The exterior walls of La Hacienda are built with RASTRA, an Insulated Concrete Form (IFC) building system. Made of 15% concrete and 85% recycled expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam), these concrete forms are left in place after the concrete is poured. The reinforcing steel and concrete, with the RASTRA brick, form a wall that is not combustible and is rodent, insect, and mold resistant! The combination of concrete and RASTRA brick also provides excellent insulation and can decrease energy use in a house up to 50%.
In these photos you can also see the metal studs and wood bracing that were installed inside. The bracing is for mounting cabinets, lights, and other items on the walls.
Rumford fireplaces were designed by Count Rumford in the 1790s. With modern technology, it has been proved that Rumford was ahead of his time when it came to fireplace design. Not only do Rumford fireplaces heat homes more efficiently, due to the air flow they also burn more cleanly than a standard fireplace.
There are five Rumford fireplaces in La Hacienda: one in the master bedroom, one in the great room, one in the dining room, one on the exterior patio, and one in the guest house.
For more information, see the article Rumford: Like it Used to Be, by Jim Buckley
Steel Windows & Doors
The metal frames, along with the sloped glazing bead, gives the frames of the steel windows and doors of La Hacienda a historical look. The windows and doors were purchased from Bliss Nor-Am, a premiere steel window and door manufacturing company based in Toronto, Canada. They get hot rolled steel from Switzerland and custom make every frame in their plant behind their office building. Once the frames are built, they are put through a hot dipped galvanizing process, which prevents the steel from deteriorating. Once the galvanized coating is applied, the frames are painted and the paint is baked onto the frames.
The tile that is going in the kitchen, breakfast nook, dining room, great room, laundry room, and entryway comes from Mexico. There were 17 cases of tile, with 600 tiles per case, ordered for the house, for a total of 10,200 tiles! There are four different designs on the tiles.
Every piece of tile has to be washed by hand, twice, before installation. The first time it is washed and lightly scrubbed with sand paper to remove the calcification and dirt. Then it is washed again and scrubbed with a sponge.
After the tile is set in place, a sealant is then applied before the grout.