Odds & Ends » Home Sweet Home

1710 N. Michigan St.


Michigan Street is a relatively quiet street in terms of traffic and noise, but it has seen, like a number of streets and neighborhoods in Boise, an increase in building activity—lot splits, tear downs, rapid remodels and, yes, those skinny houses that people just cannot seem to stop talking about. Across from this house is a narrow house (I prefer "narrow." The term "skinny" is best left to describing a person's physique or on getting the scoop, and not in describing a house that provides ample living space for that average family size of 2.5 without causing excessive waste by requiring new infrastructure or strain on services—I'm done.), a remodel that is on the market and so on. But there are a lot of homes that have been in the neighborhood a long time, and from the selling agent, it sounds like many of these homes have longtime residents.

The house is a single level with a gable roof and cross gable at the entry. The exterior is clad in asbestos-cement shingles with brick veneer accent at the entry. The house has new cream-colored vinyl windows that are set within the existing trim (inside and out) so they are not too noticeable. A single-car garage is accessed from the street and set back from the front of the house—how and why subdivisions got away from that concept is a mystery to me. The house sits on a quarter-acre with a well-maintained front yard, which is primarily lawn with a mix of low plantings and a couple of large shade trees.

Walking through the front door, two things become apparent: the owners were big time smokers as is evident with the smell and stained walls, and the house has not been remodeled in more than 50 years. Inside the front door is a small foyer with a coat rod and shelf tucked inside an arched opening. The house has arched openings and coved ceilings throughout. The entry transitions into the living room, which is painted a great shade of creamy yellow (some of that subtle shading may be due to the smoke, but I like it). To see the "real" color all one has to do is look along the wall where pictures used to hang. There are hardwood floors throughout the house, although currently some funky-colored and patterned carpeting protects them.

All the private functions are accessed off of a hallway. There are two bedrooms, which are essentially identical in size and closet space. One has a sweet corner window setup. The master bedroom is spacious with ample closet space. The closet doors have a glazed finish that is unusual but I like it. The bathroom is long and linear but accommodates all the necessary fixtures and functions.

The kitchen is large and has sheet vinyl flooring, painted plain face cabinets and zero appliances. There is a half-bath just off the kitchen as you head downstairs into the depths of the basement. Not much is going on in the basement, primarily utility type functions with a washer, dryer, storage, etc.

In the backyard are the mother-in-law quarters contained in a neat little brick structure with a covered carport. The inside is spacious with a large bathroom, plenty of storage and a single bedroom. The backyard has a large concrete pad for entertaining and it looks like there are some grapes in one area and nice pines as well.

PROS: Within walking distance to all those up and coming frat parties (Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga!). It's a great location close to Manitou Park. Those mother-in-law quarters can help pay the mortgage. The yard is a plus, even the mother-in-law quarters has its own private space. The house is pretty solid. It looks good from the outside and the inside has character.

CONS: There is some work to do. A little paint will go a long way. I would replace most of the plumbing fixtures, rip out the sheet vinyl flooring and redo the hardwood floors. The mother-in-law quarters could use some work as well.