walk-in closet.  French doors in the bedroom open onto a private deck with a hot tub and another spectacular view of the water.

The home is heated and cooled by a geo-thermal system with radiant in-floor heat beneath stained concrete floors.  Hand-cut stone with minimal concrete joints surrounds the base of the house to cover the slab-on-grade foundation that sets the home above the 100 year flood plane.  “We wanted to have the rocks really stand out”, Tudor said.  “The horizontal rocks scattered throughout the stonework cast shadows to give the wall and fireplace depth and contrast.”

The creek-front patio spans the length of the house and is lined with seating to enjoy the natural beauty of the woods and water.  At the end of the patio just outside the breakfast nook an outdoor kitchen provides a place for Tudor to practice his culinary skills.

The outcome illustrates how the Adaptive Architecture Process helps the homeowners and architectural design team visualize opportunities and translate aspirations into 3-demential form that exploits the full potential of the chosen site.  The Thomases were looking for something other than a traditional, ordinary, off-the-shelf box home.  Working through the Adaptive Architecture Process, they achieved a personally customized living environment that fits their tastes and their lifestyle.

Contact LeFevre Wilk, LLC today at (570) 374-5130 to discover a new way of designing commercial properties, residences and educational facilities.