There is something about the neighborhood around Manitou Park, south of Boise Avenue that I have always loved. It has enormous trees, which are beautiful this time of year, and the homes all have a unique character about them. The location is great, with access to downtown, Boise State and the Interstate only minutes away. It is a small area that I have kept my eye on for years, and I have noticed that the more attractive homes in the area do not often go on the market.
1603 S. Manitou Ave. is located only one block from Boise Avenue, but standing on the sidewalk, it is unexpectedly quiet. I had anticipated a good deal of traffic noise, but not so. When I approached, the homeowners were enjoying the covered front porch, sitting on an old-fashioned porch swing and enjoying the unseasonably nice weather. The porch extends the length of the house, but is concealed by shrubs and trees, which afford a great deal of privacy.
The home was built in 1919, so I was prepared for low ceilings and living spaces that would not often be included in our current building standards. Upon entering, I found that I had been quite wrong. The front door opens into the living room, which is as wide as the house and has ample room for both a traditional family space as well as a separate sitting area, if desired. Tucked into a corner under the stairs is a half bath, which is awkwardly close to where people would be lounging, but is a lucky find in a home of this era.
The living room flows into a large formal dining room that has all the distinctive characteristics of an old, Victorian home. There is a built-in china cabinet with an open serving area, cupboards with glass doors and multiple drawers. There is a bay window at the end of the room with a view of the backyard, another large window with a bench seat beneath it, and wooden trim throughout. With Thanksgiving approaching, I couldn't imagine a nicer place to enjoy a large, traditional dinner with friends and family.
The kitchen is off the dining room, and this is where potential buyers will be jolted out of the calming trance created by other spaces in the home. The cabinetry is likely original, but it's also bright green. The appliances are mismatched, and some need to be replaced immediately. The upside of the kitchen is that other than the cabinets, which needing replacing, it is a blank slate with plenty of space. A remodel would be open to anything that the new owner could dream up. As an added bonus, there is a cellar below the kitchen that could tempt a wine lover.
Upstairs, there are three bedrooms, all spacious and unique due to the roofline. My greatest surprise was that each room had closet space most women could live with. One of the rooms even had a walk-in that featured a diamond-shaped window. In a home that is nearly a century old, closets may have been optional. There is also a very roomy bathroom with a claw-foot tub and separate shower. The shower is a walk-up, which I can't say I've heard of before, and the ceiling may be too low for a person of more than average height.
The backyard is a nice retreat, with a large patio area. There is a raised-bed garden in one corner, enough lawn to satisfy and a one-car garage with alley access.
Older homes may not appeal to all buyers, but for those who appreciate them, this is a gem. It has fixer-upper potential for those who like to take on a project, and a charm that cannot be bought or built.
PROS: A peaceful, established neighborhood, large rooms and a recently reduced price of $269,900.
CONS: The hardwood floors, which run throughout the entire home, need to be refinished, and the kitchen is a mandatory remodel, as well.