3/27/2014

Story of Pensmore, the 72,000-square-foot under construction in Highlandville, MO.

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In the Midwest, Steve Huff is aiming to build the ultimate tornado-proof home. Mr. Huff, a software entrepreneur, is building a 70,000-square-foot reinforced-concrete, chateau-style home in rural Christian County, Mo. The home, known as Pensmore, has 12-inch-thick walls and ballistic-proof windows that have been tested to withstand the equivalent of a two-by-four board traveling at 40 miles an hour, mimicking the speed at which debris can be hurtled during a big storm. "If a tornado came up, you'd be foolish to leave this house," Mr. Huff says.
Mr. Huff, who is an investor in a concrete company, says that the home will also be resistant to intruders: "It would be like trying to drill your way through a bank vault."
When it is completed in early 2014, it will be one of the largest private homes in America. Mr. Huff says he plans to have lots of extended family stay with him, as well as visiting writers, scientists and other students who may want to study the safety and environmentally sustainable technologies used to construct the home.



With its turrets and picturesque setting in the Ozark mountains, this house should be like a fairy-tale castle.  But this vast 72,000 square-foot gothic château has been drawing bemused comments from across the U.S.  The private home in southwest Missouri being made from concrete and will be one of the largest in the country when it is completed.

It is the brainchild of millionaire concrete company chairman Steven T.Huff.

Setting: The southwest Missouri home sits on 500 acres of land and will have 13 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a billiard room, a home theatre, a music room and a 1,600 square-foot library



There is another 23,020 square-feet of space in the basement and the garage is 4,000 square-feet.
Luke Pinkerton who is working on the building said the idea was to create a home that uses very low energy, as well as having strong resistance to tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fire, flood and insect damage.
The home is less than 90 miles from Joplin, which was devastated when it was hit by a tornado that killed 159 people in May.
'What we're able to do is develop a home that has very, very good insulating properties for heating and cooling,' he said. 'It's very robust and strong.'


Turrets: The monstrous home has been drawing planning complaints from across the country



He is building the home using materials manufactured by his Wisconsin-based company TF Concrete Forming Systems.
The local planning office has been fielding calls from all corners of the country about the massive construction.


'It's got to the point where it's capturing national attention,' said Todd Wiesehan, planning and zoning administrator for Christian County.
Called Pensmore, the home includes two elevators, 13 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a billiard room, a home theatre, a music room and a 1,600 square-foot library.
Blueprints submitted in 2007 show the main level and second story span 44,641 square-feet.

Concrete jungle: The so-called château is being built for Steven Huff, the chairman of Wisconsin-based TF Concrete Forming Systems


Under construction: The house will have 13 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a billiard room, a home theatre, a music room and 1,600 square-foot library

Tornado proof: The home, which has been under construction since 2007, is close to Joplin, has been built to resist extreme weather conditions

Environmentally friendly: The house uses very low energy because of its insulating concrete

Concrete entrepreneur: Steven Huff is making the massive mansion from concrete manufactured by his firm

How it will look: These grand plans show how the finished product will look, but the giant project is expected to be completed within the next two years


Expensive: Just the building materials alone for the house are costing nearly $7 million

A building permit shows that the cost of just the materials being used to build the home is $6.89 million.
Pensmore, which sits on 500 acres of land, has been in construction since 2007, said Mr Wiesehan.
He estimates it's another year or two away from completion.

Steven T. Huff Family LLC applied for the permit in March 2008, just days before the county's new planning and zoning regulations took effect. The property is grandfathered in. “We have not completed any inspections on the actual structure. We don't have that ability,” Atchley said.
The project manager -- Steven's brother, Joe Huff -- did invite county workers to the site.  “It's our understanding it is an ICF -- basically an insulated concrete form structure,” Atchley said. The family may be protecting the construction itself. They could be interested in trying to keep it confidential for a possible patent.

Steve Huff stands in front of Pensmore, the 72,000-square-foot chateau-style mansion
he says will demonstrate durable, energy-neutral technology.

No matter why the property owners are private, the structure stands out in the rolling hills of the Ozarks. The blueprints show two elevators, 15 bedrooms, a 1,600-square-foot library, and a nearly 1,300-square-foot master bedroom.
Steven Huff is reportedly an engineer and chief technology officer of Overwatch Systems, Ltd. According to the company’s website, it delivers multi-source intelligence to the defense department.
The permit for the Highlandville structure requires that one family live in it at one time. It also states the owners cannot rent, lease or sell any rooms.

Blueprints show the 23,000-square-foot basement will be used mostly for "storage." It will also include a billiard room, exercise room and home theater.

Huff stands next to a large window inside the property.

Steve Huff shows a handful of the tiny PolyTorx double-helix fibers, which he says dramatically improve structure durability.

The Pensmore mansion will be complete in a couple years, owner Steve Huff says.

The hilltop mansion features a panoramic view of the Ozarks.

The mansion’s main wing will include a basement, two living floors and an attic.

Steve Huff, left, smiles for a photo with 92-year-old Ed Underhill and his son, Clark. Ed Underhill was the first mayor of Highlandville.

Steve Huff provides a tour to Ed Underhill, the first mayor of Highlandville, and his son, Clark Underhill. 


Steve Huff provides a tour to Ed Underhill, the first mayor of Highlandville, and his son, Clark Underhill. 














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Tell them Buddy Huggins,  told you to call.

Pensmore Videos The Ultimate Tornado-Proof Home

  • by Buddy Huggins
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  • 25 videos
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  • Last updated on Oct 17, 2014
Pensmore, The 72,000-square-foot Ultimate Tornado-Proof Home under construction in Highlandville, Missouri
Contact Us Today! 20th Street Ozark, MO 65721 Paul Lais: 920-309-0327 "Tell them Buddy Huggins, told you to call."




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