An Ad Copywriter Edits His Manhattan Row House—and Finds a New Calling

An Ad Copywriter Edits His Manhattan Row House—and Finds a New Calling

Add to
By Paul Wong
Tom Givone reworked a rare 19th-century row house in upper Manhattan on his own, and found a new career along the way.

Back in 1998, Tom Givone was an advertising copywriter living in a tiny rent-controlled studio in New York’s West Village, dealing with a pain-in-the-neck landlord who was always trying to raise the rent. With the little bit of money he’d saved, he decided it was time to look for a place to buy. He ended up falling in love with a double row of 20 identical high-stooped wood houses, straight out of a Victorian fairy tale, on a cobblestone cul-de-sac called Sylvan Terrace. Located in the Washington Heights neighborhood of upper Manhattan, the houses—designed in 1882 by architect Gilbert Robinson Jr. to resemble an 18th-century mansion nearby—are anomalies in brick-and-concrete New York. 

Get More From Dwell

Subscribe to Dwell+ to get everything you already love about Dwell, plus exclusive home tours, video features, how-to guides, access to the Dwell archive, and more.

Try Dwell+ For Free

Already a Dwell+ subscriber? Sign In

Introducing Dwell+

Learn More

Exclusive Home Tours

Unlock premium stories only available to subscribers.

Visit the best modern homes in the world with video tours, original photography, and more.

The Dwell Archive

Dig into years of Dwell magazine.

Browse by date or issue on any device, and check out our curated rotation of favorite stories.


The definitive list of products and professionals.

Explore our essential resource for finding everyone—from designers to brands—featured in Dwell.