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The Miller Porch House

The Lake|Flato Porch House presents a new way of thinking, designing and building for our residential clients. Based on a library of factory-constructed, modular living and sleeping rooms, the Porch House concept enables a design-conscious owner to have a custom, site-specific, and LEED certified Lake|Flato house with a predictable outcome of quality, time, and cost. Porches and other outdoor areas, built on site, serve as connecting tissue to create exciting outdoor spaces and ensure each house is particular to its place.

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© Lake | Flato Architects


Porch House, with a uniquely adaptable design and construction process, enables its inhabitants to be a partner with the environment, in a house shaped by the climate and place, where the landscape and rooms are a unified whole. Like many of our firm’s celebrated designs, the Porch House is born from the simplicity of vernacular architecture and leverages what Lake|Flato has learned over the years in terms of good design, quality, sustainability, and practicality.

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© Lake | Flato Architects

The factory built rooms are arranged on the site to take advantage of views, breeze, solar orientation, and outdoor spaces. The custom designed site built “porch elements”, such as breezeways, porches, overhangs, and carports are the “connecting tissue” which holds the rooms together while allowing the overall design to adapt to the unique characteristics of the site, the weather and the client’s program.

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© Lake | Flato Architects

Expected time from design approval to move in is 6-9 months. A Porch House uses considerably less energy than a typical house and can be designed for “net zero energy consumption” with the addition of photovoltaic panels. Current projections for hard building cost range around $150-225 per square foot.

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© Lake | Flato Architects


The factory-constructed, modular rooms can be configured in myriad ways: linear, stacking, creating courtyards, or just a lone form. Porches and other outdoor spaces such as breezeways, terraces, and carports — all built onsite — serve as the connecting tissue that hold individual living and sleeping rooms together and ensure each Porch House is particular to its place.

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© Lake | Flato Architects

The site built porches are relatively inexpensive spaces to both build and maintain (no heating and air conditioning). By showcasing the structural elements of roof construction and exterior walls, porches create a nice textured and volumetric contrast with the simpler spatial experience of the adjacent rooms.

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© Lake | Flato Architects

Unconditioned porches are critical aspects of the overall sustainable design strategy and allow each Porch House to adapt to the climate. They create additional shade, foster cross ventilation, and most importantly, provide pleasant and exciting spaces that maximize the connection with the outdoors.

“Site-built porches”, like glass breezeways and interior hallways, allow rooms to be connected within a “conditioned” environment while maintaining a connection with the outdoors.

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© Lake | Flato Architects


Factory-constructed rooms, where the finishes and “mechanical systems” are installed in a controlled environment, allow for a consistent high quality product as well as an energy efficient construction process. The variety of living and sleeping rooms, with their wide range of finishes, combined with the myriad ways of organizing them together, provides our clients a great deal of flexibility in their ultimate Porch House.

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© Lake | Flato Architects

At this point, the Porch House library is comprised of nine individual and modular rooms for living and sleeping. Rooms are spacious with seventeen feet in width, ten-foot high ceilings, and floor to ceiling windows and doors. Lengths of rooms vary depending on the modules (40′ for living and 14′ for bedrooms), but the common width ensures that virtually any combination of rooms will work well together.

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© Lake | Flato Architects

The Porch House library includes a variety of exterior and interior finishes, along with numerous buildout options for flooring, cabinets, appliances, fixtures and hardware.

The factory is shielded from the elements, ensuring that no weather damage will occur during construction. Rooms are built to withstand stresses of transport, which inherently adds the benefit of making them more durable than a typical site-built home. When rooms leave the factory they are 80-90% complete ready for final finishes and site installed roofing.

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© Lake | Flato Architects


The modular design process, where rooms are constructed in multiples, has allowed Lake|Flato to test and refine our product with the ultimate goal of simplicity, beauty and sustainability.Combined with the site built porch elements, the Porch House is designed to use much less energy than a typical house and earn LEED certification. With the addition of photovoltaic solar panels — a Porch House design option — clients can choose to have a net zero energy consumption house.

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© Lake | Flato Architects

High efficiency mechanical systems, water saving features, natural ventilation systems with operable doors and windows, low embodied energy materials, healthy materials, daylighting, energy efficient LED lighting, and an overall “passive design” to the entire Porch House all work together to create a highly efficient house.

The modular construction process, where the majority of the work is done in a factory with little material waste and limited labor transportation, contributes additional energy savings.

“Lake|Flato Porch House represents the merger of efficiency, thoughtful design and innovative construction for residential projects. Time, energy and resources are conserved through a process that unites the simplicity of pre-designed, vernacular architectural forms with custom porches and covered connections. The outcome is an integrated project that responds to the natural topography, views and climate of your unique site, fostering close relationships with the landscape.” – lake – flato architects.

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© Lake | Flato Architects

Project Data:

Project name: The Miller Porch House
Location: Vanderpool, Texas, United States
Coordinates: n/a

  • Type By Characteristic: Prefab House, Green & Sustainable House
  • Type By Site: Countryside / Suburb House
  • Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
  • Type By Materials: Steel House

Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 1,500 sqf / 135 sqm
Visit The Porch House’s Website:here


  • LEED certification

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: The Miller Family
Architects: Lake | Flato Architects – San Antonio Office, 311 Third Street, San Antonio, TX 78205
Text Description: © Courtesy of Lake | Flato Architects
Images: © Lake | Flato Architects

Materials & Suplier:

Cladding: Corrugated Metal, Weathered Metal, Eastern Red Cedar, Cypress, Hardie Board, Stucco
Decking: Sustainable Wood, Trex
Doors & windows: Aluminum Clad Wood, Fiberglass
Cabinets: Painted, Maple, Cherry, Mahogany, Wenge
Roofing: Corrugated Metal, Standing Seam Metal, Asphalt Shingles
Ceiling: Gyp Board, Exposed Framing
Walls: Gyp Board, Wood
Countertops: Silestone, Paperstone, Plastic Laminate
Floor: Pine, Bamboo, Oak, Carpet, Tile
Kitchen sinks: Kohler Impression, Bakersfield Ceramic, Anthem Cast Iron
Kitchen faucets: Simplice pull-down, Forte single-control, Torq deck-mount


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The Miller Porch House / lake - flato architects
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