Property Type: Residential
Neighborhood: Downtown  |  County: Ada  |  Building Status: Private  |  Architectural Style: Craftsman
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This is a classic craftsman style house and features a wide variety of unique features. Originally built in the early 1900’s the house is currently undergoing a complete renovation and will be finished sometime in the summer of 2012. Designed by the Hummel group, 713 Franklin St. features layers of sharp cornered roof tops and second floor outcroppings as well as a crows nest attic with windows in both the back and front of the house.

This house was first built before indoor plumbing, and was heated by steam. However, after its renovations it’s hard to say for certain whether or not these antiquities will remain. Due to its location (just outside of downtown Boise), the house takes up most of its land area, but will soon feature an open patio in back as part of a more modern style.

Classic craftsman elements are still easily visible despite the renovation, the wide eaves for example, along with the joists along the roofline, and exposed rafter tails in back especially, along with its emphasis on wood and natural, indigenous materials are telltale signs of a craftsman. These features show the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, which sought to make visible the handiwork that went into design, on the style. The low-slung roof lines reflect the influence of Oriental architecture on the style. These roofs typically have a wide, unenclosed eave overhang with decorative supports. Roofs with a low pitch are typically better suited to warmer climates, where snow and ice are not likely to accumulate. They do require routine maintenance to make sure debris such as leaves does not build up over time.

The front porch for this house is also a craftsman trademark. It is rare for such a house to not have one since porches extend the livable space of small homes in order to make it possible to spend time outside in comfort. Also, notice the tapered columns at the front of the house, these give an air of solidity to the house and in essence capture the effect of the craftsman style. Craftsman homes are also often painted in a nature-inspired palette of browns and greens to help the buildings blend seamlessly with their surroundings. Despite the mostly muted palettes, one or two contrasting colors are typically seen used to highlight architectural features like trim or decorative supports.

Built in the early 1900’s, the house originally was a residential housing zone during the early Progressive era. With it being a craftsman style, it deviates from the Queen Anne or Victorian style that surrounded this house. The houses around this part of city are usually Queen Anne or Victorian style, but craftsman style is also common. After the house was bought by another source, it became a commercial area for a flourishing business to thrive on it.

According to the Idaho Statesman on 1917, this house used to be a restaurant as advertisements for “Palace Cafe” stands. Food has previously been served in this location before it simply became a residence outside downtown. With the “Best 25 cents meal in town,” this restaurant seems to have been successful for a long time. Currently, this house is being remodeled into an improved residential housing, but the original elements of this house was craftsman style.

During the Progressive era, radical movements were popular, and thus more architects like Hummel wanted to create more unique houses that differed from the embellishment and ornamentation of the Gilded Age. It would be the most reasonable to ponder that this building turned into a residential housing zone when the Great Depression hit the United States. Businesses collapsed during this time period, and it was a good time for still-wealthy people to buy this housing.

Craftsman homes were primarily inspired by the work of two architect brothers — Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene — who worked together in Pasadena, California, at the turn of the 20th century. The Greene brothers were influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement (a reaction against the Industrial Revolution in an effort to promote the work of craftsmen and the handmade over the machine made), as well as by Oriental wooden architecture. The earliest examples are in Southern California, but thanks to popularization of the style through national periodicals like House Beautiful and Ladies’ Home Journal, Craftsman bungalows became the most popular style of small house throughout the country from about 1905 through the 1920s.

Like all things that come out of California, there is something distinctly American about this style. Outside there are details galore but inside, there’s a simple, wide-open layout that makes the most of typically limited square footage.
Currently, the house is under remodeling and is currently owned by an owner that did not want to be named. As a result, the head of the remodeling project (from the contracting company) represented the owner for the interview.