Cover-ups for problem walls

Over time, it’s natural for wallsespecially older plaster ones-to develop slight cracks, bulges, and holes that defy repeated repair treatments. Strategically hanging photos or artwork isn’t the only way to hide these imperfections. Put away the hammer and nails, and take a look at some other camouflaging options.

Decorative painting, which generally uses a base coat of paint topped with a glaze, can add texture that disguises scars in your wall surface. Rag rolling is one of the best techniques because it leaves rough, crinkled dabs of glaze that blend in with surface cracks. Sponging and color washing work well, too.

Embossed wall coverings were first developed in Victorian times to minimize wall blemishes. Modern versions, made of vinyl-coated paper stamped with dozens of raised designs, hide wall cracks and bulges just as well. Because these embossed papers have a stiff makeup and difficult-to-match seams, they should be professionally installed. Once hung, coverings should also be painted to hide the seams.

Wall liners, the newest cover-up option, make small imperfections in your walls practically disappear. By bridging cracks and other undesirable blemishes in your walls, they provide a smooth, even surface that can be painted or covered with wallpaper. Wall liners come in a variety of thicknesses; check with your wall coverings dealer to see which type is best for your situation. They can also be used to cover all types of problem walls, such as the especially troublesome old paneling, concrete blocks, or heavy wall texture.

Cleaner-air lawn care

For many people, fueling up the mower and cutting the grass each week are as routine as fueling the car and driving to work. But in most cases, mowing the lawn creates a lot more pollution. In fact, you’d have to drive a new car about 340 miles to emit the same amount of air pollution most mowers emit in an hour. To reduce your mower’s harmful effects on the environment, start with a tune-up. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, replace the oil, air filter, and spark plug. Then, adjust the carburetor and sharpen the blades. If you’re not handy with small engines, many repair shops will perform such routine maintenance for about $30. The annual engine maintenance will keep your mower running smoothly, and the sharp blades will slice through the grass with minimum effort from the engine.

Next, try to reduce the amount of time you spend with the mower running. Find the pattern that lets you mow your yard the fastest. And if you bag your clippings, turn the mower off while you’re loading and unloading the bag. Most clippings decompose naturally, so unless your grass is extremely thick, there’s no need to bag. Finally, take extra care when you fill your mower’s gas tank, and don’t fill it all the way to the top. According to a press release from the Environmental Protection Agency, garden-equipment users across the nation inadvertently spill about 17 million gallons of fuel each year while filling their outdoor power equipment.

If you’re in the market for a new mower, check into gas-free alternatives, such as reel-type push mowers and battery-powered electric models.

Feathering your nest

Narrow bookshelves (below) tucked in at the foot of the bed add storage and character in a pint-size room. Lined wilh good books for guests to reed, the shelves also display personal mements, such as seashells and a framed greeting card.

This tiny guest bedroom soothes because furniture doesn’t overpower the space. An antique birdhouse, perched on an existing built-in cube, makes a whimsical headboard for a simple twin bed dressed with a linen skirt and an old quilt. Chosen for their airiness, a bamboo chair and folding table have a similar lighthearted appeal. Simple plantation shutters don’t clutter the view. Because the room lacks closet space, a wicker chest at the end of the bed comes in handy as a hideaway for linens.

bed on high Sneaky, deep-drawer storage under the bed (below) gives this small master bedroom a fun, shipshape feeling. Plus, the raised platform lifts this throne of a bed up for a crow’s-nest view of the outdoors. The windows, trimmed in white and left unadorned, contribute to the illusion of spaciousness. A pale yellow and beige color scheme reinforces the light look. To maximize the room’s function, a reading nook and balcony provide additional lounging spots.

