1219/1221 W. Martin Street, Boise; Duplex with 2 Beds, 1 Bath each 

Built in 1962

.17 acre lot


SelEquity Real Estate

Laurie Barrera, 859-9660


In today's green-conscious world, I like the idea of living with a small footprint. I'm not just talking about buying another energy-efficient appliance or replacing your light bulbs. I mean actually making do with fewer possessions and living within one's means. Small living quarters are generally more affordable than a large living space, and they allow a thoughtful person to enjoy one's work as well as pursue personal interests (like travel or hobbies) instead of working like a dog to sustain an expensive mortgage, a hefty car payment (or two) and paying off that never-ending credit card debt. Furthermore, a small space can be cleaned in a single afternoon without paying a maid for help. I think it would be cool to own this duplex, live in the slightly larger rear unit and rent out the front space, like the current owners did shortly after the dwelling was built in 1962. A few years later, they moved out to a green pasture near Meridian, but they tell me the duplex has been a great income-producer all these years. The neighborhood seems to attract low-key people like retirees and young couples, many of whom have become long-term tenants.

The neighborhood surrounding this cute little duplex is chock full of modest older homes that appear to be fairly well cared for. There used to be one- and two-acre horse pastures scattered among the small brick houses, tiny cottages and mature tree-lined streets. Today the open spaces are being replaced with pockets of two- and three-home infill projects that suit their humble surroundings and don't appear to be overbuilt for the area. This 45-year-old duplex sits on a narrow, deep lot, and there is a relatively spacious green lawn in the backyard. Next to it sits another duplex (which is also for sale) that appears to be the mirror image of this one. A strip of lawn between the two tidy buildings forms a quasi-courtyard that is enhanced simply with a few short evergreen shrubs and holly bushes. I am told that the real estate agent occupied the rear unit for the first four years she lived in Boise and remembers the show of springtime flowers across the street was always beautiful.

The building is constructed of multi-hued brick that ranges in color from deep rust to medium peach and banana. There is a carport out front that is divided into two parking areas by a long storage shed that belongs to the front unit. A second storage shed on the back of the building, as well as a private covered patio, serve the rear unit. The floor plan of each apartment is simple and straightforward. From the front door, you enter the living room. The roomy kitchen is off to one side, and two average-sized bedrooms and one full bathroom round out the space. I like the built-in cabinets that each unit has in its small, central hallway. Each kitchen is surprisingly spacious with plenty of storage space on the cabinet-lined wall, and there is room for a dinette set. While the interiors currently have carpeted floors in the living room, hallway and bedrooms, there are hardwood floors underneath. Just around the corner from 1219/1221 Martin St. is the 11-acre Manitou Park, one of Boise's 103 city parks. There are tennis and basketball courts, several big shade trees, a playground full of colorful equipment and a huge expanse of green grass that's perfect for a friendly game of Frisbee.

Pros: Small-footprint lifestyle in a quiet neighborhood. Rental income helps to make the mortgage payment. Spacious, tree-lined park is right around the corner.

Cons: Carport parking means chilly buns on frosty mornings.

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