It began with a rather cryptic real estate ad.
Greg Satz and his family had picked up listings on a trip to Albertsons, and came across one that included a photo of Downtown Boise and few other identifying landmarks.
“We, for the life of us, couldn’t figure out where it was,” Satz says. He was intrigued enough to get in contact with the broker and soon found himself winding through an overgrown property off Warm Springs Avenue with his then-3-year-old daughter in tow. When they reached the top of the hill, he realized they’d stumbled upon “a little piece of heaven.”
That was the end of 1994. Satz and his wife at the time purchased the land and began working with Eagle-based architect Trey Hoff to create a home that would showcase its spectacular view of Downtown Boise and the beauty of the surrounding Foothills. Hoff’s design aimed to integrate the home into the landscape, making it part of the environment rather than, as Satz explains, “an ostentatious monster conquering.”
In short, the goal was to build a house in a hill rather than a house on a hill. Hoff drew from his study of Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie style of architecture as he created this home in harmony with the natural terrain and features of the property.
“I was inspired by two immense basalt boulders that were perfectly spaced apart to locate the central core of the house, allowing it to become a part of the natural landscape,” he says. “The boulders would flank and anchor the central core of the house on each side.”
The resulting 5-bedroom, 7,000-square-foot home includes a monolithic tower at its center — Hoff’s favorite feature — and two wings that form an L from that core structure. Nearly every room has access to a landscaped patio. Large windows along the exterior walls also serve to bring the outside in and keeps the world at bay.
The tranquility and scenery are Satz’s favorite aspects of the home. He loves watching dozens of deer congregate outside and living so close to wildlife.
“It’s almost like a meditation retreat,” says the retired entrepreneur and software engineer. And spending more than two decades in the space hasn’t diminished his appreciation of the view. There are still times when he will be lost in his thoughts until a hawk draws his attention outside.
But now he’s looking to the future. It was a family home for years, but Satz is now its sole occupant, and he’s decided that it’s time to seek new owners.
The house and the 60 acres of natural terrain that surround it are now on the market for $7.75 million. For a single-family home in Idaho, that’s an incredibly rich price point. And though the Sun Valley market has a fair number of multimillion-dollar properties, it’s more unusual in Boise, says Eric DeBord, the listing agent for the Satz home with Red Pheasant Realty.
“As much as Boise is growing, there’s not a huge market for things even over $2 million,” he says. “So this becomes a very specific and special kind of property in that sense.”
As a point of comparison, it took actor Bruce Willis seven years to sell his lakefront Hailey estate for $5.5 million. Incidentally, many Boise residents have speculated over the years that Willis lived in the Satz house — some have even asked Satz about it while he’s been at the gate of the property to take out the trash. He’s also received two pieces of mail for actor Val Kilmer, who was occasionally spotted around Boise about a decade ago.
DeBord finds the local lore amusing. He knows the home well — his family spent a lot of time visiting and witnessing the spectrum of nature on display. He notes that it’s hard not to just stand and stare sometimes.
“On a summer evening, as the sun’s setting up here, there’s a certain peace that settles in like a fog over you,” he says. “It’s kind of incredible.”
Living in the Boise Foothills has not been without challenges. The house’s exposure to nature means it requires year-round maintenance, and Satz has had to contend with occasional leaks in the roof. The steep, winding driveway can be a challenge in the winter. And despite his attention to defensible space around the house, a couple of summers have posed wildfire concerns.
Still, Satz loves his home. And he wants its next owner to love it. It’s a versatile space, he says, and there’s nothing else like it in Boise. “You want to know that someone is enjoying it,” he says.