2845 Palouse Street 

Affordable housing for first-time homebuyers can be hard to come by in Boise, so I was interested in this house on Palouse Street, in an area of the Bench south of Overland and west of Vista. There is a lot of new construction in this area. Palouse Street has plenty of older, smaller houses on it, but it also has some larger, very nice and unusual homes. Next door is a bright red house in the arts and crafts tradition, newly sided and very sharp-looking. Around the block is a dead-end street with at least four nice houses, each only about 15 years old. Because of all this, a purchase on Palouse Street would probably be a good investment as the house values are likely to appreciate.

2845 Palouse is light gray with white trim and black shutters. It has a light green roof, new gutters and has recently been painted. A small covered stoop leads to a white front door, which opens into a great room with the original hardwood floors and a built-in bookcase and cabinet. Two side windows plus a large front picture window let in plenty of light. Arched doorways lead to the bedroom wing and to the kitchen.

The kitchen counters are covered with attractive new dark gray granite-looking vinyl with a new double sink under a window. The cabinets are white with open shelves on either side of the window over the sink: a perfect spot for plants, vases, etc. There's another window on the back side of the room, nice-looking off-white vinyl flooring and a broom closet.

In the bedroom wing, there are two bedrooms, both floored in hardwood and both with two windows apiece (in the 1950s, they didn't skimp on windows. In the bathroom off the hall, the flooring is the same as is in the kitchen. There's a new bathroom vanity, a new toilet, yet another window and a combination tub/shower with a tile surround. Back in the hallway is a built-in linen closet, which was de rigueur in the 1950s, but modern conveniences include cable TV connections on the first floor.

At the corner of the kitchen, a set of stairs leads to the full basement. Here there is a huge family room or recreation room floored in vinyl. It measures 12 feet by 33 feet, and has four large windows. Off of this room is the third bedroom, which has a walk-in closet. It's a good size but needs to be painted and carpeted. Another room off the family room is the utility room. It houses the furnace and hot water heater and also a washer and dryer, which are included in the sale. There's also a deep utility sink, always a convenience in my book. The house has air conditioning, all the windows are equipped with storm windows and screens, and there are new blinds on all the windows.

Up the stairs is a door to the big back yard (and there's an empty lot behind the back fence). A brand new concrete patio, an oversized double garage, irrigation on the property and a brand new driveway are all big pluses for this house.

Pros: This house is affordable and in a good neighborhood. The lot behind the fence gives a feeling of wide open spaces. Residents will save hundreds of dollars in the summer if they use the irrigation water. The big yard, which is now just covered in grass, is a blank slate. The new owner could further landscape it or keep it a low-maintenance yard with just a lawn to mow. The kitchen is big and bright, and I love the built-in bookcase in the living room.

Cons: The basement bedroom needs an egress window, as does the big family room. It would be convenient to have at least a half bathroom in the basement. I would refinish or wax and shine the hardwood floors before I moved in.

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