The View from My Office

When I was in Seattle last week, a big feature story in the Seattle Times covered the stunning cost that a water or cityscape view adds to urban house and condo prices – and how some developers even buy rights to airspace to prevent others from blocking those views.

Back in Boise, I thought about that when my next-door neighbor texted me the other day to tell me she’d be right outside my office window and didn’t want to alarm me.

“I’m changing out your picture!” she said.

My office faces the side of Jean’s garage – and years ago, she constructed a frame on that exterior wall, into which she slides a new piece of hand-painted artwork every so often, just so I won’t have to look at a blank wall.

OK, so these won’t end up in a posh gallery anytime soon. But to me, they are masterpieces – for what they say about the value of good neighbors.

This month, in addition to my "new view," I’ve received fresh eggs from one couple on the block. Made a delicious stir-fry with the squash, zucchini and peppers – and learned how to can tomatoes – from another. Had coffee and caught up with one who hasn’t been around much this summer. Went to a play with a neighbor who bought too many tickets, just to treat a few friends.

In exchange, I’ve shared homemade jams and applesauce, and fresh fruit I brought back from the farm stands in Washington.

People tell me I could sell my house in Boise and pocket a healthy profit. I can’t say I haven’t been tempted. But then, I think about the real worth of my home – the part that doesn’t show up in an appraisal document – and say, ‘Naaaaah.' The airspace is priceless.