Nestled in the Boise foothills off of Hill Road, the Blahd residence on 2486 W. Spring Mountain Dr. was built in 2005. This 4,000 sq. foot house is the epitome of a classic eclectic/ northwest Modern home. The house was designed by Hummel Architects, located on Bogus Basin road. The architecture of this house is one of a kind and is an eye catcher from far, far away.
We had the pleasure of meeting with the architect, Greg Ugrin, at his office in the Hummel building. Greg is a prominent architect in Boise and he usually focuses on commercial building, but on this rare occasion took on the task of designing and constructing this house with the guidance of Liz Wolf and Bill Blahd. “One day we walked into their office, and told them to build us a house just like it,” says resident Liz Wolf. Throughout the design process the office building remained a key influence. The house’s construction focuses on the use of three primary industrial materials; wood, steel and concrete. The joining of these three materials establishes nicely on the outside of the house, leading to the breath taking exterior, and even from the point of entry where the steel staircases meet with the concrete walls and wooden accents. The bold wooden slants and detailed craftsmanship of the outside, large use of balconies and compliments of the surroundings all display the primary exterior features of a northwest modern house. Walking into the main part of the house, the kitchen, dinning room and living room all blend together to make a true “great room” that is surrounded by large windows and a wrap around balcony, that come together to create a northwest vibe, to compliment the exterior. Visions of eclectic influences can be found in the layering of materials of the exterior of the house, steering away from a traditional box form of many houses, the angles of the house protrude in various directions and towering roof layers all form to make the house feel like one of absolute immense size.
Upon entry, people are greeted by the 30 ft foyer, with industrial steel staircases, and an elevator leading to the top of the third floor. The influences of artist Alexander Calder are found in the modern style of the kitchen, with the incorporation of large surrounding windows to produce bright natural lighting, and the long and narrow design of the kitchen were created with great efficiency in mind. On the main floor of the house the flooring shifts from concrete to sealed woodchip giving it a raw and industrial feel. With Liz and Bill being artists, art became a key influence and factor into the decoration and small features of the house. One stand out feature, are that all the doors are actually chalkboard, and decorated with a variety of things stretching from math homework all the way to childhood drawings. The rooms are plentiful with unique and unusual art, such as the horse saddle in the corner of the great room, facing the grand piano. The third floor contains the master bedroom, as well as the other bedrooms. A standout feature of northwest modern bedrooms are the small spaces, making rooms primarily for sleeping and everything else meant to be done in another part of the house.
Pulling onto this street, the last house anybody would expect to see is the Blahd residence. It stands out among the normal houses of Boise in a not so subtle way. The house resides with the green foothills as its backdrop, creating a blended and natural feel to the industrial aspects of the house. And at sunset the large windows are illuminated with the fiery skies of the last rays of the sun, bringing bright light throughout the house. This northwest modern/ eclectic house is one of a kind in Boise’s architecture scene, and does not go unnoticed by citizens.