Soon after purchasing a picturesque lakeside property an hour and a half north of Manhattan, a couple with school-age children found themselves facing a new question: how to build a bespoke vacation home in time for their kids’ next summer break?
On the recommendation of a close friend, the couple flew to Texas to meet the team behind the award-winning architecture firm Lake|Flato, whose Porch House program seemed to offer the perfection solution to the family’s quick-build needs.
Lake|Flato’s prefabricated system uses "porch" elements as the connective tissue between modules. It promised a faster construction schedule than traditional site-built structures, impressive energy performance, and a flexible, customizable design.
These factors, combined with the firm’s sensitive approach to the landscape, convinced the couple that they could attain their desired 4,400-square-foot home within an ambitious construction schedule of just eight months.
The project also presented a golden opportunity for Lake|Flato to finally collaborate with Bensonwood, a New Hampshire–based company specializing in high-performance panelization that’s located just three hours north of the clients’ property.
"We have built Porch House in many ways over the years with many different partners," explain Lake|Flato’s Bill Aylor and Evan Morris. "Clinton Corners marked a concerted shift toward panelized construction and our first collaboration with Bensonwood."
The Clinton Corners Residence comprises three distinct gabled structures constructed with prefabricated SIPs. A detached guesthouse and a two-story family bedroom wing are based on standard Porch House floor plans, while the vaulted barn-inspired great room—connected to the bedroom structure by a glass vestibule—is a custom build with an exposed heavy timber frame made of white oak.
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Building the project through New York’s winter months was a challenge, notes Aylor and Morris. After completing site work, the panels for the guesthouse and two-story family wing were delivered and installed over three weeks in November and December, while the timber framing and panels for the great room were installed after the Christmas holidays in one week in January.
"Having a place for their family to gather and for their children to experience the lake and the surrounding landscape, especially in the summer months, was a primary objective for the project," add Aylor and Morris. "Prefab construction allowed us to compress the on-site construction schedule to eight months and ensure that we maximized the enjoyment of the property during the critical months that the kids are out from school."
The home also boasts high levels of energy performance. The super-insulated prefabricated panels measure R35 in the walls and R55 in the roof, they’re assembled to create an extremely airtight and efficient building envelope with triple-glazed windows.
"Once on-site assembly begins, the house is weatherproof in a matter of days or weeks, which means there is very little time for moisture or inclement weather to create mold issues which are common in traditional construction," add Aylor and Morris.
Building on the success of the Clinton Corners project, Lake|Flato now has Bensonwood projects in the works around the country. The firm has completed ten prefab Porch House project to date.
Builder/ General Contractor: Ingrained Wood Working, Inc./ Jason Jones
Structural Engineer/Prefab Contractor: Bensonwood
Landscape Design Company: Susan Wisniewski Landscape
Lighting Design: byrdwaters DESIGN
Interior Design: Emily Summers Design Associates
Cabinetry Design/ Installation: Henrybuilt
MEP Engineer: Apex Engineering
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