The usual advice says that spare, clean-lined design makes a small room seem bigger. But if you long for a sink-in feeling, bright color and bold pattern are more embracing. A king-size pencil-post bed makes this room even cozier by creating a room-withina-room effect White walls and bed curtains strike a calm balance with the energetic wedding-ring-pattern quilt, striped chair, and floral bed skirt

Layering an extra bedroom with character doesn’t require a lot of money if you pull together the right secondhand buys. A pretty $1 chair accents this room’s bargain desk and tables, which blend because the cane and wicker are similar in style. Pale walls give a colorful quilt the spotlight; positioning the bed in front of a shuttered window eliminates the need for an expensive and space-hogging headboard. This small room accommodates two different window treatments because the shutters and fabric are so simple.

A clever combination of elements turns this ordinary bed into the sumptuous focal point of a compact master bedroom. Pillows rest against a functional headboard while a hand-painted screen serves as a decorative backdrop. The bed tucks into a fabric alcove, which provides the feeling of a canopy without a full canopy bed. The alcove also directs maximum attention to the screen. Fabric swags hang from a frame made of vertical posts, 2x4s, and dowels.

Gardener’s Almanac

The Mighty Sword may speak of dese to you, but they say perennial beds to number of advent gardeners. We like variegated forms such as Yucca filamentosa Golden Sword (right) and Bright Edge. They’re evergreen, with standing 25-below-zero temps and nasty winter winds. It’s quite striking to see a yucca’s warm your window on a day to venture out. Its strong spiky form integrates into a mixed border without overpowering its neighbors. Try it up front, with rudbeckias. Bonus: a mature plant will send up a spire of creamy white flowers.

New Garden Hose

Wind can push a young tree around if it’s top-heavy or bottom-light. Here’s support with no chafing. Drive two stakes in the ground outside the root ball, and loop a pair of nylons-twisted into figure eightfrom the tree to each stake. Staple the nylons to the stakes at about half the height of the tree. Remove stakes and straps in a year.

A Boy-or Twoand His Garden

Michael plants themed vegetable gardens in a massive 30×60 raised bed. Andrew landscapes a corner his mother reserved for him in their backyard. Two boys, two gardens, one passion.

Variegated yuccas can withstand the heat of the deep South and the cold of the deep show. They’re also drought-tolerant.

Using strechy nylons to support bare-root saplings and young conifers allows for some give.

Michael Maksem of Waukee, Iowa, went to Disneyworld and came back a gardener. Maybe it wasn’t the flowers so much at first as the fact that he devised plans to charge a nickel for tours of his garden-to-be. That first year he planted a rainbow garden with many multicolored fruits and vegetables. Then he planted a Wizard of Oz garden with a poppy "field" and a witch going up in dusty-miller "smoke." Naturally there was a scarecrow. For Michael’s Jack-in-the-Beanstalk garden, he grew a sunflower that topped out at 12 feet. "It’s, like, higher than your house," he says.

Andrew Skogrand of Portland, Oregon, started off in "just a ribbon of dirt" in the shade, says his mother, Pam Lamirande. But he grew more ambitious-and his vocabulary grew, too. "I wanted a sun garden because there was one plant I really wanted: the Euphorbia Characias wulfenii." Say what? "If you know the Latin name and someone asks you what it is, you don’t just say, ‘Oh, it’s a nice one, isn’t it?’ and look stupid."

Veggies on View

The Farmer Michael Maksem began gardening at age 42. His latest plans for a themed vegetable garden involve Cinderella and a large white pumpkin.

"Gardening just comes to him naturally, says his mom, Mary Kay Maksem. Michael’s plot is organized For growth (near right. To reach his sunflowers next year (far right), "I’ll need a bigger ladder." The Landscaper "I admired Mom’s Rowers, says Andrew Skogrand."The astilbe looked like feathers, and the variegated Japanese fern looked like it had been snowed on

There is certainly no shame in having a vegetable garden, so if you are lucky enough to have the space for one, don’t feel you have to hide it. Pat Collins of Portland, Oregon, lives on a corner lot, and the only place she could squeeze in her veggies was between the sidewalk and her driveway. Her food isn’t out front but it’s not out of view either. Pat has made these beds attractive and neighborly, proving once again that vegetable gardens are not inherently ugly. She even plants a window box with cucumbers and radishes. Her little streetside farm was so handsome that her neighbor encouraged Pat to put some herbs in the ground they share between their drives.

