Investing In Properties With A Design Pedigree

Dated: 06/05/2017

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June 5th, 2017

In your home search, if you’re thinking of renovating a home, and you have some basic carpentry and craftsman skills, you can be part of the movement in Boise to preserve worthy homes. Evaluating a home for its worth is far more than just its street value, but if it has a strong design basis, some refer to it as “good bones”, then the property is important for the history of Boise as well. Our design firm, J S D A Inc., has preserved and improved many historical homes, all contributing to the historical fabric of the built environment of this community; and our projects have been featured on Preservation Idaho tours.

The last four homes that we restored were built in the 1950s, all part of the post-WWII era, with practicality and modernism in mind. You’ll notice that their aesthetic is different: clean, modern, simple, with easy living in mind. One was a Usonian style home, a simple one story, gabled in two directions with repetitive (and restored) upper clerestory windows allowing for a beautiful light pattern throughout the day and evening. Another was an Eichler-Inspired post and beam structure that began life as a two bedroom cabin on the outskirts of Boise and found itself in 2016 in the heart of the growing North End. The latter had an irregular collage of windows at the eastern wall which was redeveloped into a wall of sliding doors and newer (low-e) clerestory glazing. Some of the features which are period specific were the linen closet, a vertical stacking of drawers and doors, an element that continued in design solutions from the turn of the century. Other elements were existing base and upper cabinetry, complete with shelving details and cup hangers. The closet doors were damaged and painted, so we found period correct replacements at Second Chance, along with period appropriate hinges.

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Clerestory Windows

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Sliding Doors

The red and white oak floor had been, unfortunately, stained black, so we had to strip it (a couple of times) and begin again with a new age product, Monocoat, which has no volatile organic compounds, in line with our quest for sustainable solutions. We specified a solid cork floor in the kitchen and hall, which accomplished several goals: comfortable underfoot, enduring, and matched the tone of the wood floor so that the open area felt continuous. We designed a custom credenza with quartz surface between posts where a low-height wall had stood originally.

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Custom credenza with quartz surface

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Original linen closet

When people think of sustainability, it primarily points to energy efficiencies and innovative concepts on the interiors. We accomplish both in our projects; in one, we used a 3-head Daikin ductless mini-split system, which worked perfectly with the 3 room addition. The ceiling height was slightly sloped, following the low pitch of the original roofline, and user controlled ventilation was part of the original design. We restored that exhaust fan and enabled the passive air-conditioning. 

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Daikin ductless mini-split system

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Original light fixture

Take care to find a worthy home by getting more familiar with those historical details and elements described above that are original to the home. When considering renovation, be sensitive to keeping those elements for the sake of the integrity of the home. Styles and choices come and go, and most people don’t stay in a house for more than about 7 years on average. So, don’t be a hack; pass on the benefit of those original details to the next owner to appreciate and learn from. We all benefit from history; there’s no second chance in preservation.

If you are thinking about tackling a turn of the century home, or a popular “mid-century modern” home, you might want to compare notes with us, as we can point out the remnants of the original details that are characteristic of that particular period of design and architecture. We can guide you on detailing and budgeting, and help you achieve your dreams.

Janice Stevenor Dale, FIIDA, CID, NCIDQ
J S D A, Inc.
[email protected]

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Janet Jameyson

In her previous career as an organizing consultant to Fortune 500 companies, Janet Jameyson took the stress out of her clients' lives. Her goal is to bring that same organized professionalism and high....

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