The home on 1301 South Owyhee is a cottage-style home featuring numerous unique elements. The house was built in the late 1920’s, possibly in 1929, for a local doctor. Some of the neighbors aware of the house’s history have called it the “New York House” because, supposedly, the last four women (including the present owner) have been New Yorkers of Italian decent. The original house was much smaller featuring little more than a parlor, a kitchen, and one or two small bedrooms. Now the house has been expanded and renovated with some new bedrooms and a new section of roof (replaced after a build up of water caused it to collapse), but many of the house’s original features still remain.
Some of the interesting features of the house include an old-fashioned “milk chute” – a small cabinet affixed to the wall outside of the kitchen where the milkman would put milk and the owner could reach through and pick it up without being disturbed – a common feature of the houses of the era. The original floors (which feature smaller planks that are uncommon today) and windows of the house remain in place, despite their old age. The home also has a uniquely curved door with small glass windows on it. Although the present door is not an original part of the house it seems nearly identical to the older door that the owners still own, when the sun hits the door at the right angle the windows refract a myriad of colors on the floor and the wall of the house.
The roof of the house also has a strange curve that is somewhat reminiscent of some Asian architecture.
This unique style of roof was a favorite of the architecture who built the house (unfortunately we could not find his name) and many of the other houses he has built in the neighborhood also have this style of roofing. The walls of the house are built out of stucco, applied with a distinctive flourish that creates little “ripples” along the walls. The newer sections of the buildings were constructed to mimic this textural effect, but if one looks closely it isn’t hard to tell that there is something different about the newer walls. It is unknown how the original builders created the effect along the walls, but the new walls had the effect applied by rubbing the stucco with bundled-up newspaper.
The original property expanded farther back than the house does at present because the original owners also had an orchard in the back. Now, part of what would have been the orchard has been replaced with a neighboring house, but the original fence and gate to the orchard remains in place, along with an old-fashioned chicken coop from the olden days. The backyard of the house also features a massive catalpa, which, the owner confided with us, is one of the oldest and largest in Idaho.
The front and back yards both use flood irrigation – which literally floods the yards and temporarily turns them into small lakes to keep the flora healthy.
The cottage style of the house is quite fitting given that the house was once part of an orchard, giving the home a unique style within the city neighborhood. Few homes in Boise have as many distinctive characteristics within the architecture as this home.