The house located at 945 Warm Springs Avenue boasts a wealth of historical information. Located in the East End of Boise, this established home has over 6,000 square feet, and incorporates various elements from the federal period, which are also common in Southern homes of the same era.
The house also contains a geothermal system and auxiliary furnace to regulate the temperature; the former uses coal as a secondary fuel source, making use of a special coal chute located on the eastern side of the house. Luckily the geothermal system has been reliable since the construction of the place in 1916. The house has had 6 owners since its creation; it was remodeled in 2002, four years after the current owners, Stan and Vesta, bought it.
Interestingly enough, the previous residents acquired the home in 1890, before modern day title insurance existed; the sellers of the house had received an abstractive title insurance, which was a contract signed by U.S. General Grant, and still resides with Stan and Vesta (this abstract insurance was put into place since Idaho was a territory back in the 1860’s). The focus of the house is symmetry: identical windows and arches are in place on all faces of the building. The backside of the house contains a Palladian window (pictured below), noted for its tulip flower design at the top of the frame; the current owner Stan constructed the window around 10 years ago, modeled after the one found at Mount Vernon.
The main architectural style of the house is also Georgian, from the time of the reign of the King Georges of England, which included the years of the American Revolution. This house follows the same aesthetic guidelines used in the construction of the George Wythe house in Williamsburg, Virginia. The house was designed so that the resulting dimensions are “pleasing to the eye”, as Stan said.
Although the architect of the house was unknown, they used a pattern of architecture replicated by other builders along the east coast during the Georgian period; symmetry was key in the construction of the house, as demonstrated in the book The Eighteenth-Century Houses of Williamsburg: the height of the house has to be half the width, and the base of the house should form an equilateral triangle with the highest point of the house. This style originated from the Greek architect Palacio.
In 1834, the French fabric company called Zuber & Clie painted the walls of one of the entrance rooms with scenes depicting American colonial settlements from the French perspective, referred to as the “American Scenes”. The room contains paintings of the New York Harbor, a Virginian bridge, and the Boston Harbor (in fact, the image of the Boston Harbor contains a historical inaccuracy: the Native American figures painted are actually dressed in a similar fashion to the inhabitants of the country India, as the French explorers, upon arriving in North America, believed that these people were indeed Indians).
Vesta had acquired an impressive milk glass collection, which she placed in the western side room, which was an open patio before the remodel in 2002 (the collection is housed in two cabinets around a yard wide and two yards tall, and possesses an extremely rare boars head piece). The brick facing around the western side room began to deteriorate before the purchase of the home in 1998, and Stan had to tear out the outer wall, and put Philophi style windows in place of the brick wall (this style comes from the Philophi museum, built by the chief architect of the San Francisco water system).
As one can see in the picture above, although the upper shelf appears to be level, the roof slants from left to right, due to the fact that the reconstructed wall caused problems for the second level of the building. On the western boundary of the property lies a white Georgian style fence, also constructed by Stan. The bricklike pattern of the fence is modeled after the fence found on the domed roof of Monticello, the residence of former President Thomas Jefferson. The homeowners also managed to purchase busts of both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both created in the 1850’s, with the latter being a replica of a bust, created by the French sculptor Jean- Antoine Houdon, located at Monticello.
The significance of this building is that it almost perfectly preserves elements from the federal and Georgian periods; the main living room contains several pieces characteristic of the eras, including a Secretariat cabinet, a Chest-on-Chest Cabinet, and a Kneehole desk, one of which is similar to the a piece owned by the wealthy Henry DuPont. Along with parts taken from the homes of former presidents, the front yard contains two streetlights from the 1790’s, taken from Philadelphia. The main hallway also has silhouettes of some of the former presidents, and has an actual mirror preserved from the 1790’s mounted on the wall. The artifacts from the Georgian era in this home rival that of Drayton Hall, especially with the pristine condition of the furniture and art, and the well kept architectural style on the outside.