Riverdale, TX | New Construction

Designed for a couple preparing for retirement, this home is part of a self-sufficient rural compound in the Historic San Antonio River Valley. The Clients, a water utility system manager and high school administrator, approached Thoughtcrib after seeing The MILHouse on the 2009 Cool House Tour.

This residence is another example of a right-sized, high performance building design – it is comfortable and efficient at 1,367 square feet with two bedrooms, two full baths, an open Living/Dining/Kitchen space, large Utility and a series of porches.


  • Site: surrounded by the San Antonio River and less than 70 miles from the coast, the area is susceptible to floods and severe weather; house is sited into a stand of trees on the eastern side of a large meadow that overlooks the river.
  • Design: Two-module design joined by porch (similar to vernacular Dogtrot); Pier and beam design to raise home above 500 year flood line; deep porch and overhangs; cross-ventilation; reflective and emissive Galvalume roof
  • Building Methodology: Conventional wood framing utilizing standard-sized building materials and prefabricated trusses minimize waste and costs; Continuous thermal envelop (foam); all mechanical devices are centrally located within the envelope. Thermally broken aluminum windows.
  • Durability: Exterior corrugated metal siding; cementitious trim and soffit materials (no wood on exterior of house); bamboo and tile floors throughout
  • Water strategies: water and wastewater treated on site (no energy used to pump water to or from site); Roof Design simplifies rainwater collection – all water used in home is rainwater. Dual –flush toilets; tankless water heater.
  • Lighting: home is designed for Daylighting; Exterior lighting design minimizes light pollution; Interior lighting is fluorescent
  • Power: Home is designed for future PV array
  • Project Team: Thoughtcrib, Inc.: Eric S. Brown, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, Megan Wetzel (design); General Contractor: self-performed by Owner; Rainwater Collection: TBD; PV Array: Native