Mid-century homes like this one on the Boise Bench are having a moment. Each month, real estate agent TJ Pierce (second from right) features photos and the story of a local mid-century modern homeowner on his Facebook page. September is the month for the home of Jason and Valerie Keeble (left), which was designed by the late Boise architect Nat Adams and built in 1957. Jason Keeble, owner of Trademark Sign Company, is an illustrator, and his paintings adorn the walls of the couple’s home.
Pierce said about 11,000 mid-century homes were built in Boise in the 1950’s and 60’s. Pierce’s Facebook features have been shared by Atomic Ranch magazine, a national publication focused on mid-century modern houses. Mid-century modern characteristics in the Keeble home include exposed roof framing, tongue-and-groove cedar ceilings, clerestory windows along the street side of the house to provide privacy but let in light, and a baseboard heater. In 1957, baseboards were the solution for hassle-free heat – they meant no more wood chopping and storage.
Stephanie Clarkson, chairman of Preservation Idaho’s Idaho Modern advocacy committee, said mid-century modern design in Boise combines natural and manmade elements with technology (such as electric heating and cooling) and construction methods that were modern at the mid-century point. Telltale signs of mid-century modern design in the Keeble home are the front door, painted in an accent color and featuring a center-placed brass door knob and star-burst escutcheon, Oakley stone, vertical wood siding and exposed rafter tails, Clarkson said.
Here, in a room full of exposed, naturally finished wood, Pierce and writer Susie Boorse try out the original sconces, used to cast light across vertical surfaces. This room also features indirect lighting from recessed fixtures, hidden to provide softer, more natural lighting that bounces off vast horizontal surfaces. The half wall divider separates the dining room, second living room and kitchen, and provides thoughtful storage areas with the same material as the wall finish for harmony.
For more information about Boise’s mid-century masterpieces, pick up the first edition of the Idaho Modern Field Guide for Mid-Century Homes at the Boise City Department of Arts & History.