5518 W. Kootenai, Boise; Built in 1954; 960 Square Feet; 3 Bed/1 Bath 

.18 Acre


Rob Baker, 208-919-1208


MLS #98384521

This modestly sized house was lovingly renovated by an investor who has a fondness for mid-century homes. His goal was to create a dwelling that is both hip and affordable.

When Rob Baker bought the dwelling in November 2005, it looked like it was given a gaudy makeover sometime during the 1980s.

"The bathroom was so bad, I stripped it down to the studs and started over," he said. Baker's efforts to restore retro appeal to this 55-year-old, three-bedroom home have paid off.

From the green two-tone paint job on the home's simple, attractive exterior to the clean ivory interior palette, the home oozes a charmingly cool quality. The custom front door was inset with three small window panes to emulate classic 1950s style. New concrete curbing forms amoeba-shaped planters next to the front porch and the back patio.

A two-room shed in the back yard could be used several ways. The first room would make a good home office or studio. The second, larger compartment is accessible through a roll-up door and provides ample storage for lawn maintenance tools like mower, weed whacker, rakes and such. But, "if this were my home," said Baker, "I'd turn the storage compartment into a tiki bar."

The main living spaces are laid out in an open great room on one-half of the structure. Nicely refinished solid-oak flooring flows throughout the entire home, except in the laundry room and the appropriately updated bathroom, where you'll find ceramic tile underfoot. Three bedrooms and the full bathroom are set along the short hallway running through the other side of the house.

The kitchen still bears its original pine cabinets, which have been painted white and outfitted with slender metal rods in place of traditional drawer pulls and cabinet knobs. Two of the upper cabinets have been left open to create display nooks for cookbooks and decorative vases and pitchers. Stainless steel appliances and speckled black laminate countertops complement the kitchen's gently modern appearance.

All three bedrooms have closets with heavy doors that slide open and shut on overhead tracks. The efficient way that the closets were configured by the architect demonstrates a desire to maximize the available space in this small house. Such thoughtfulness adds soul to the residence. Above each closet is a wide cabinet enclosed by sliding doors made from dark brown peg board. The material adds texture and interest to what would otherwise be a ho-hum detail.

If outdoor entertaining is part of your lifestyle, this home provides a redwood deck, a covered concrete patio and a lush lawn for summer luaus. It is easy to imagine tiki torches ablaze around the perimeter of the freeform planter as friends cluster inside the tiki bar, play croquet on the lawn and shimmy on the open deck.

Shopping and restaurants are conveniently located less than two-thirds of a mile from the front door. A 10-minute walk will take you to the Hillcrest Plaza at the intersection of Overland Road and Orchard Street, where you'll find Albertsons grocery store, a liquor store, a florist, Chase's Natural Foods and the local branch of the library. Borah High School is an easy five-minute pedal, located less than a mile away.

This house is perfect for folks who seek a blend of efficiency and a not-over-the-top retro appeal in a tidy package.

Pros: Lovingly renovated mid-century home that is small enough to clean in one day.

Cons: One bathroom.

Open House: Saturday, April 25, 1-4 p.m.

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