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Split Level House

Area Address Building Status Architectural Style
Foothills
Boise, Idaho
Private Split-Level

The home is located in the Warm Springs Mesa Neighborhood with views of Table Rock and the Boise Valley. The Mesa though overall it is gently sloped, smaller details of it like individual property is fairly steep for a house, a split level can accommodate these slopes very well. The Split level design was quite popular during the '60s and '70s and is clearly symbolized by the split level ranch home of the Brady Bunch. Frank Lloyd Wright is generally credited with the idea of dividing up the home into multiple functional units. The main idea of the design was utilizing as much space as possible without violating building codes, and dividing the family space into functional units. The war was now 15 years away and many adults, some of them war vets, already had growing families and new needs. The Levittown homes were now too small for most families and the advent of the Television, more appliances and the car were changing everyday needs. More than one separate living area and a connected garage became more important. Many split levels have a "formal living room" and a less formal hangout usually in the lowest part of the house below the main space were the TV and other entertainment devices were. This was very clear to me when I visited the house. The TV and a comfortable sofa were down the short stairs from the front doors in a dark lower level. The home has four separate levels and follows the basic outline of the split level. The front door is up a flight of steps and the entryway is typical of many split levels with a left facing stairwell. The short staircases lead up to the kitchen, formal living room, and office, while below there are bedrooms and a large TV room. The stairs are often raised and present the halfway point of the house. The entryway continues down and to the right a narrow hallway reveal more bedrooms. The house is quite large having a total square footage of 3120ft. The first feeling you get when you enter from the somewhat small entryway is a very open and spacious living room. The living room is nicely decorated and really is quite large, a remodel either in 2004 or before expanded it out to include what was once a deck. The living room is above the garage at the front L portion of the house which is next to the office room and the Kitchen at the back. The house has four bedrooms and two bathrooms as well an office. The outside of the home shows a low Dutch hip roof and largely embodies a ranch style house rather than the misleading term "vernacular." The home is positioned with both wings of the house being perpendicular to each other and appears to largely be a simple two story home. The unequal height of both the second floors and the position of the door between levels gives it away as a split level home. The large square windows and distinctive roof pitch, as well as simple wood siding give the house a Ranch Style. The hip roof has 4 roof sides that all slope down to their respective walls.The house has added interest with an added so called Dutch hipped roof which shows a small gabled portion of the roof instead of just the hipped roof. This cross of design is meant to add architectural interest and is common on ranch houses and "sugar cane" bungalows in Hawaii. Vernacular would not describe this split level because it could only be used in an extremely loose interpretation. In the strictest sense, vernacular architecture is by local indigenous populations that construct dwellings out of local materials, with adherence to environmental factors, and do not have a professional architect. Vernacular architecture is Igloos of the Inuit, mud brick huts in Africa and reed and bamboo homes in some parts of Southeast Asia that provide flood protection. The term "Vernacular Split Level" is therefore not an accurate description of the house. The house was designed by an architect with almost all modern building materials already processed and moved to the site from further destinations. The use of the split level design would be one of the few factors that is influenced by the environment of the mesa, and the rocky terraced yard which is constructed out of locally available basalt. Often vernacular architecture in the loose sense would refer to older style houses being modified for their environment and the styles of the area.The home was last remodeled in 2004, and certain features of the home indicate the changes made. One part of the structure that looks off is the wing of the garage with the large living room above. It was once encircled by a balcony but now a bare stretch of siding is very noticeable on the side of the garage. The family has plans of keeping the expanded living room and build a new terrace around it. The small amount of terraced earth and the incline need to be considered as they will have to take on the weight on the balcony. The home also incorporates a ground level balcony in the backyard and it can be seen that the house as been maintained well.

Building submitted by Ivan Vojvodic

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