Rising to the Job

Bulbs act as transitional plantings, providing a burst of color in early spring, before most perennials make a show. But these February Gold narcissus (left) do this and a lot more. They echo the yellows in the bracts of the Euphorbia martin and in the needles of the Chamaecyparis pisifera Filifera Aurea (splendid plants in and of themselves, by the way). The narcissus’ spiky and erect silhouette complements the mounding fluff of purple foliage and the arching sprays of the evergreen. And the yellow-yellow flowers put bold color in the blank spaces where the euphorbia-a perennial sometimes called cushion spurge-has yet to fill out.

Borrowed-space bath

Sometimes it takes a bit of clever thievery to enlarge a room. But there’s nothing criminal about the way Janet Rice and Peter Bachman created a splendorous new second-floor bathroom in their Minneapolis home.

They stole a little space from a little-used bedroom.

This 1920s bath was a moldy remnant with crumbling grout and dated green tile. Janet and Peter wanted to remain true to their home’s character while gaining modern comfort and convenience, but they couldn’t do it without scraping up some extra space.

They found a 2-foot sliver of space by stealingborrowing is the more polite term-from a small closet in a secondary bedroom. This allowed them to fit both a jetted tub and separate shower into the revamped bath. The bedroom improved in the process, too, since there was still enough room to enlarge the closet the full width of the wall, actually increasing storage space.

The remodeled bathroom is now home to a two-person jetted tub adjacent to a 3×4-foot shower. Janet and Peter also replaced a tiny porthole-sized window with a wall of casement windows topped with transoms, giving themselves a wide-open view of Lake Harriet.

Sunny yellow walls make this a cheery room. The tile design, ornate handheld fixture, and reproduction pedestal sink were all chosen to remain true to the home’s vintage charm.

Artful arranging

When it comes to successful displays, the odds are with you. As a rule, odd numbers of items create more interest than even numbers. Likewise, a variety of shapes and sizes catches the eye.

1. As awkward as a lineup of new recruits, this shoulder to-shoulder arrangement of thin bottles is not pleasing to the eye. The even number of similarly sized bottles and even spacing between them make the grouping uninteresting. Keep in mind that even numbers look best when used in contemporary arrangements, such as two prints side by side or a set of four prints in a horizontal grouping.

2. Slide a few objets out, move another over, and this grouping starts to live a little. The two heavier bottles on the left side are visually balanced by the taller bottle on the right. Overlap the edges of two out of three of the items for more dimension and to ease the monotony of equal spacing. Liven the trio by adding some bleating space on the other side. As a rule, the space between the bottles should be less than the width of the bottle that stands alone.

3. For a bolder statement, odd more objects to the grouping. Keep an odd number, but wry their shapes, sizes, and spacing. The plate in the background, set slightly off-center, pulls your eye into the arrangement and bridges the gap between the bottles. The weight of the arrangement remains on the left with the tallest bottle. Balance is maintained with the thickness of the shorter bottle on the right.

Eight ways to ease your child’s transition to a new school

Katie walked sleepily down the stairs. This was not the bubbly, energetic morning person I had known for the past 10 years. She gave me a big hug and curled up next to me on the sofa. Tears welled up in her eyes. "Mom, I don’t want to go to school," she said. "Can I stay home and help you unpack boxes?" I gently returned her hug and reminded her that we were only going to visit the school today. She sighed and laid her head on my shoulder. I knew once we took a tour and met her teacher, she would be less anxious. It was just one of the steps we took to ease the transition. Whether you are moving miles away or minutes away, the following eight steps may help ensure an easier beginning to a new school life.

Step 1: Find a school that meets your expectations. Relocating requires an incredible amount of planning, including finding the right school. An inexpensive and helpful resource was our real estate agent who sent us a file containing everything we could possibly want to know about the local schools and communities.

