“The Church” 1723 Eastman
“The Church” renovation, which was a collaboration between Cooper Kalisek, owner of The North End Group and Jon King, owner of King Building and Remolding, located on the corner of 18th and Eastman, was a massive undertaking which included a complete interior and exterior remodel that focused on maintaining the stunning craftsmanship and the historic significance of the original building. The goal was to do a “period correct” exterior remodel which would transform the United Presbyterian Church of Boise into a single-family residence in a manner that not only complied with the Historic Commission’s rules and guidelines but emphasized the buildings vast space, including its 22 foot ceilings, sandstone walls, and brick fireplace. The remodel succeeded in converting the original 4,560 sqft church into roughly 5,500 sqft of single-family living complete with a 330 sqft attached tandem garage and an additional 560 sqft of unfinished flex-space. “The Church” includes 5 spacious bedrooms, 3.5 baths, with the primary living area, great room, bar, master suite, laundry room, and kitchen on the main level and the basement featuring a secondary bar, living area, natural sandstone wine cellar complete with laydown area, spacious laundry room with beautiful bambucha counters and full size utility sink, walk-in safe with secure vault safe door, two walk-in storage areas, three bedrooms, and secondary master suite.
The interior remodel was a down to the studs demo that required the removal of over 120,000 pounds of lead based lath and plaster; three additions, worth of pieced together, hazardous electrical and plumbing; incorrectly repaired floor joists and bearing walls originally damaged in a 1960’s arson attempt; a structurally incorrect baptismal; and removal of the basement’s entire interior structure which included a pier supported hardwood floor laid over a dirt base. The main living area floor was leveled, shimmed, and sheeted using ¾ inch tongue and groove, oriented strand board which were needed to achieve the necessary four inches of incline gain, spanning from the NW to SW corner, in order to eliminate the “floor-bounce” caused by the attempted arson.
The exterior remodel focused on restoring the original lap siding based on the advice of a 90 year old gentleman that happened to drive by and ask why they ever “covered up the beautiful siding.” The decision to remove the shingle siding was a huge gamble, luckily, it was surprisingly well preserved under the asbestos shingles. The preserved siding was painted to the original white, and extensive trim and siding repairs were done to mirror the original exterior. The vast majority of the siding was easily repairable with a minimal amount of new lap tied in. Unfortunately, the beautiful stained glass windows had sustained irreparable damage from poor building techniques and decades of neglect. The main 150 south facing stained glass window had been supporting the roof, with no structural aid from headers, for over 100 years and was also sustaining horizontal loads from the overflow balcony floor joists so the weight of the structure was resting on the actual stained glass window and lead cames. This resulted in bellowing and gaps up to ½ inch between the stained glass and lead cames. Mid-renovation the structural integrity of the window and west wall became so dangerous that the build team cordoned off the entire interior and exterior perimeter of the west wall, and a request for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA), for safety of life reasons, to remove the stained glass. Numerous consultants both local and nationwide were contacted to try and salvage the windows, ultimately to no avail. This resulted in North End Development and King Building and Remodeling having to hand template each window to be custom built.
The west window and wall required a complete rebuild. LSL studs and new headers were installed in order to remove the weight of the structure from the large glass windows. The new custom windows, done by Pella, took months to build and received hand-made trim to match the original window shape and trim out. Although the stained glass windows were not able to remain in place, they were removed without sustaining significant damage, in a massive undertaking that included building custom safety cages and reinforcing the windows prior to removal. The stained glass windows are currently being stored for return to the Boise Bible College, which was started by the churches congregation at the time the arson attempt took place. The insurance money received for repairs to the church was used to fund the new Boise Bible College campus which today remains a Boise institution. Although time intensive and financially burdensome, the stained glass window debacle allowed the team to save the historic church windows, preserving an important piece of the City of Boise and church’s history. The preservation of the stained glass windows, which include the five foyer windows, required the team to dissemble and reassemble each delicate window by hand, pane by pane, in what can only be described as a painstaking, fragile, and tedious process that could not have been more rewarding knowing a beautiful piece of history was successfully preserved. The stained glass windows were replaced with custom high R-value double pane windows that provided a significant increase in the efficiency of the building that allowed for the removal of one of the three originally required HVAC units.
This project highlights an excellence of design and creativity, due to the collaboration of Mr. King and Mr. Kalisek. Together, they possess a team of artists and craftsman, with portfolios of proven records of success, that offer a vertically integrated construction team comprised of true experts in their fields. The vast and diversified knowledge of their teams allowed them successful execution of this project.
Jon King of King building has defined “custom built” and brings every aspect of his renovations or new builds to the next level by implementing unique, hand built, and artistic plays on items such as staircases, handrails, countertops, and bars. Cooper Kalisek, of North End Development, has a distinct, imaginative vision, coupled with the ability and means to execute which enables him to find, evaluate, acquire, and manage projects that others overlook. His extensive business knowledge and real estate expertise coupled with the varied background of North End Development’s board of advisors provides a diverse and unique insight into the areas needed to complete successful projects.
The project architect, Beth Lassen, of Beth Lassen Design Co, lead the historic commission for nine years and has been active in the historic preservation of the north end throughout her career. Mr. King, Mr. Kalisek, and Ms. Lassen were able to contrive a functional design, after multiple iterations, that allowed the very large building, to have a feeling of “home” by creating an inviting, livable space that felt warm and comfortable. This was no small feat as the spaciousness of the design provided problems in areas of lighting, room layout, and noise transfer.
The execution in mixing modern design and historic preservation. With the exterior being almost originally asbuilt, and the interior offering a more modern architectural design aspect, the juxtaposition offers a very unique build job. The entryway door and lighting are period correct, yet use materials and design to help transition the home to its more modern interior aspects. The uniqueness of the grain matched, waterfalled black walnut island that flows into reversed poured cement counter tops complete with a unique naturally stained patina compliment the mix of light and dark woods and cold rolled steel fireplace and backsplash, with the hand-made steel and wood railings being welded on site by local artist, offers an industrial feel that is still warm and inviting. The distinctively high ceilings offered a challenge to find lighting solutions that brought light both upwards and down allowing the main room and kitchen areas ceiling height be emphasized without having it feel overly large. Every aspect of the interior build is custom, one of a kind, and demonstrates the highest level of craftsmanship and creativity.