The block of homes in Boise's North End between 19th and 20th streets is truly distinctive. Perhaps an early example of infill in the North End, these brick and clapboard-veneered homes with large picture windows are post-WWII examples of the popular ranch style. The homes were developed in the 1950s by the Brassey family and retain much of their original character. We were excited to check into the property for sale at the corner of 19th and Ridenbaugh.
The house located at 1219 19th St. begins with a covered porch made of bricks, many of which bear the logo of the brick maker. The entry opens to a wall of curio shelves and a handy coat closet to the right. The closet is surprisingly large and is lit by natural light from a window inside. The dining room is directly ahead with the living room to the left. Both rooms have hardwood floors, and the living room contains a big picture window, built-in bookshelves and a fireplace with large shiny white tiles. A door next to the fireplace leads to the patio, which is covered and surrounded by white vinyl fencing. An alcove built for a desk or home office makes way for the recently updated kitchen, which has been redone in d ark cherry-stained cabinets, tile floor and Corian countertops. Oddly, the track lighting was not replaced in the makeover. Off the kitchen is a large utility room with plenty of storage and a partial bath. Two bedrooms with light berber carpet and bluish-gray walls flank a large and really unique bathroom. The rippled white tile complements the dusty-baby-blue sink, toilet and tub. A large glass block window contains a vent that, when the cover is opened, silently circulates fresh air. This is an innovation that should not have been forgotten!
The adjoining home, accessed from Ridenbaugh, also offers a large covered set of steps, but with a great mod wooden and glass door. The living room is sizable, with a large picture window (with great bark-cloth drapes) and a fireplace clad in varnished natural wood paneling with flanking built-in shelves. This room (and the dining room) bears some shocking emerald carpet, but the owner assures us beautiful hardwood floors are waiting beneath. A sma ll alcove with a (true) telephone desk leads to one of our favorite kitchens in town. It is quite large, and contains plenty of tall metal cabinets, a fold-down ironing board, and three original glass light fixtures (we would love to update the blue formica and linoleum floor). There is also an entire wall of wooden cupboards and an area for a breakfast table. A classic wooden screened door leads to the small but inviting patio, and we did scope out a row of old rose bushes waiting to bloom on the west wall. A large utility room (again, lots of shelves!) sits across the hall, and to the right, two bedrooms flank the bathroom, done in ecru rippled tile and a salmon sink/tub/toilet trio. This bathroom also has the glass block window with neat-o fan. The bedrooms are large and provide plenty of closet space.
The homes share a two-car garage, but each home is on a separate utility meter. The current ow ner has looked into converting this property into either one home or two separate homes (which requires installation of a firewall). The patios could be connected if one family occupied the property as a single home, and it would seem logical to create an entry between the 19th Street location's kitchen and the Ridenbaugh Street location's living room. These homes feel surprisingly large inside, while still keeping a small North End footprint. We like the subdued '50s glamour inside, and with a bit of landscaping, the yard would look equally inviting. The owner did tell us that for a small monthly fee, Mr. Bell (a 90-something-year-old gentleman) mows and cleans up the block's yards. The price seems right at about $140 per square foot for the North End and a piece of Boise's residential history.
HE SAID: Consider making this a single-family home. It's a great find for any '50s fanatic!
SHE SAID: Keep it a duplex as the builder intended.
WE AGREE: This much style, storage, location and possibility would be hard to pass up!