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Bio of Joe Troxell

Bio of Joe Troxell
by Valerie Clausen for Builder/Architect

When Joe Troxell was growing up in Easton, Pennsylvania, he knew that he would become an architect. He was eight years old. Today, Joe Troxell and his architectural firm, The Troxell Group, are involved in custom homes, multi-family and single family residential, residential remodels, commercial, and institutional projects for a variety of clients in Idaho and California.

Joe became recognized for his architectural ability at an early age. Throughout high school, he designed remodels and summer cabins as special projects for his instructors. During his summers, he worked on the construction of some of these designs. On his first construction site, at age 14, the owner broke him in from the ground up. "He drew a chalk line and told me to dig a trench," Joe remembers. "This early field experience showed me I didn't want to do construction for the rest of my life. It inspired me to go to college."

While earning his undergraduate degree in environmental design at the University of Colorado, he built more houses from the ground up, giving him additional practical construction experience. he also worked full-time at the architectural firms Downing and Leach (now Downing, Thorpe, and James) and Knudsen & Associates. Joe's foundation as an architect/builder was quickly taking shape.

After college, Joe went back to California and was hired at the prestigious architectural firm of Richardson Nagy Martin in Newport Beach, where he became an associate. "I was fortunate to have Walt Richardson as a mentor," Joe relates. "I was exposed to many ideas and concepts from a master." His work included single family, multifamily and apartment projects in California, Colorado, Texas, Georgia and Virginia. The work also exposed him to the intricacies of designing for a variety of climatic conditions.

During the 1980's, Joe was involved in the California building boom. "I got an M.A. in the school of hard knocks," he says. As a director of project management for the Irvine Company, he was in charge of design, processing, entitlement, budgeting, and construction coordination of over 2,900 apartments and 730 condominiums on the Irvine Ranch in Newport Beach, California. Joe also saw the company grow from 300 employees in 1983 to 1,500 in 1987, and back down to 300 the same year. Later he joined California Communities as vice president of development, where he was in charge of the development of 2,400 single family homes, multi-family projects and commercial office projects in six Southern California counties.

Joe formed his firm, Troxell & Associates, in 1990. By 1991, he and his wife Denise were awaiting the arrival of their first adopted child, Kayla, from Romania. Things changed. "We decided we didn't want to raise our children in California. The traffic, smog and crime finally drove us out," Joe says. The couple came to North Idaho on a ski vacation, liked the area, and moved to Post Falls in 1993. In 1995, their second adopted child, Daniel, arrived from Russia.

Today, The Troxell Group concentrates on home building, but also works on commercial and remodeling projects. "It's important to diversify in North Idaho," Joe says. The firm has earned its share of accolades. The Troxell Group's custom homes have won People's Choice Awards from the AIA. Joe has also served on the State of Idaho board of directors for the AIA as well as Northern Section AIA President.

But, as an architect who builds, Joe has a unique perspective in approaching design and in working with his customers. "My goal as an architect is not to promote Joe Troxell's style, but to concentrate on what's best for the client," he says. "Most people live a house from the inside. They're not sure what they want on the exterior. A marriage has to happen," he adds.

This philosophy has earned him many fans. Benecia, California residents Bill and Kathlyn Meeker knew immediately that they picked the right person for their prairie-style Arts and Crafts home in Hayden Lake, Idaho. "He's outstanding," says Kathlyn Meeker. "Working long distance isn't easy, but Joe's process is painless. Besides, I think the man's a mind reader. His final plans were as close to perfect as you can imagine." Joe's architect/builder background was a winning combination for the Meekers. "I've never dealt with anyone like him before," says Kathlyn. "He has both the artistic part of a designer and the practical points of a builder."