Boise’ s His­tor­i­cal Move­ment

Busi­nesses are tak­ing a unique ap­proach to pro­mote and pre­serve a town’s mid­cen­tury charm.

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Busi­nesses are tak­ing a unique ap­proach to pro­mote and pre­serve a town’s mid­cen­tury charm.

Early in 2016, Boise, Idaho based real es­tate agent TJ Pierce con­nected his pas­sion for Mid­cen­tury Mod­ern his­tory and ar­chi­tec­ture to an oth­er­wise ne­glected niche within the city’s res­i­den­tial mar­ket. Stick­ing to a suc­cess­ful strat­egy fo­cused on iden­ti­fy­ing Boise’s pe­riod prop­er­ties, TJ has helped to re­turn these ar­chi­tec­tural jew­els and their noted cre­ators to the spot­light.


“Art Trout­ner is our most ad­mired ar­chi­tect and his homes seem to be the most in­ter­est­ing and most de­sired by those that call them­selves mid­cen­tury en­thu­si­asts in Boise,” says TJ. “We also had ar­chi­tects like Nat Adams, Joe Le­marche, Vic­tor Hos­ford, Charles Hum­mell and even some na­tional play­ers like Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neu­tra and Cliff May—who have all in­flu­enced our mid­cen­tury mar­ket with their di­rect work.”

The quin­tes­sen­tial ap­peal of mid­cen­tury ar­chi­tec­ture lies in the liv­abil­ity of spa­ces, par­tic­u­larly an em­pha­sis on in­door/out­door ex­pe­ri­ences. TJ sug­gests Boise’s easy ac­cess to out­door re­cre­ation en­joyed through­out the four sea­sons and its pic­turesque land­scape per­haps in­spired the city’s orig­i­nal de­sire to build mid mod style homes. “We are sur­rounded by streams, rivers, lakes, hills and moun­tains. This way of liv­ing has im­pacted ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments that have come to de­fine Mid­cen­tury Mod­ern char­ac­ter­is­tics.”

“Keep in­spir­ing each other to hold true to what makes this era’s de­sign unique and spe­cial. We need more ex­am­ples of how to bring up­dates to a home that are time­less and ap­pro­pri­ate. The world is watch­ing!”

Home­own­ers are drawn to open liv­ing ar­eas, vaulted ceil­ings and large wid­ows to em­brace the views, cou­pled with a de­sign dose of orig­i­nal ma­te­ri­als—brick, wood and stone—ap­plied through­out the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior.


Boise res­i­dent Zach Fronk, the mar­ket pres­i­dent of Hen­rik­sen But­ler in Idaho, a spe­cial­ized com­mer­cial in­te­rior de­sign firm, notes that the firm’s cur­rent projects are in­flu­enced by clas­sic mid­cen­tury style. Draw­ing from the open floor­plans, clients are re­quest­ing that the liv­ing room be brought into the work en­vi­ron­ment. Zach and his team cre­ate of­fice spa­ces with sim­i­lar­i­ties to their retro res­i­den­tial coun­ter­parts by in­clud­ing sim­ple ma­te­ri­als like glass, wood and stone, and fin­ish­ing with dé­cor rooted in Mid­cen­tury Mod­ern de­sign.

TJ finds the en­dur­ing at­trac­tion to mid mod homes lies within the con­text of in­ter­ac­tion. “The as­pect of these homes I find that most peo­ple grav­i­tate to­ward is the fact that they are unique and have great char­ac­ter. They live dif­fer­ently. Invit­ing in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the in­hab­i­tants and the vis­ually in­spir­ing ar­chi­tec­ture.”

“Mid­cen­tury Mod­ern en­thu­si­asts want func­tion­ally, sim­plic­ity, some­thing aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing, and spa­ces that in­vite in­ter­ac­tion with each other— both in­side their homes and within the con­text of their neigh­bor­hoods.”

By Sarah Reidy-fer­gu­son • Pho­tog­ra­phy by Cy Gil­bert

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