In 1994 construction was started on 2675 Warm Springs Avenue, which is part of the Warm Springs Island portion of the neighborhood. The Island was originally thought up as a subdivision, however due to conservation movements for the surrounding wildlife, the land was divided up into only 4 separate lots all owned by Ward Parkinson one of the founders of Micron. This house is owned and built by Michael Hoffman and was designed by Janet Jarvis. Hoffman drew much of his inspiration from his years in Italy. He wanted to make a house reminiscent of an Italian farm house without making it seem like a carbon copy. Instead, he wished for the house to appear as if it had already stood there for a long time.
Hoffman succeeded in this goal by using old rough stone, leftovers from the old quarry. Few people actually knew how to build with the rock, but luckily, Mr. Hoffman was able to find a master mason who agreed to help build the house. The walls of the house are several feet thick in many places and provide natural insolation. The stonework was laid in an english style, much more homogenous and precise in it’s construction then a true italian style. Along with the rock, the walls are mixed with plaster and old tiles taken from the old Payette elementary school (ironically the same school Mr. Hoffman went to as a boy). Construction was completed on the house in 1998.
Shortly after the house was finished, Mr. Hoffman allowed an Italian painter to teach the Fresco painting style, a dying art, in his house. One of his demonstration paintings was left over in the house and serves as the center attraction of the living room. The living room is filled with all manner of artifacts from hundreds of years ago. In the room he has a head of sculpture crumbled in an old European earthquake, candle sticks from Tuscany eventually broken in a fierce game of indoor soccer, and a wooden head of Mary, among with many other allusions to history. With so many great creations around the house, it’s easy to understand how Michael Hoffman was inspired to write movies such as The Last Station, which eventually was awarded Best Screenplay and nominated for two Golden Globes along with five Independent Spirit awards. In the entrance way of the house sits a several hundred year old table, similar to most of his furniture in its sheer age and character. His kitchen is done in an unfitted style, in which there are no upper cabinets, as the only storage in the room is from furniture. Along with the traditional inward opening windows, this room is very inviting, and brings the outstandingly picturesque outdoors into the home. Nestled by the river, the house also serves as a “bird sanctuary” as he likes to call it. The house’s nooks and crannies have given home to a variety of different birds including a strikingly statue-like owl. Often times a herd of deer will frequent the forest areas behind their house.
Although there are many considerably historic houses around the city, nothing truly resembles real European architecture. In fact, the “Hoffman House” is about as close as you can get to an Italian feel in Boise. It creates a very deep presence within the warm springs area, one where you can drive for less then ten minutes, step into a home, and feel like your a thousand miles away. The House embraces an elegance found only in a truly archaic homes yet comfortably allowing a modern living.