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An even more in-depth look inside The Pensmore

Here's a tour of the "mysterious" mansion that's been under construction near Highlandville for almost four years.

September 26, 2011|by Joanna Small and Kuba Wuls, KSPR News | Reporter and Photographer
  • KSPR goes inside the mysterious "Pensmore."
KSPR goes inside the mysterious "Pensmore."

HIGHLANDVILLE, Mo. — We've been enamoured at a distance for years now, but Monday night we close the gap.

  We now have the first images inside what we could only call "the huge Highlandville home" last winter.
  The home has been kept under wraps since construction began in 2008.
  We're still at least a year and a half away from completion but Monday we know a lot more about the Pensmore.

  It would be hard to keep 72,000 square feet a secret, but Steven Huff managed to do it for 3 and a half years.

  "About all we know we've been told the property will be a private residence," Christian County Planning and Zoning Administrator Bob Atchley told KSPR back in January.

  That's about all anyone knew then, and that's about the only part of the rumors that proved true, mostly.

  "We really like this part of the country.  We like the people here, the culture, the scenery," Huff tells us.

  Highlandville, therefore, is ideal for the Huff's second home, but only part of the palace is for living.

  The rest is a living laboratory.

  "We call it Pensmore.  Pensmore is a loose contraction between the French word for 'thinking' and the English word for 'more,' so it really means a more thoughtful way to build."

  Thoughtful, in this case, means energy efficient on one of the largest scales in the country.  See, the Pensmore is 13 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, and 72,000 square feet.

  An average house is 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,100 square feet.  More than 34 of those fit into one Pensmore.

  Still, Huff explains, "We weren't looking to build one of the largest houses."

  Just one of the most practical.  It's built entirely out of concrete, but a new kind of concrete that uses these spiral wires in addition to rebar.

  "Earthquake resistant, bullet proof, blast proof, tornado resistant, bugs won't eat it, fire doesn't burn it."

  Huff says his house is virtually indestructable and virtually self-sustaining.

  "On this structure we're going to approach net zero on heating and cooling."

  Solar panels will heat the concrete core.

  So the secret's out, and now Huff hopes everybody hears about it.

  "We wanted to show we could built this on a commercial scale."

  One reason why the house is so large is to test out some of this green technology.

  The interior walls range from 4 to 32 feet and are insulated differently, so Huff can determine what makes for the most energy efficient set-up.

  TF Concrete Forming Systems is the name of the company doing the concrete work for the Pensmore.

  Steven Huff has a stake in that too-- he's the chairman.

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