Built in 1905 for the Cottrell family, Sørenshuis continues to be in inspiration. The most significant architectural detailing of middle-class victorian homes was machine-made fancy moldings. Stripped of this bric-a-brac, the homes look bare and unsettling. At the time, relatively new technology was mass producing thousands of different styles of trim and details. These pieces were assembled in every imaginable way, giving every builder a signature styling; most likely based on their own tastes. Throughout Sørenshuis, typical Danish styles were mixed with the high Victorian aesthetic of the time producing a completely unique style. The merchant-builder Søren Peter Jensen was born in Denmark in 1864 where he was trained in building. He left the country with his brother, Niels in 1884 and found their way to Roberts Illinois. Niels stayed in Roberts and founded the Robert’s Tile Factory which became the major industry of the town. Søren met his wife Nellie and in 1890 they set off to Weiser Idaho where’s Nellie’s brother said there was good work for a builder. The dusty pioneer town was full of upstarts looking West to get a fresh start. Though Weiser was an important farm town along the railroad (known for their apples) the state capital, Boise was rapidly becoming the most largest city in the state. In 1901 Søren, Nellie and their three children moved to Boise. The original land patents granted in the 1860’s and 1870’s were being subdivided into fashionable new neighborhoods. Søren, who stylized his name as S. Peter began building homes eventually settling into the Krall addition. Between 1901 and 1907 Søren had built 10 single-family homes and had found success as contractor on the finest commercial buildings in town. Only two of Søren’s homes still stand, with Sørenshuis (also known as the Cottrell-Garrett house) being the largest and most intact.
October 4, 1904
A newspaper ad from the Idaho Statesman placed by Søren (who’s initials were misspelled) for carpenters to build the house.
Front page of the Idaho Statesman January 8, 1905
HOMES OF CAPITAL CITY BUILD [sic] IN 1904
In the bottom left corner, a photo of the home and MRS. EVA O. COTTRELL - 210 Bannock - $2500. The cost of the home. Søren bought the land in 1903 from Richard C. Adelmann for $1,000. Unfortunately the original photo is lost, this microfiche is all that’s left.
The House that Noel Built
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The laundry room after a party. Noel salvaged the bust of Pluto from a condemned theater in Boston. The counter tops are live-edged maple from an old farm in southeastern Idaho. The cabinets are in mahogany. The door fronts are still a work in progress. Noel will add panels of textured glass to the doors, but it’s pretty low on the priority list. I used to use this room as bar for parties. I would fill the sink with ice and load it with beer and soda, and on the the countertops to lay out cocktail components.
The dining room table; a repurposed library table was nine feet long. Noel created a removable net that could be strung across it and it doubled as a ping-pong table.
Built in 1969 as a mid-century reaction to urbanization, Glenn Manor had all the mod-cons of the time. In addition to central AC, gas heat and continuous hot water; Glenn Manor boasted an indoor pool, a sauna, coin-op laundry, landscaped grounds and lots of parking. The “penthouse” apartments included freestanding gas Malm-style fireplaces and wormy cherry wood paneling. I lived at Glenn Manor for five years, at the height of the Mad Men craze and fell in love with the walls of glass contrasting against dark, wood paneling. Fitted with a built-in bar, the place was made for parties. Many a raucous night was spent sipping cocktails and listening to groovy, 1960’s jazz records.
Idaho Statesman front page, April 4th, 1968.
Apartment Complex Rises on North Ninth
A 12-unit apartment shapes up at Glenn Manor Apartments in the 100 block of North Ninth in Boise. An additional 12-unit structure is planned south of this one
This construction photo shows off the the most-striking architectural elements of the buildings; the cantilevered balconies and open-air staircases. The indoor pool, sauna and laundry are on the first floor of this building. Finishing work included vertical strips of wood latticing the open staircases. The balconies fitted with astroturf (invented in 1965) and chainlink balusters. Spun-aluminum pendents hung above the landings in front of each apartment. Mushroom shaped path lights in the garden and the landing lights were set on an astronomic timer- high tech for the period.
Photo by Nickey Jorgenson
I collected old photographs of sailors and would obsessively arrange them in a perfect grid on the fridge. This candid shows the natural look of the fridge- in a state of disorder.
The oak half-wall was an interesting addition. My apartment was the only one with it, and it’s golden-oak stain really didn’t fit with the rest of the wood in the apartment. Designwise it created a gallery which I took advantage of and arranged the furniture on the opposite wall as if it was a store-window. From a practical point of view, it allowed placement of a couch and was a welcoming transition into the space.
Note the avocado-green Malm style functioning gas fireplace. The lamp was built by me from one of the spun-aluminum pendants that formally hung above the landings. While I lived in the apartments, the vertical lattice was removed from the open-staircase, the pendants above the landings were replaced (I was only able to salvage one) and the astroturf was removed. Though, small, cosmetic changes they began to strip the integrity from the building and reduce its charm.
Photo by Joe Jeter
An over-sized poster from a literal shop window added to the set-like atmosphere. The greens and blues contrasted nicely with the dark-brown walls. I liked using it as a photography background also; a nod to the painted backdrops of victorian photographers.
Photo by John Shinn
Soundsham was at one end very much a part of the urban landscape, though it was tucked into a patch a primordial PNW rainforest. It was a very difficult time in my life, and my output was very experimental and raw.
Wagon Wheel Ranch
The ranch was stuck in the desert. it stuck out as a green patch along the creek otherwise inhabited only by sagebrush and snakes. Many themes I still explore in my work were first practiced at the Ranch.
I’ve always been attracted to the primitive forms of photography. The craft and chemistry adds a weight to the images that cannot be reproduced through automatic processes. Cyanotypes; the reaction of iron oxide and cyanid in the presence of UV light produces the pigment called Prussian Blue. The color, a favorite of Van Gogh, Hokusai and Yves Klein alike is reminiscent of deep water and dark nights. Popularly, the cyanotype process was used to copy architectural prints quickly, thus "blueprint” became synonymous with a plan. I photographed these images with a digital camera and produced my own negatives on transparencies. I mixed the cyanotype chemicals and coated the individual sheets of cotton rag paper. Using a simple frame I would expose the prints to sunlight. The variance in vibrance of the color is caused by different amounts of UV light exposure. In the summer, prints can be exposed in just a few minutes. In the depths of winter, the low light and cold temperatures mean exposures can take up to 40 minutes and color is never as rich as the ones in midsummer.
Tanins like those found in tea and wine react with the Prussian Blue and tone the prints with browns and purples.
Cyanotypes have high contrast range and using laser-printed negatives leave a heavy grain adding to the grit and rawness of the process.
Though my work is usually self-portraiture, my experience is still very much reflected through others.