Here in Seattle we couldn’t help but take notice of the recent buzz surrounding our Northwest neighbor, Boise, Idaho. A recent article by Geekwire suggests that Boise is the number one relocation destination for Seattleites moving out of the Puget Sound Region. This peaked our interest, and we wanted to find out more, specifically, as it pertains to the real estate market and the demand for mid-century homes.
We thought we’d go directly to the source to get the scoop and see just what it is that makes Boise such an attractive place to live. And with so many homes on the market at affordable prices, we wanted to know what it is that makes Boise’s mid-century homes so appealing.
TJ Pierce, founder and owner of Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate was very helpful in explaining what’s been going on. His company is a ‘niche market real-estate team’ that specializes in the buying and selling of homes built during the 1950s & 1960s.
Not only has Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate been making big waves in the mid-century real estate scene around Boise & beyond, but they have also helped to foster a thriving mid-century community.
Before we get started discussing the story of Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate, let’s hear from TJ, about the burgeoning Boise scene.
What are some of the driving forces behind the current excitement about Boise?
Boise is an great location that is continuing to receive a lot of national attention. We are seeing a very rapid rate of growth, and last year about 48,000 people moved to the Treasure Valley area (including Boise & surrounding areas). And with good reason. It is a super accessible and affordable place to live with a lots of great outdoor activities and an excellent quality of life.
Two major things are happening to help bring this attention to Boise. The first thing is the city’s mission statement, “Making Boise the most livable city in the country”. With this goal at the forefront, the city is highly committed to getting on ‘best of lists’ as often as they can. They’ve been doing lots of lobbying and PR work to help in this endeavor, and it seems to be working.
All of this attention is generating interest from larger corporations and companies who want to take advantage of all that this location has to offer. In addition to newer companies like Element Skateboards & T-Sheets, Boise already has a robust tech scene and is home to companies like Micron, HP, and Bodybuilding.com. All of these companies have contributed to sustaining a flourishing local economy, in addition to stimulating job growth.
In larger metropolitan areas like Denver, and Seattle people can sell their homes for double or tipple what homes in Boise cost. The average price of a home in Ada County is $270,000. This can give some home owners the luxury of buying a home outright, and living mortgage free. That can be a major incentive, as can the cost of living that Boise can offer its residents.
Boise’s downtown is small and quaint, but not too small. It has a hip and friendly community vibe with lots of access to arts and culture. New wineries, eateries, and microbreweries are popping up all the time.
In addition to a great downtown community that offers walkability and affordability, in Boise, you can get all the outdoor living that your heart desires. The mild climate means that there are always excellent opportunities to experience the great outdoors. In 35-40 minutes outside the city, you have access to snowboarding, biking, river rafting, and so much more. Many of these activities are even accessible within minutes from the Downtown area.
About Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate
TJ and the team at Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate hit the ground running right from the start. He knew he wanted to do something that would combine his passion for mid-century architecture with his knack for business and marketing. Getting his real estate license seemed the natural first step towards making his goals a reality.
As TJ puts it, ‘I’ve always had a general interest in business. Real estate is expression out of that.’
In a short period, TJ has built quite a name for his company not only in Boise but within the larger mid-century community as well. Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate has gone from being the ‘new kid on the block’ to a leader in world of mid-century real estate.
TJ attributes much of this success to expertise and bringing awareness to mid-century homes in Boise. TJ sees this as a fantastic opportunity to connect, and share his enthusiasm for mid-century homes with other like-minded enthusiasts, as well as generate new interest in homes built during this era.
Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate has received a lot of attention in Boise and beyond for their features on the mid-century homes of local home owners that they have been conducting since the very start. As TJ explains, ‘when we launched the company we were committed to doing monthly home owner features. Atomic Ranch took notice of these stories and was kind to share our features through their social network sites. This extra exposure helped us gain quite a following both locally and across the globe.’
Let’s hear more from TJ about his company’s story.
Tell us where your passion for Mid Century comes from.
I’ve always had a natural affinity for mid-century design. The first home that my wife and I bought at age 23, was a 1950s ranch house. I didn’t know what it was back then, but we knew we loved it and we have had such fond memories of that home. I also grew up in an A-frame home in Northern Idaho on 5 acres. My parents moved from California and secured their own piece of private Idaho paradise. In addition to offering the indoor/outdoor living experience, it featured exposed beams, tongue and groove cedar vaulted ceilings, and large picture floor-to-ceiling windows. I suppose growing up with these features has had a lasting impact.
