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.
Set on a two-acre site abutting Lake Upton in the Hudson Valley, the Clinton Corners Residence is carefully sited to respond to the lake and maximize privacy.
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.
A view of the main approach to the home. The entrance is located at the glass vestibule between the two gabled buildings.
The glass vestibule also provides access to a lake-facing outdoor deck.
Drawing inspiration from the farmhouse vernacular, the Clinton Corners Residence features gabled structures clad in western red cedar and topped with standing seam metal roofing.
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.
Bensonwood engineered and constructed the prefab timber frame, as well as the SIP envelope.
"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 house was designed for a family with young kids-it’s a place to get outside, collect specimens along the shore of the lake, play in the dirt, and spend time with family and friends," explain Aylor and Morris. A glimpse of the detached two-bedroom guesthouse can be see behind the great room building.
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.
The great room building features an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen. A back porch is located on the east side of the building.
The white oak heavy timber framing is left exposed for dramatic effect in the open-plan great room. A minimalist palette of natural materials creates a soothing environment.
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.
At the heart of the great room is a custom cabinetry system by Seattle-based Henrybuilt. Covered in laminate with plywood trim, the unit wraps around a powder room and features built-in storage and space for a kitchen on the other side.
"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."
A board-formed concrete fireplace anchors the living room with a framed view of the lake.
The exterior cedar screens can be closed for privacy and to protect the great room’s triple-glazed window wall from unwanted solar gain.
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.
Slatted built-ins frame the glass vestibule that connects to the entry to the right and opens up to the outdoor deck on the left.
The view of the vestibule from the bedroom wing. On this side, shelving is installed for books, coats, and shoes.
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.
The ground floor of the bedroom wing includes a sitting room and a master suite. The two kids’ bedrooms are located upstairs.
A glimpse inside the master bath on the ground floor of the bedroom wing.
Clintons Corners Residence site plan
Clinton Corners Residence section