Another resource is SchoolMatch, an educational consulting firm. With their full-search service ($68 to $97.50), you’ll answer a series of questions regarding preferences in schools and communities. After comparing your responses to their databases, they’ll report on the top 15 public school systems or private schools in the requested area, indicating whether they meet, exceed, or fall below your expectations in a number of categories. For more information, call 800/724-6651 or visit their Internet site at

Also, check out Places Rated Almanac (Macmillan Travel, $24.95) for information on more than 350 metro areas.

Step 2: Move while school is in session. If possible, don’t wait until the school year ends. Moving during the school year will provide your child the opportunity to become involved in school activities and thus develop friendships before summer arrives. Also, most of the information regarding summer programs and camps is sent home from school with the children in the spring. If we had waited until summer, we would have missed the registration deadlines and programs would have been filled. Summer vacation can seem like forever to a child who is anticipating a different school.

Step 3: Register before you move. Locating required birth certificates, immunization records, and other information can be like looking for a needle in a haystack once the boxes are all packed. Registering ahead of time also provides the new teacher with the opportunity to prepare for your child’s arrival. If you think the relocation is going to be especially difficult, or if the circumstances of the move are negative (divorce or death, for example), talk to the counselor as well as the classroom teacher. Your child will have an easier transition if services such as counseling or special education classes are in place from the start.

Notify the current school of the impending move. This will give them adequate time to close out your child’s file and send the records to your next school. This also gives the current classroom teacher time to close out any lessons and, in some cases, plan a going away party.

Step 4: Scope it out. Before your child’s first day at the new school, make an appointment to meet the principal and tour the school with your child while it is in session. Meet the teachers your child will have, see the classrooms, the cafeteria, the library, the gym, and the playground. It will give your child a sense of security to know where everything is located.

If your child will ride the bus, find out the bus number as well as pick-up and drop-off points and times. If you drive your child to and from school, find out the procedure ahead of time. This ensures your child’s safety and reduces anxiety. If necessary, walk the route with your child for the first few days.

Step 5: Seek help from school counselors. In addition to providing individual attention, many school counselors have group programs for relocating students. For example, Jan Dukes, an elementary school counselor for the Keller Independent School District in Keller, Texas, oversees a Newcomers Club. "I gather all of the new children from the same grade. Within the group, each child has a buddy; somebody who is dealing with a lot of the same feelings. We discuss why they moved and how it is different here. We talk about interests and hobbies and how to make friends with similar interests."

Step 6: Communicate. For children, it can reduce those mountains to molehills. Licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist Tracie Morrison states, "Anytime children are facing a challenging situation, effective communication is essential. Prepare them, get their ideas, and listen to their feelings and fears. Talk about their new school and friends. Keep the conversation positive. Sometimes, younger children have a difficult time putting their feelings into words. Parents can help by making statements, such as "I know it might feel scary to start a new school" or "You might be wondering how to make friends." Help them remember how they got to know the friends they have now. Teach them to ask questions about their friends, such as "Do you have a cat?" or "Do you like to play baseball?"

The key is to focus on the positive and not let them fall into the trap of "Remember at my old school…?"

Step 7: Get active. Occasionally, be part of your child’s school day. The day will come soon enough when your child would rather eat worms than be seen with you at school, so take advantage of it while you can. Suzanne Pettit, principal of Florence Elementary in Southlake, Texas, promotes parent involvement. "Parents are encouraged to eat lunch with their child, stay for recess, and observe their child in the classroom setting at any time," says Pettit. "It is an excellent opportunity to see how their children are adjusting and to meet their classmates."

Step 8: Be consistent. Helping children establish a routine once you have moved is very important. The time to unpack and organize your home is while your children are in school. Time after school should be spent doing the same kinds of things they did before moving, including homework, chores ("What? We still have to make our beds?"), inviting friends over to play, and having fun.

You are your children’s most important teacher. Show them that relocating is an adventure. Make friends and discover places together. Instill in them the confidence and security to reach out and take hold of their new life.


My friends and I have a great cure for the stresses of modern life. We call it "lunch therapy." Gathered around a table, we spoil ourselves with an unfettered session of good food and really delicious conversation, spiced with lots of opinions and more than a pinch of gossip.

