Have a historic home? Here’s how a Boise family brought theirs into the 21 Century

Discover 4 remodels that will inspire and give you total kitchen envy

Four kitchens throughout the Treasure Valley underwent major remodels. The results? You'll have to see them for yourself. Read more about these kitchens at
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Four kitchens throughout the Treasure Valley underwent major remodels. The results? You'll have to see them for yourself. Read more about these kitchens at

Susan and Tim Nichols’ kitchen blends stately elegance and American tradition. Sleek contemporary cabinetry mix with farm-style wood pieces, antique knickknacks, unusual finds and brilliant colorful accents.

I like mixing old and new with pops of color.

Homeowner Susan Nichols

Nichols kitchen stove detail
Most of her new kitchen is monochromatic — classic tones of gray. So, she wanted something fun — and a bit extravagant — her fireengine-red Italian made Bertazzoni Professional Series oven. Darin Oswald

Originally from New York, Nichols moved to Boise 20 years ago and settled in the North End with Tim. Two years ago they settled into this green two-story house on a corner lot and “we’re not moving again. This is it,” she says.

It’s one of the oldest homes in the neighborhood. Built in 1895 as a single family home, it was converted into three separate apartments, each with its own kitchen, in the 1940s to provide housing for soldiers returning after the war. The Nicholses wanted to return it to its past glory, but with a modern twist.

They left the upstairs as its own space where the 12- and 15-year-old kids and turned the kitchen — without appliances — into a craft area.

“It’s now the kids’ space,” Nichols says. “The sink comes in very handy for crafts and making slime, which is a big trend for 12-year-old girls.”

They spent the first year converting the two downstairs apartments into one seamless living space, that includes an home office for Nichols.

Next they tackled the main floor kitchen. They worked with contractor Brian McGaha to bring it all together.

“Both Tim and I have very similar eclectic aesthetics,” she says. “It’s really a collection of things that have been handed down from family, our own stuff bought and re-imagined, and many, quirky vintage finds.”

They did lots of online research and found inspiration on websites such as eclectic design site Houzz, British custom-design furniture company deVol Kitchens, and Boise interior designer Judith Balis, “whom I follow and adore,” she says.

By the time they started, “We had a clear vision for our project, once we identified the configuration, style, color scheme, and materials,” Nichols says. They took out the wall that separated the kitchen from the dining area, moved the refrigerator and reconfigured the orientation.

Nichols and her contractor worked with Tree City Woodworking in Garden City to create her sleek Shaker-style cabinets.

Nichols kitchen wide view
Darin Oswald

The backsplash is a porcelain slab she bought at Oregon Tile and Marble. Its Quartz Statuario pattern coordinates with the Calcutta quartz of the countertops.

The porcelain was less expensive and allowed her to use more of her budget for other items, such as the Bertazzoni integrated gas-electric cooktop and oven, and Thermador refrigerator and dishwasher.

To save on budget, Tim recreated her “inspiration” stools by spray-painting stools they bought on Craigslist.

“It was supposed to be temporary, but I love the splash of color so they're staying,” she says.

The unusual birdcage chandelier is the centerpiece of the kitchen. It’s by Estonian artists Kekoni. She found them on Etsy and fell in love with the idea.

“I think it creates a sense of whimsy,” she says. “And adds to our collection of bird paraphernalia.”

Tree City also created custom panels for the appliances to give the small kitchen a larger and more seamless feel.