The house that sits on the corner of 18th and Dewey is a new edition to the North End. Construction began in February 2010 and ended on September 19, 2010. It was built for the Marx family by Tad Jones and Wallace construction. The house was inspired by the Marx Family’s respect and admiration for Gustav Stickely and the Craftsman movement that he started. The craftsman theme is prevalent throughout the house’s design.
The large exposed steel brackets in the front of the house are classic craftsman elements. The wooden columns that support the roof on the porch are also part of this theme, as is the front porch that sits under the overhanging roof. The roof itself is made out of metal to give it the appearance of the rubberoid commonly used in craftsman roofs. Another consideration that the Marx’s took when designing their new home was make it environmentally friendly. They accomplished this with design features and the materials used in construction. For example, the windows all have argon gas inside of them to allow for better insulation.
Three different types of insulation were used to ensure that the house didn’t waste energy. They installed a water heater that heats its water on demand and then recirculates it so that energy is not wasted heating unused water. The house is built along the standards of the LEEDs certification, a series of standards for green living in buildings. The house is not LEED certified but this is due to the high cost of the certification process rather than the building, which is very close to meeting all of these environmental standards.
Even the materials used to make the house are eco friendly. The soil stabilizing walkway was constructed with rock quarried in Idaho that is able to hold rain water in the same way that soil does. The walls are also constructed out of clay that is naturally colored. This means that no artificial paints were put over the walls, and that they are very natural. The house that sat at this address prior to the Marx’s owning the property was a Boise Cascade Kit home built in the 1970s and was inhabited by a bed ridden old woman.
The grounds had fallen into disrepair, including the carriage house built in the early 1900s. When demolition of the house began, the Marx’s allowed people from around the neighborhood to cart off the century old wood and nails from the carriage house. During demolition, fumes from the house began escaping that were so foul, the demolitionist had to stop and back away to recover his breath.
Other problems developed during construction as well. The blueprints were incorrect, and if they had been followed; none of the doors would have been able to open. Also, some delinquent mistook the under construction house for a port a potty. When the construction crew returned the next morning, there was a little surprise lying on the floor of the house.
The Boise Historical Commission also required them to change the direction that the front door faced, from Dewey to 18th street. This way, the house would match the rest of the older homes around it. Some other cool features in the house are a garage door in the living room, that when opened in the summer, connects the family room with the patio. The ceiling in the main room is a celestial one that reaches high into sky. This combined with the large connected space for the living room, dining room, and kitchen, give the inside of the house a very open feeling.
The Kitchen reflects the Marx Family’s passion for cooking. Tiziana, the mother of the family, grew up cooking in her native country, Italy. She leads a series of cooking classes for the community in her kitchen, through the Fuel for the Soul Company. These classes allow for good food, good wine, and good conversation and are extremely popular in the North End. The open design of the kitchen greatly enhances the atmosphere at these classes.