This well-preserved 1965 Boise home gets an era-appropriate refresh combining restoration and thoughtful replacements.
The online listing for the 1965 custom-built home overlooking Boise, Idaho, hadn’t convinced Marcia Welker. She thought the home, still in its original condition and still owned by the original family, was a bit too original. Seeing the home in person, though, was a whole different experience. “Several weeks later when we had moved to Boise, Steve convinced me to just look at it,” Marcia recalls. “I wasn’t that impressed with the outside, but when we opened the original double doors, wow, I couldn’t believe what we had just walked into.”
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Steve and Marcia Welker walked into a 4,000-square-foot, two-story home built by Ralph E. Sherman that offered four bedrooms, four bathrooms, views of Boise and wall-to-wall original details in near-pristine condition.
“Nearly everything was original to 1965, including many of the furniture pieces,” Marcia says. “There were a few ’70s décor changes, but nothing structural. The quality of workmanship, cabinets, built-ins and how consistent it was throughout the house was crazy for being 60 years old. Everything was so beautifully preserved, it was as though no one lived here. After the walkthrough, we kept thinking about all the things we could do to ‘trick-out’ the house.”
Marcia and Steve were sold, and soon the house was theirs. Not only did they purchase the home, they also purchased a number of furniture pieces from the original homeowners. Designer Jessica Luque of Stussi Luque Design was brought on board to lead the year-long update project.
Where to Update
“In the words of Steve, they wanted to take the home from ‘Rat Pack Hollywood regal’ to reflect more of a Mid Century Modern feel,” Jessica shares. “They wanted to make clean updates that didn’t take away from or feel like they were too modernized to fit with the original home.”
From outside-in, the couple made choices on what to keep, what to enhance and what to replace. The changes in some spaces were minor, like in the showstopping entryway. It retained its original gold wallpaper, flagstone flooring and ironwork stair railing, but gained a new light fixture.
The living room had a much more dramatic update—once covered in mirrors, the space now features wood paneling. “I think there is no better way to add warmth than to add wood paneling,” designer Jessica shares. “The entryway has such a warm, inviting feel to it and I wanted to carry that throughout the rest of the living areas.”
The kitchen maintained its original footprint and many original cabinets. Jessica took out the upper cabinets that once divided the kitchen from the family room to lighten the space and make room for a new gas stove and cooktop. New cabinets accommodate new appliances, custom-built to match the look of the originals.
“We expected to do a full kitchen remodel, but the custom-built, on-site cabinetry is in excellent shape,” Marcia says. “Shayne Thueson from Nystrom, in Boise, suggests that we keep them. All of the woodwork in the home, and there is a lot, was meticulously maintained for 60 years.”
Restoration Meets Renovation
In the bathrooms, the couple kept the cabinetry, counters and sinks, and upgraded the fixtures. Carpeting was removed in most of the home. The walls were repainted. They repurposed original mirrors and light fixtures, finding new uses in different parts of the home. The popcorn ceilings were scraped in most of the home, with one notable exception.
“The one room that Steve wanted to keep completely original was his office,” Jessica says. “The original carpet in the office was in great shape, it was a green wool carpet. We kept the popcorn ceiling and repainted the walls the exact shade of green they originally were.”
With the home projects mostly complete (the couple has more landscaping planned and is hoping to find someone in the Boise area who can fix the Nutone intercom radio combo system), the Welkers are enjoying all their beautiful home has to offer.
“We have 4,000 square feet of mid century yumminess,” Marcia says. “My husband has claimed the lower level family room with the bar and pool table for his area. It has a large sliding glass door to the backyard with a patio. My favorite spaces are the office with the cool boomerang desk and the large main patio area with large sliding glass door access from the family room and living room areas and the original mid-century outdoor furniture we purchased from the estate. It has the original gas torches and barbeque, all still working. I also love the living room and entryway. I love the entire house.”
Did you know Boise has quite a bit of Mid Century Modern to offer? Check out Curating Authentic Mid Century Furnishings in Boise. See another wow-worthy Boise home in our new Summer issue!