What are some of the defining characteristics of Boise’s best MCM homes?
We have lots of light all year around, so homes with huge windows that allow us to take advantage of the natural light are a great find. We also see homes that are integrated well with nature, and have Oakley stone everywhere! Lots of homes have great wood paneling, beams and other features that were all sourced from local building materials. Such is the case with one of our current listings, that features rocks from Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve. These rocks are now protected and can no longer be taken from the park, but back in the day these rocks were hand picked and strategically selected to compliment the property.
Notable architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Cliff May, Charles Hummel, Art Troutner, Nat Adams, Joe LaMarche, and Victor Hosford have all graced our market and built some pretty amazing homes that many enthusiasts call their own today.
Tell us about the benefits of serving such a specialized market.
Our niche market is so dialed-in that we make buying a home a pretty painless process for most people. Being so hyper-focused on mid-century homes gives us the benefit of knowing our clients well and acting fast since it’s the only segment we pay attention to. On average, we are showing clients only two homes before submitting offers and 80% of the time our offers are getting accepted.
Because we market our services to people who typically already highly value mid-century homes, it doesn’t take us much time at all to truly “get” what our clients are looking for with the excepting of a few small nuances here and there. When a mid-century home becomes available for purchase, we are usually one of the first to show that home and one of the first to get an offer in. This gives us quite an advantage when positioning ourselves among other competitive offers.
Although there have been some ups and downs, and a few growing pains, we feel that we’ve carved out a pretty amazing niche in Boise, and so far, it has paid off.
What steps are Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate taking to Educate and Raise Awareness Around Mid Century Modern Homes in Boise, ID?
We help educate enthusiasts by conducting monthly home tours by selecting mid-century homes that are currently available for purchase. While we tour these homes we enjoy teaching people about the ‘reasons, ways, and whys’ these homes were created the way they were. Through this we can encourage them to truly appreciate what is there and how they can celebrate it.
A few members of our team are also Board Members of Idaho Modern, a preservationist group, who has had a lot of success educating people about mid-century architecture and design in the area. They recently produced a Field Guide for mid-century home owners that has proven to be a pretty handy tool for folks who are dealing with mid-century architecture.
Tell us about the extraordinary Art Troutner home you recently listed.
Art Troutner is basically the Frank Lloyd Wright of Boise. We have the privilege of listing one of his most original, unique and untouched homes, and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s been such a pleasure working with the family and documenting the historical significance of the home, and hearing all of great stories around how it was built. It’s such an architecturally significant home, that we want to ensure that we are really honoring it in how we present it.
From Mid-century homes:
Completed in 1959, The Phillips House is a singular piece of Boise history and a remarkably preserved example of architect Art Troutner’s genius. Designed by Troutner for Dr. John Phillips, a professor and head of the psychology at Boise State, and his young family, the Phillips remained the only owners and stewards of the house until 2017. Save for the additions of a shop and detached mother- in-law suite, the house is almost entirely original.
Nestled in the shady, tree-lined streets of the Kootenai neighborhood and directly adjacent to Bowden Park, the home is all at once secluded and accessible. Every detail in the composition of this house, from the unique folded roof, to the highly organized post and panel wall systems, is entirely custom. Both exterior and interior are one-of-a-kind.
The soaring triangular origami roof is remarkable even by Troutner’s standards. Dramatically perched in the sprawling lawn, zen garden, and mature landscape of the property, the house appears to effortlessly float in space.
Inside, the natural light pours in through large windows, immersing the residents in views of trees and garden, reinforcing the connection with the outdoors. Oriented around an iconic central stone fireplace, the floor plan and rooms all echo a triangular theme and boast warm, natural materials. Innovative and thoughtful details abound, including abundant storage, a sleek galley kitchen, and a charming child’s bedroom, designed for the Phillips’ twin boys.
The quality, condition, and character of this signature piece of architecture represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Troutner aficionados and mid-century enthusiasts alike: this is a chance to own a treasure.
The whole goal behind moving forward with the planning of Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate was to combine my passion for mid-century architecture, with my affinity for business and marketing. The real estate market has given me a fun playground for the past two years, and I am proud of what we’ve created. It was obvious to me that there was a niche that needed to be filled. By meeting this need, we have made a significant impact on the mid-century real estate market in Boise, ID.
‘If you are looking to buy a mid-century modern home in Boise, Idaho, Mid-Century Homes by Moniker Real Estate is the only name you need to know.’