Episode Two of our first season of Boise Boys features a little home in the North End we affectionately called the Ugly Duckling. Frankly, there was nothing attractive about this shoebox home other than its North End Boise location. It was narrow, smelly, dark, and came with its own back yard dump! We had to look really hard to find any redeeming traits in this sad little home; but, we were able to capture a vision and ultimately the location sold us on the Ugly Duckling.

LUKE: This was one of the most difficult homes I have ever attempted to design for. The exterior had zero curb appeal and the interior had no flow and the floor plan was at best confusing. Ultimately, the thing that allowed me to get my mind around a design scheme was first knowing the whole front of the house had to change. I knew I wanted to embrace the original Craftsman style of the home so I decided to add two new gables and a front porch- This brought dimension and style to the home. In regards to the interior it was a start over so first things first- Move the kitchen! All the way from one side of the house to the other…but that meant getting Clint on board. Yikes!

CLINT: So, Luke wants to move the kitchen. Good grief! Never mind the fact that all of the plumbing and electrical is already on one side of the house specifically for a kitchen. Sometimes he really challenges me, our budget, common sense, reality, and the universe itself with his design ideas; so, I am constantly crafting ways to effectively and efficiently build his design. In this case I was fortunate that Luke wanted to move the kitchen near the existing bathroom. This allowed me to tap into the existing drain and water supply lines and mitigate some of the costs associated with relocating an entire kitchen.

We both knew going in that the way we would make our money on the Ugly Duckling would be to make it bigger. Square footage sells at a premium in the North End, so more square footage means more profit. On a small lot, adding more square footage means going up! We began gutting the home and as we removed the roof something beautiful happened!

CLINT: I was standing in the gutted home at the end of the day with half the roof removed and I looked up at the beautifully vaulted roofline high above the living room. We had decided to come back with a ten-foot ceiling in the living room, but once I saw the openness and beauty of the vault, I knew we had to leave it open. A couple of beams could secure the structure and I knew I’d have ZERO issues convincing Luke to go with the vault!

LUKE: No complaints from me! I'm all about the vault and this time I didn't even have to ask for it. I loved the fact that it allowed me to make a statement with a floor-to-ceiling custom fireplace. In every home we renovate I like to have multiple design features that make the home unique and add value. Adding the second story allowed me to zero-in on the staircase. I wanted do something different and decided on a floating steel staircase that really would become the unexpected statement piece in the home.

CLINT: Maybe it didn’t disappoint but it did hurt! That thing was massive and as heavy as a small car. Just getting it off the truck was a feat, not to mention getting it to the house, in the house, in place, and then secure. It took everyone on hand and we really could have used even more guys to get it into place. Once the steel monster was in place I installed the beautiful thick natural wood treads that I had prepared beforehand in my shop.

LUKE: Once the stairway was in, the design ideas were flowing. I wanted to give the home a Modern Craftsman feel with a handful of Scandinavian touches throughout. From the natural wood floors to the one of kind super white dolomite, this Ugly Duckling was truly becoming a Swan! The beautiful transom window over the plant ledge brought light and life into the master bedroom and the covered front porch invited all to experience the beauty and warmth of this now serene North End home.

CLINT: When the dust cleared and the home was completed, our budget was as blown as the blown glass light fixtures Luke had hand-made; but, the finished product was truly a masterpiece. We always want to serve the home, community, and future owner with craftsmanship and beauty. This home didn’t disappoint! We hope you have enjoyed this episode and we hope this blog has helped fill-in a few more aspects of the Ugly Duckling! Keep coming back for more behind the scenes, how-to’s, design tips, and fun with the Boise Boys.


Luke and Clint