121 Retford Ct.
Boise, Idaho 83714
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The house located at 121 Retford Ct. is an outstanding example of Spanish-eclectic architecture. The home was built in 2005 by architect James Gipson, and was styled after homes that the owners had seen while visiting the Mediterranean. “We call it our Mediterranean villa,” the 85 year old owner said. This sprawling abode is situated on almost an acre of land in the Highlands, and stands eye level with the Simplot house. Needless to say, it has a fantastic view of Boise. The owners love watching the fireworks on the 4th of July from their balcony. This house has many Spanish elements to it. The adobe exterior is common in many Spanish homes, especially when it is contrasted with a red roof that consists of curved ceramic tiles. Red tile is also found on the patio, which adds a nice continuity to the colors of the home. Despite these very obvious Spanish components of the home, there are other qualities that are drawn from different areas and eras of the world. There is an extensive use of columns and arches, which are reminiscent of a Byzantine style. Longer, thinner columns appear both on the ground floor and balcony, while short and squat columns are used in the fence outlining the property. The concrete column-like fence posts are separated by darker iron ones. This mixture of materials is another stray away from the typical Spanish architecture. The columns are unadorned, which makes them have Byzantine qualities, rather than Renaissance columns which are much more decorated. Also, many of the columns support an arch. The arches are a very common occurrence in the house, with a massive archway leading to large and elegant doorway, which is also arched. Many of the rooms inside the house also are preceded by an open arch. There is also a slight Renaissance influence in the style of the house, as is evident with the circular tower in which the main staircase is located, but the main aspects of the home that are not direct Spanish style are from the Byzantine era. The Byzantine influences demonstrated throughout the house are what really make the house Spanish eclectic, rather than just Spanish-style. A very interesting note about the style of the house is the continuation of a rounded theme. For example, the same sort of curvature found on the roof tiles is continued in the wrought-iron fence located on the main balcony off of the master bedroom. The curve is found also with the rounded tower, the arches, and even on the top of the garage doors. Decorations such as outdoor sconces and the chandeliers indoors also have rounded elements. The most striking round component is that of the beautiful and elegant grand staircase located right next to the entrance. The rounded continuation is often contrasted with straight lines, such as the straight roof line or the sharp edges of corners; straight railing or fence posts; and even the squareness of the windows. The house is spacious, to say the least. Every room has plenty of room to breathe, and the many windows letting in natural light make the rooms seem even more expansive. The colors are also beautifully coordinated. The walls are the same neutral beige color as the exterior, with many darker wood accents, as well as reds, light blues, and teals to tie everything together. Passing through the house is visually appealing and pleasing, as well as providing a functional design for an entire family to get together in one place. To pretend that this house is just an ordinary Boise house would be futile. From the very second one enters the house, they are greeted by spiraling staircases that seem to reach to the sky and beautiful darkly toned wood stretch across the floor effortlessly. As you follow the sprawling corridors, it becomes easier and easier to get lost in the maze of bedrooms and extra rooms – each of which has an interesting and unique approach to solving common domestic house dilemmas such as lighting and organization of space. The view from the house, nestled peacefully upon a hilltop in the Highlands at Hackberry neighborhood, is also exquisite. Says the owner, “On the Fourth of July, we can watch all the different fireworks shows from the windows.” Considering the way that Boise itself is a fairly largely spaced out city, this claim seems to be an exaggeration – until you step out onto one of the two main balconies that overlook the cityscape. Standing above almost everybody else in the city gives one a definite advantage and that includes being able to overlook every corner of our city. 121 E. Retford Ct. stands out architecturally and location-wise for several reasons. Boise, a city that is diverse in architecture in its own right, contains a smaller ratio of Spanish Eclectic or Mediterranean homes in comparison to the Craftsman houses that seem to be on every street corner; because of that, it’s already unique. That coupled with the breathtaking contrasts of shapes and colors inside of the house and considering the gorgeous view of the city, makes the Gruber’s house a gorgeous dwelling that is sure to see many more interesting characters in its time.
Building submitted by Lois Boylan and Alyssa Seideman