Article No: 226

2008-01-28 17:51:45
The Beauchamp Redefines Concrete Luxury
By: Steve Habel

photography by Darlene Price, Priority Graphics 
As more and more builders wake up to the advantages of insulating concrete form (ICF) construction for homes and commercial structures, it is time to showcase the level of luxury that can be attained with the medium. Thanks to the efforts of Oakdale, California-based Toledo Design & Development, more people are aware of the options created by using ICF construction.

Winning three major industry awards in fall 2007, Toledo Design has differentiated itself by focusing on high-end quality and embracing ICF building technology from Arxx Walls and Foundations. Toledo Design is a true design-and-build firm that also installs ICF wall systems. This ensures that project quality is controlled from the inside out.  Toledo Design finds that ICF technology creates a great advantage in a crowded marketplace.

And, as Toledo Design’s principal Chuck Toledo notes, once the stucco or siding is on, no one knows what is underneath. “These expanded polystyrene forms allow you to get one-of-a-kind luxurious styling and a better, more fire-resistant house, along with the bonus of extreme energy savings and strength,” Toledo says. “In the end, you are getting a very unique home that has attention to detail and unparalleled security and comfort.”

Using ICF construction, Toledo Design has battled a tough housing market and won—and the state’s building industry has taken notice. In California, ICFs have caught on with builders and homeowners; savings of up to 50 percent, less reliance on wood, and strength in seismic zones are all appealing factors. Unique designs are also achievable because Arxx forms offer a range of possibilities.

In October 2007, Toledo Design received the top prize, Excellence in Marketing & Home Design, bestowed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Building Systems Council. Earlier in 2007, the company garnered Contractor of the Year and Residential Project of the Year awards from the Insulating Concrete Form Association (ICFA) at the association’s annual expo and awards ceremony.

That winning residential project of the year is a Country French design called The Beauchamp. The home features more than 4,500 square feet of living space and is a shining example of Toledo Design’s upscale luxury work and the options available to builders who utilize ICF construction.

The Beauchamp is located in the central California city of Oakdale. It is about an hour southeast of Sacramento and about the same time by car from the western boundary of Yosemite National Park. The local area has hot days and cool nights— conditions that are optimum for ICF performance, according to Toledo.

There were plenty of challenges to overcome in the nine-month building schedule of The Beauchamp, not the least of which was the home’s location in Earthquake Zone 3. It had to comply with the new stringent California Title 24 Code. The project also required the demolition and removal of a one-hundred-year-old condemned residence on the estate grounds.

The build and pour process was executed during the California rainy season and was completed ahead of schedule, demonstrating another advantage of ICF construction over projects built out of wood. “Construction teams in our area do not usually frame in the rain, so we could not have finished as we did if we would have used wood,” Toledo says. “Most of the projects built using wood in this area fall behind during the time of year we were constructing The Beauchamp.”

With Old World craftsmanship and state-of-the-art amenities, The Beauchamp charms and entertains all who enter. The home’s noise-reducing, 14-inch-thick walls, its marbled bathrooms, a rotunda with a graceful curved staircase, its rugged weathered stone, a hipped roofline, and arched light dormers add to the signature styling. The home required the installation of a 24-foot radius wall with multiple 10-foot lintels. Toledo also aligned the roof trusses to meet the curvature of the ICF radius walls.The whole package brings to mind the image of a castle.

“The Arxx ICF system allows us to build green and to be innovative in designs such as The Beauchamp,” Toledo explains. “We can bring in features such as cantilevered beams and 45-degree pop-out bay windows to add to the luxury and rich feel of the home.”

However, the secret to all of the recent recognition is the quality and care taken by Toledo Design in its designs and implementation. “We are selling the Rolex, Mercedes, Starbucks, and such of the home industry,” Toledo says.

The desire to be second to none is evident in every nook and cranny of The Beauchamp. The home sports myriad amenities for luxurious living and entertaining. Nearby walking trails on the Stanislaus River add Mediterranean overtones or the feel of the Provençal countryside to this expansive estate home, which is set on 3.7 acres.

The home features an artistic smooth coat exterior finish, and double Castlewood doors give entry to a magnificent rotunda capped above by a copper faux-lighted dome and embossed below by an incredible marble medallion. 

Inside, a graceful curved staircase surrounds to rotunda, and a mahogany-adorned interior displays the best in modern floor planning with plenty of space for both formal and informal gatherings. French doors in the rear foyer and upper vestibule lead to an exquisite slate-laden terrace and balcony. The Beauchamp’s balcony is flanked on both sides by the master bedroom, featuring a fireplace and a sumptuous 7-foot bathtub surrounded by beautiful marble.

It is the combination of ICF construction’s adaptability, convenience, and efficiency with the potential for opulence illustrated by The Beauchamp that make concrete homebuilding a real winner.

“We use ICFs because the method provides the best-performing building envelope for maximum energy efficiency,” Toledo says. “This building envelope is the cornerstone of our design-and-build company, and we strive to always construct green homes of the highest quality.”