Heritage Homes 2015

If you didn’t know already, this is a bad habit of mine.  Preservation Idaho puts on a walking tour of historic homes as an annual fundraiser.  I think I’ve gone to every one since 2007.  Benevolent homeowners volunteer their houses for a whole day of casing by strangers.  But since participants are largely the Red Hat Society and your grandma, I don’t think they have much to worry about.


It’s so fun to find out which houses are on the tour.  It’s amazing how often they’re ones I’ve been eyeing for a while.  For instance, I watched them do a 180 on this rancher and was dying to see what they did inside.  Turns out, everything, and to a very high standard.  (Violet, I say this house is for you.)


Next was this snug little house with lots of dark colors and wood.  I’m sticking Megan in there because no one else would fit.  😉


This was the house that resonated with me the most.  The owners had been in it for 11 months and were in the process of updating everything.  They had impeccable, quirky taste, and there was a ton of character.  My favorite was the barrel vaulted living room, with it’s wood picture rail and period chandelier.  From there you could look into the huge library with dark, wrap around wood built-ins, and it’s huge window seat (which you can see in the right of the picture).  Under the arch into the hall there was a full wall of cupboards, of different sizes and shapes, with little brass pulls on them.  A statement piece in itself.  All the rooms had coved ceilings and wood floors.  Just very nice.  But I do think they got a little off track with the kitchen, which was done in 1950’s kitsch.  All red and teal with a dinette, Big Chill, and vintage range.  I would have snagged this house for me, excepting the tiny dining room.  So I’m giving it to my mother for safe keeping.  🙂


…While I take the mansion instead.  I have always eyeballed this house.  It sits on a .7 acre plot, with a gated drive and a privacy fence all the way around (because of people like me).  But it looks loved and well lived in.  Children leave their toys scattered about and the wife hangs wreaths on the door and probably drinks iced tea on the lawn.  This house also had a magazine spread done on it.  It’s decorated to the nines, with chandeliers, pickled oak floors throughout, a shiny white and marble kitchen, and more 5′ flat screens than you can shake a stick at.  Yeah, I would have to gut it.  I’m sorry.  I would strip everything back and give it a sturdy, open, farmhouse feel.  Something you could knock about in without tipping over a vase.  Cuz oh, you could pile the kids in here.  My guess is that you could fit at least 12.  From one of the bedrooms are stairs up to the third story, finished attic, that is already home to Legos.  There is also a Juliet balcony off the master, a sunken study, a Victoria & Albert volcanic limestone tub, and a huge studio space in the guest house out back.  Like I said, I’ll take it.  Even if I’d put goats in the front yard and plant an orchard.


This house is all vaulted beamed ceilings, white plaster, clay tile floors, and skinny glazed windows that somehow make you want to fling them open to the Mediterranean.  The bedroom wing jutted out so that the master was wrapped around with windows on all sides.  I love it when you can see through a space.  And now that I think about it, this house is listed, so you can go see for yourself.  I bet you didn’t see that coming.  And, of course, this house has Sarah written all over it.  (Throw the stinky boys in the basement.)


This brick house was another one I’ve been eyeing for years.  It was added on it in 2008.  Before then it was the tiniest brick cottage on the hugest lot.  I loved it.  And I was sure that the renovators were going to ravage it.  But really, you can’t tell that it was added onto at all.  Even if you can see nothing of the original house (and I still liked it better before), it still manages to look like it’s always been there.


The lady who lived here was a tole painting artist.  And you could see she had her fingers in everything.  A busy woman.  A busy woman who glamps.


The “new” entry.


You should have seen all the women prostrating themselves over this house.  When my minimalist friend and I finally broke loose we had to do some yoga breathing and start fanning ourselves.  Every room was filled with antiques.  Everything was tole painted.  For heaven’s sake, the bathtub had a canopy and swags.  But, despite the overall feeling of oppression, everything was well done.  The kitchen and dining had pressed tin ceilings.  There was a 1950’s range and 3 basin, porcelain, farmhouse sink.  Under the stairs was a dutch door that opened to a tiny play kitchen.  Every stair tread was hand painted with a scene from Boise. There was a conservatory that showed off the original brick exterior walls.  And a huge upstairs crafting studio with a wall border composed of an entire rainbow of colored pencils.  It was immediately clear to me that no one could live here and survive, but my mother-in-law.


Well, my mother-in-law and every lady from the Red Hat Society.IMG_2872

When I drive down Kootenai I often look at this house and think that a pristine grandma lives there, straight from the 50’s.  And I was right.  Everything vintage grandma.  This house was built with a high degree of finish and quality.  Wood scalloping ran above all the windows.  The insides of the closets had beautiful wood built-ins.  The bathrooms were 1950’s insane: in pink, green, and yellow.  With odd shaped sinks and space ships for faucets.  SO much fun.  The originally finished basement still features a vintage linoleum tile floor with built-in shuffle board.  Complete with the original wooden cues and discs.  The whole basement was knotty pine, with more scalloped trim, four finished storage rooms, and a projection room off the den and a quilting room for the missus.  Who was quite industrious in her proclivities.  Judging by the four storage rooms stuffed to the gills with Christmas decorations.  And the mind-blowing collection of push-pin Christmas ornaments.  Have you ever seen those tedious, hand-made ornaments and wonder who in their right (or not) mind makes them?  Well this is the lady.  By the bucket load.  She had them hung in a lit china display and you could stand there and stare at them with your mouth open forever.  Who does that?  (P.S.  Natalie, you have vintage grandma written all over you.)


This is a house I used to love.  That was before they painted the aqua shutters black and the charm seemed to evaporate instantly.  It’s still a nice house, but it’s not the same.  It is, however, a great family home.  With a formal living, sunken family room, hearth room off the kitchen, and formal dining.  The kitchen had a built in floor to ceiling pantry along one whole wall.  That’s what I like.  Upstairs there is also massive children’s room where you could fit at least three bunk beds.  In which case, Becca, this house is all yours.  (Excepting for the fact that it’s not.)


Last, but not least, was this wonderful storybook home set on an acre lot.  The house was full of whimsical details.  Like right when you walk in the front door.


The fire place was a tumbled down heap of jasper stone.  There were giant wood beams everywhere and flag floors.


I especially liked how the foundation spilled out around the house and flowed into the fences.  The roof had some amazing sweeps to it that you can’t appreciate from the pictures.  It was very impressive.  And as soon as Reuben get’s married we’ll condescend to letting him have it.  But sans wife and six kids, it’s Megan’s second home, and we don’t care if Reuben lives in a tent.


See, wasn’t that fun?  Same time next year.  I’m serious when I say you should come with me.  🙂


2 thoughts on “Heritage Homes 2015

  1. You said “Violet” and I immediately thought, “My sister, Violet, the one with a Mercedes, swimming pool, sauna and room for a pony” and thought it was a joke. And then I realized you probably actually have a Violet. ..Which is awesome.

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