4509 Catalpa 

The Collister Neighborhood is located in northwest Boise and is one of the few remaining parts of town where large lots still exist, and where it is not uncommon to see kids riding horses up and down the streets or deer camped out in the pasture during the late fall and winter months. I grew up in this neighborhood and I find it remarkable that even after 20 years, even after all of Boise's rapid growth, this still occurs.

The area has changed some. People have come in and razed some of the modest houses and replaced them with big monsters (which, I think, is really no different than the "skinny house" epidemic everyone is crying about), and there is also the new Catalpa Park, a wonderful addition to the area.

This house is located across the street from the new park and Collister Elementary School. It is modest in size and design as a single story with a gabled roof, tan brick and clay-colored trim. It sits back from the street, screened by a great variety of shrubs and trees, including an enormous maple (I think it was a maple).

A small covered stoop sits between the attached single-car garage and main portion of the house. The front door is a simple, solid panel and opens into the large living and dining area, which has hardwood floors, white trim and walls painted a light olive color (except for the south wall, which is painted a deeper olive color). A wood-burning stove sits on a tiled hearth and in front of a river rock and heavy timber backdrop/mantle. The space feels comfortable, especially with a large picture window that looks out to the front yard.

The kitchen has a tiled floor, which I briefly thought looked like cork (actually, it might have been faux tile), plenty of counter and storage space, several decorative pendants in a chrome finish and a closet for the washer and dryer.

Just off the kitchen is the family room. This is the only carpeted room. From this space, you can access the garage, a bathroom and the backyard--lots of doors to try and arrange furniture around.

Apparently, the current owners have a painter in the family, as the three bedrooms are each painted a different color: red, white and blue (shades of those colors, not the true primary color--whew!). The red and blue bedrooms are adequately sized but the white room seems a bit small. It could be a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine who gets the bigger room.

The main bathroom is good-sized with beige walls, faux-tiled floors and all the appropriate accoutrements.

A gravel drive leads from the front to the back garage/shop. The gravel keeps going and fills up a good portion of the back area. There is a lawn section just outside the back door and off the covered concrete patio area. A dog run sits to the west side of the lot. The very back portion is a lush garden--a great mix of plantings and color--and plenty of birds, too. The neighbors to the east have some outbuildings and landscaping that help enclose this lot and really add to the character. The garage/shop is large and has plenty of storage.

PROS: Less water required with all that gravel. Not much work will be required to move in, maybe some painting? The windows are all wood and appear to have been retrofitted with insulated glazing. All that open space and plenty of storage. It seems like a good solid house that has plenty of opportunities to expand and modify itself to fit all sorts of lifestyles.

CONS: All that gravel. Luckily Edwards Greenhouse is just around the block and there is pressurized irrigation so that should lessen the pain of watering. The wood-burning stove is nice but occupies a lot of space in the room with that hearth and mantle. One bathtub looks like it needs replacing. If it were me, I'd probably redo the bathrooms and portions of the kitchen at some point.

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