This restorative practice of enjoying a leisurely luncheon is nothing new, of course. Civilized ladies of centuries past used to gather together regularly for a lunch and conversation. But these days, the overextended superwomen that I know consider such get-togethers a great extravagance. Perhaps that’s why the biggest challenge in organizing a ladies’ lunch isn’t choosing the food–it’s convincing one’s friends that they should abandon all responsibilities for an afternoon, toss out the to-do lists, and dare to enjoy themselves.

My chums are most easily persuaded by the promise of a homemade get-together, rather than one in a restaurant. I don’t think it’s necessarily due to the food (some of us are…um…more challenged in the kitchen than others) as much as the atmosphere. In someone’s home, lunch becomes an intimate party with everyone sharing the same dishes, refilling each other’s glasses and not worrying about the noise they make. Such a meal is a great gift that no one wants to refuse.

When I give a lunch, I consider the menu carefully. It has to be one that takes me into the kitchen for brief moments, so I don’t miss any conversation. I want every bite to be tasty too, but that’s not difficult if you start with fresh ingredients. Though luncheons can be simpler than dinner parties, I prefer to serve courses because they inspire a relaxed pace. 1 search my recipe cards, cookbooks, and imagination for dishes that can be made almost entirely before. While shopping, I keep a lookout for store-bought delicacies that help enliven the menu and allow for less fuss on my part. My beverage strategy is simple: Offer a white wine–such as Sancerre–for those who wish to imbibe, and iced tea and sparkling water for everyone else. Whatever the drink, keep the glasses filled and toast often. Remember, it’s therapy.

Potato Crisps with Smoked Salmon and Lemon Cream

Makes 12 hors d’oeuvres

1 ounce cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons sour cream, at room temperature

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind

12 olive oil potato chips (sec note)

2 to 3 ounces smoked salmon

Sprigs of baby pea shoots or fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

At least one hour or a day before serving, prepare the lemon cream: In a small bowl, whisk together cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, and lemon rind until smooth. Cover and refrigerate lemon cream at least 1 hour or until serving.

To assemble, using pastry bag or spoon, place a small dollop of lemon cream in the center of each chip. Cut smoked salmon into 12 small strips and arrange one strip atop each dollop. Garnish with pea shoots or parsley, and serve.

Note: The chips are distributed by Good Health Natural Foods in 5-ounce bags labeled "Olive Oil Potato Chips." If not available, substitute another thick-cut gourmet potato chip, but not regular supermarket chips, which are too


Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Dumplings with Greens

Serves 4

4 long-shaped bell peppers, preferably one each of red, green, yellow, and orange

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sherry or balsamic vinegar

4-ounce log herbed goat cheese

6 cups mixed salad greens

1/3 cup store-bought or prepared vinaigrette

Line oven bottom with aluminum foil. Heat oven to 450[degrees]F. Arrange peppers on bottom rack in oven and roast 10 minutes. Rotate peppers and roast 8 to 12 minutes longer or until peppers are blistered all over. Remove peppers to brown paper bag and set aside 15 minutes. (Place bag in the sink or a pan to catch any moisture.) Peel peppers, scraping off stubborn patches of skin with a paring knife. Rinse peppers and pat dry. Cut out the sterns and slit each pepper lengthwise; scrape out the seeds and remove any large pieces of white pulp. Cut peppers lengthwise into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Place strips in bowl and stir in salt, then oil and vinegar.

To make dumplings, cut goat cheese crosswise into four equal rounds. Line four 4-ounce individual baking dishes, or ramekins, with strips of pepper so that some ends of strips overlap slightly in bottom of ramekins while the opposite ends overhang the edges. (Be sure that the outer side of each strip is facedown.) Place a round of goat cheese in the center of each ramekin, then fold the pepper over to enclose the cheese.

Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and press down firmly on dumplings to pack cheese and peppers. (Dumplings can be set aside 2 hours at room temperature; refrigerate up to two days, bringing to room temperature before serving.)

