In 1892, O'Farrell hired architect, NW Bower, to design this house at 420 West Franklin. It cost $8,000. An attractive white fence surrounds the property. The house is a two-story painted white brick Victorian with an attic, and the windows are shaded with green and white striped awnings. It is picture perfect.
The entryway and main hall are lit with chandeliers and door sidelights. The floors on the first story are hard wood. Through French doors to the left is the generous-sized living room, painted yellow with white trim. The ceiling is 10 feet high as are all the ceilings in the house. There is a bay window and a gas fireplace. The windows are decorated with red and gold Victorian-style hangings. Some of the hardware and trim are original in this room and elsewhere in the house.
Across the main hall is the dining room, also painted yellow with Victorian window hangings. On the side of the room is a charming window seat with four windows and a three-by-five-foot cushion.
Behind the dining room is a white remodeled kitchen with GE built-in side-by-side refrigerator, Viking gas stove and oven, and Bosch dishwasher. Some of the cabinets are glass fronted. The floor is a striking dark red with black accents. There is a large area for a kitchen table next to a large picture window. Behind the kitchen is a 3⁄4 bath and a utility room.
There is another door from the kitchen to the main hallway. The stairs to the upper floors are covered in hunter green plush carpet, as are the floors in all the rooms on the second floor. The classy master bedroom has a fair-sized closet. The attached bathroom is bright white and includes a restored claw foot tub before three windows and sink and toilet painted a lovely floral. I can picture myself soaking in the tub with a glass of wine and the lights off, gazing into the trees and onto what lights of north downtown Boise flicker through. Three other bedrooms and a full bath complete the second floor.
On the landing of the attic stairs is a surprise: Through a big window facing the Veterans Hospital grounds is a view of the original primitive O'Farrell Cabin built by John O'Farrell and his wife in 1863. What a historical irony! The attic is one room with an attached bath. The grounds of this property are a Garden of Eden on a generous lot: lots of big green trees; an extensive side lawn bounded by a rose garden, a play house; a perennial garden; a gazebo and a fountain. A terrace surrounded by a balustrade leads back into the main hall of the house. Outside the utility room door is an herb garden and a breezeway to the oversized two-car garage on the alley.
PROS: This is a bright, elegant house; its heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing were all updated in the late '90s. It would be a great residence or bed and breakfast. I would hate to see it turned into offices.
CONS: Some bedrooms have no closets and would need armoires. The house may be hard to heat because all I noticed were single-paned windows, and there may be traffic noise during weekdays.