By Carolyn Weber.

Behind the walls of this glamorous architectural beauty is a wealth of stability--thanks to tons of engineered wood--and (believe it or not) energy efficiency. The home not only received the Energy Star rating, it was also awarded the more stringent ComfortWise designation from ConSol, an independent energy consulting firm located in Stockton, Calif. Achieving that level of energy efficiency in a 13,000-square-foot house, with so much fenestration, was no simple feat.

The project team combined a mechanically designed heating and cooling system, featuring Carrier's top-of-the-line air conditioner (with a SEER of up to 18), with high-performance glass, a tightly insulated frame, weather-resistant barriers, and energy-saving appliances.

The frame, built primarily with Trus Joist engineered lumber, meets strict seismic requirements and deadens sound transfer. The latter was accomplished by covering post-tensioned engineered floors with sound-deadening material from Owens Corning, capped with more than an inch of Gypcrete.

Wood Work

Thoughtful preparation was key to assembling this home's 16,000-square-foot skeleton.

By Matthew Power

"There's no repetition here," notes Jim Stark, co-owner of Nelstar and Associates Framing, based in Northridge, Calif. "The whole house is a learning curve. But with all the electronics and mechanicals, we just kept adding crews. We got up to 60 or 70 guys at some times. We would work in rotation so the trades could follow up behind us."

"Normally, in the Vegas area, everybody uses open web trusses," he adds. "But we were using Trus Joist's Parallam PSL, Timberlam, and I-joists. We also had to put in soundproof double-wall systems in some areas. On the inside, we ran all of the plywood blocking for the rock and brick, and helped frame up the arches."

But the most important part of the process, he says, were the preplanning meetings. "We built this house in our minds before the slabs were ever poured," Stark says. "All of us knew exactly how we were going to put it together before we started."