3034 Grover St. 

2496 sq. ft.: 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths

Built in 1959

Lot size irregular: about one-quarter acre

$275,000

American Realty: Carol Witt 208-412-3500, www.bestofboisehomes.com

It wasn't a star but a hot air balloon that led me to this house in my own neighborhood. The balloon ran out of hot air, and landed on the street in front of 3034 Grover. I thought at first it was a marketing gimmick. After joining other bystanders in helping the crew pack the balloon, I pulled the information sheet for the house and discovered the home backs up to the Ridenbaugh Canal. I love a waterfront house so here I am.

Today's ranch-style house is so familiar it's hard to realize the style is an example of pure American domestic architecture. Early in the 20th century, architects combined Spanish colonial and modern architecture to create the ranch house. The homes became very popular from the '50s to the '70s, especially in the suburbs built for the baby boomer generation. The unpretentious style features a long low roof line, big overhanging eaves, shutters, an open floor plan and an attached garage, emphasizing the importance cars played in the American lifestyle. Often a rustic dovecote decorated the garage roof, as on this house. This particular house has yellow siding, red brick trim, white shutters and a black cedar shake roof. A continuous line of mature trees along the back frames the house.

A sturdy half-glass front door opens into the entry hall. To the right is the kitchen, which opens to a big dining room that includes a door from the finished garage. Double doors open to a sizable living room anchored by a white-tiled fireplace with a beautifully carved white wood surround and mantel. An enormous picture window faces the back yard. The entry hall has two closets and a door that opens a corridor leading to three bedrooms and one bathroom. The bathroom features the original pink tub, sink and countertop from the '50s. The corner bedrooms are light and bright with windows on each wall. A half-bath opens off of the front bedroom and also opens to the front hall.

A second door off the dining room leads down carpeted stairs to a full basement with a large laundry room, store room, bedroom, three-quarter bath and a bonus room. The enormous family room is perfect for a pool table and also features a red brick fireplace surrounded by white built-in bookcases.

Back in the dining room, I step through huge sliding glass doors to a covered side deck. Stairs lead to the big back yard whose back boundary is lined with a chain link fence, bushes and trees. On closer inspection, I can see the canal rushing by. A six-foot wood fence runs along another side of the yard. Several large lilac bushes grace the back yard, and the entire yard includes many flower beds edged in concrete. The beds include roses and many other kinds of established perennials. A little weeding and the new owner will have a ready-made garden.

Pros: This is a big solid house in a beautiful setting with unlimited potential. It's in a very good, well-maintained neighborhood near Shoshone and Rose Hill on the Bench. Its location is convenient to the airport, interstate, mall and downtown. I would create a seating area in the shade within sight of the canal's cold rushing water for those very hot summer days. I would also replace the solid double doors in the living room with French doors with glass panes. However grating it may be, the pink in the main bathroom certainly needs to be preserved as an authentic example of '50s design.

Cons: The interior of this house needs updating. I would pull up the carpet that covers hardwood and have the floors redone. The walls have already been repainted. I would have seven of the windows replaced, since there are no storm windows. I would pull up the carpet in the kitchen and baths and either paint the cabinets or reface them. A new owner could make this house a real showplace.

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