Randolph Robertson Neighborhood 

The Randolph Robertson neighborhood on the Boise Bench is known for containing a number of attractive mid-century homes. At first glance, many of the houses within the subdivision appear to be simple, brick cookie-cutter types. But a slow cruise along the curved, quiet streets that lie between Cole and Curtis roads just north of busy Overland Road reveals a remarkable number of post-war dwellings offering understated character, clean lines and retro appeal.

I toured the neighborhood alongside realtor Marta Paulson, who owns an "atomic ranch"-style home. We looked at three houses in the 'hood: a small renovated cottage, a smartly updated tri-level and a ranch-style house with views of the valley and Foothills. A scan of active listings online also yielded a pair of modest ranch-style residences that appear tastefully updated while maintaining the charm of the original structure.

The first house is also the smallest of the bunch. Measuring only 854 square feet, this cute little cottage has two bedrooms, an updated bathroom and hardwood floors. A tall, narrow built-in bookcase punctuates the living room. The closet-like kitchen has been updated with an attractive glass tile backsplash while keeping the vintage scalloped valance above the sink. Because the house at 1412 Albright is small, its .19-acre lot feels big. $139,900. MLS #98387041.

I found this 1,163-square-foot house online. Its modest ranch-style entrance, deep eaves, low-sloped roofline and squat chimney beckoned. Inside the three-bedroom, one-bathroom residence at 7111 Rosewood, there are hardwood floors underfoot. Low ceilings create coziness, and neutral colors provide a casual backdrop. White cabinetry and appliances outfit the kitchen. Outside, there are big lawns in front and back. $168,888. MLS # 98382176.

The 1,620 square foot tri-level at 6508 Fairfield has been handsomely updated to complement its clean character. Half of the wall between the kitchen and living room was used to create a breakfast bar. The other half remains as the original living room fireplace surrounded by floor-to-ceiling brick. Simple honey-colored cabinetry and slate tile flooring flow from the kitchen to the adjacent laundry/mudroom. The split staircase's original pine treads, which are scratched and scuffed, are like a glimpse into the dwelling's soul. $199,900. MLS #98383446.

The brick exterior of this 2,554-square-foot house may say cookie cutter, but the interior holds an array of tasteful updates. A contemporary color scheme sets the tone for the five-bedroom, two-bathroom home. Two fireplaces warm the residence in the living room on the main level and in the family room in the finished basement. A child's bedroom is graced with a lovely garden scene mural. Shade trees and a covered patio at the rear of 6809 Fernwood invite family and friends to relax in the spacious back yard. $244,900. MLS #98380167.

A long driveway leads to 6414 Randolph, which is perched atop the edge of the Bench to offer views of Borah High's football field below and Bogus Basin in the distance. This 2,676-square-footer has hardwood floors, a formal dining room and a finished basement. The house appears to have been updated in the late 1990s. The floor plan may feel a little funky and disjointed to some, but the interior is immaculate. The sweeping view of Boise makes backyard barbecues a requirement. $329,900. MLS #98366436.

Pros: Casually retro homes with inherent character in an established neighborhood.

Cons: Some homes may require updating.

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