5 Bed, 3 Bath
Blue Rooster Realty
Lisa Corbett, 368-0806
Boise's North End is a desirable neighborhood due largely to the unique character of the homes, most of which were built from the late 1800s through the middle of the 20th century. The area, which is composed of more than 5,000 houses laid out in a neat, pedestrian-friendly grid of streets, sidewalks and alleyways, is almost like stepping into an idyllic scene from the past. A variety of American architectural styles—Queen Anne Victorian, Prairie, Mission Revival and Art Moderne—constructed in sizes that range from humble to huge give a distinctive appearance to the popular district. What's really cool is finding a vintage house that has been refurbished and updated in a way that preserves the soul of the home, quirks and all, without sacrificing its character on the altar of the generic home improvement center. Such is the case with the soulful, medium-blue Craftsman bungalow with white trim and burgundy accents located at 1615 N. 20th St.
If a house with original hardwood floors and wavy, single glazed casement windows coupled with details like ball hinges and 90-year-old doorknobs gets you excited, you'll want to take a look. The owner marvels at how good money is paid to have a new piece of furniture "distressed" or beaten with a heavy chain to make it look old, while a 90-year-old oak floor will have every scratch and dent sanded off to make it look new. Her philosophy of preserving the character of a house led her to buff and polish the home's original hardwood floors and not sand away the scars that speak of a lifetime of use.
The house is laid out in an open, informal floor plan that stretches out along the deep lot. The long living room and roomy kitchen are set on one side of the house, while the three bedrooms and two bathrooms occupy the other half. One of the interior highlights is a simple, plaster fireplace with a tapered chimney—and an eye-catching cast iron surround and cover—that punctuates the living room. On either side of the fireplace are tall, windows that reach from the floor toward the ceiling and help to bring sunshine in from the house's south side. Another feature is the original lath and plaster walls throughout the dwelling, which are reputed to have been made by a master of his craft back in 1915, when the method was as common as drywall is today. An impossibly attractive kitchen sits just beyond the living room. Its walls are painted pale pistachio green and it has a black-and-white checkerboard floor, white cabinets and white satin-finish tile countertops. The cabinets are composed of a mixture of open shelves, glass-front and plain doors. There is a vertical plate rack above the updated Kohler sink, and the cabinets below the sink have vertical cutouts that echo the lines of the plate rack.
The house's spacious basement has been cleaned up and turned into a private, one-bedroom apartment with a living room, full kitchen and laundry room. The concrete floor is painted French blue, while the walls and overhead ductwork have been painted white. It's a funky space, but it's a uniquely functional place that any privacy-seeking teenager would enjoy, or it could be rented out. In the back yard, there is a two-car garage and a 483-square-foot cottage that could be used as mother-in-law quarters or as a rental.
Pros: It's a roomy North End family home with more authentic details than I have room to describe. Two rentable spaces can help with house payments. Competitively priced at $150 per square foot.
Cons: The basement has a very low ceiling, and you'll need space heaters to keep the concrete-lined apartment warm.