Swope Investment Properties
Jennifer Moortgat, 208-724-5071
With all the growth that has occurred in Boise over the past decade, a new term has entered our local real estate vocabulary: infill. Simply put, infill means constructing a home or building on an empty parcel of land in a neighborhood already hooked up to water, electricity and sewer.
On one hand, filling in the empty lots in existing communities carries the risk of turning the city into a concrete jungle, where open land becomes scarce. On the other hand, new construction can reinvigorate an established area while putting less strain on public utilities and services.
David Hale of Hale Development specializes in infill projects. He was instrumental in creating downtown Boise's new Linen District, left his stylish signature on The Modern Hotel, and has turned numerous scruffy lots into contemporary housing. This week's property is a Hale Development project that provides a unique opportunity to literally work where you live.
Boise Weekly's own Cathy Sewell, a regular contributor to this column, is the architect. Tucked behind Baird's Dry Cleaners on Broadway Avenue, the six-unit Iowa Street complex allows a small business in the storefront office, while providing a comfortable living space. It would be perfect for a dressmaker, a small dance or art studio, desktop publishing company or other similar occupation. Be forewarned: According to the application for home occupation, palm reading, taxidermy, recording studios and escort services are not permissible businesses.
The modern exterior of the Iowa Street townhomes has just enough wooden embellishment and green lawn to keep them from feeling cold or industrial. An earthy palette of mustard yellow, sand and olive green with terra cotta accents works to visually separate each two-story unit. Several tall, wooden screens attached to the front and made of horizontal slats lend warmth to the small complex's boxy facade. The front landscaping consists of tiny lawns, tidy rows of young hedges along each front walkway and a trio of evenly spaced trees.
As you enter 961 Iowa St., an end unit, you step into the office space. Tall plate glass windows along the front wall provide natural light. The wide, shallow room—which is about 220 square feet—is open up to the two-story ceiling, where there are more plate glass windows on the upper corner. An optional sliding door can separate the office from the living area.
The rest of the lower floor is in a great-room configuration that includes a small kitchen, an informal dining space and a living room. The kitchen features stainless-steel appliances, a blue glass tile backsplash, black lower cabinets and upper cabinet doors framed in aluminum with frosted-glass inserts. There are bamboo floors throughout. The living room is punctuated by a plate glass sliding door that opens to a private, concrete patio.
Up the stairs on the second floor is a tall, built-in bookshelf that is actually a door cleverly concealing the water heater and furnace, one of Hale's signature features. Upstairs there are two bedroom suites with Silestone countertops and stone-tile-lined shower/bathtub combos. The rear bedroom has treetop views, while the loft-like front bedroom is open to the office below.
Pros: Unique live-where-you-work townhomes with more high-end finishes than I have room to describe. Living space feels private.
Cons: Concrete rear patio begs for leafy potted plants.