Toss salad greens with vinaigrette and divide among four serving plates. Uncover each ramekin and invert in center of each salad. Slowly pull off ramekins, keeping dumplings intact. Serve.

Egg Linguine with Asparagus, Peas, and Fresh Chives

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chapped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 pound asparagus, cut into bite-size lengths

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup green peas, thawed if frozen

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

6 cups water

2 large cubes all-natural vegetable bouillon

5 ounces egg linguine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute about 7 minutes or until very soft. Stir in garlic, then asparagus and salt. Increase heat to medium high, cover, and cook about 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion begins to brown and asparagus is tender–crisp. Stir in peas and most of the chives, reserving about a tablespoon for garnish. Cook 2 minutes, remove from heat, and set aside while preparing pasta.

Heat water to boiling in a large pot; add bouillon, stirring to dissolve. Add linguine and cook 6 to 7 minutes or until barely tender. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking broth. Stir 3/4 cup broth and butter into vegetable mixture, then add pasta to skillet, stirring well to coat. Set aside at least 10 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours to allow pasta to absorb flavors.

Just before serving, add the remaining 1/4 cup cooking broth to skillet and warm pasta and vegetable mixture over medium heat. Mound linguine in the center of each serving plate, surround with vegetables, and sprinkle with reserved chives.

Strawberry Rhubarb Marlow

Serves 4

1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries

3/4 cup chopped rhubarb

1/4 cup sugar

20 large marshmallows

1/2 cup heavy cream

At least 3 1/2 hours or a day before serving, trim one pint of strawberries and chop into small pieces. In medium saucepan, combine the strawberry pieces with rhubarb and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until both fruits are very tender and fall apart–about 15 minutes. Add marshmallows and cook until melted. Remove from heat and cool mixture to room temperature.

Meanwhile, cut some of remaining strawberries into wedges and arrange, points up, in the bottoms of four 6-ounce glass serving bowls or goblets. Reserve 4 strawberry slices for garnish. Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold cream into fruit mixture until blended. Divide among strawberry-lined serving bowls. Cover the dessert and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Immediately before serving, garnish with strawberry slices.


Deep in the heart of central Texas is a land of rugged natural beauty and historical importance known as Hill Country. Sprawling across 25 counties, Hill Country is as much a state of mind as a place. Well-preserved 19th-century towns beckon city dwellers with a relaxed pace and an image of an America that has largely vanished. Springtime is the ideal season to visit Hill Country. It is when the state flower, the bluebonnet, and a multitude of other wildflowers bloom, spangling the rolling countryside with color. Fredericksburg, with its 350 bed-and-breakfasts and guesthouses, is the perfect base for exploring the area. Like several towns in the region, Fredericksburg originated as a German pioneer community in the 1840s, and the Teutonic flavor is still strong. German with a Texas twang can be heard at schutzenfests (shooting fests), sangerfests (singing fests), and wurstfests (sausage fests). This intermingling of European culture with frontier days, rodeos, and cowboy sensibility offers visitors a unique A merican experience.

The Pioneer Museum

One of the best ways to experience the special history of Texas Hill Country is to visit the Pioneer Museum Complex, located on Main Street in Fredericksburg. Scattered over a 3.5-acre site are some 10 structures, all illustrating different facets of late- 19th- and early 20th-century life in the area. Entry to the complex is through the Kammlah House, constructed in 1849 as a one-room fachwerk, or half-timbered, cabin. It is indigenous to the site.

Other structures include the Kammlah barn, the Fassel-Roeder House (both also original to the property), a one-room schoolhouse, an 1880s log cabin, a wagon shed, a smokehouse, and a fire-department museum. One of the highlights of the complex is the circa 1904 Weber Sunday House. This 16-foot by 20-foot structure represents a form of architecture unique to the Fredericksburg area. Between 1890 and 1920, local farmers built tiny houses to serve as places to eat and rest when they came to town on weekends to worship and socialize. Virtually all the Sunday houses have been either demolished or converted to full-time use, leaving only this example and one other in original condition.

The Comfortable Legacy

Located a half-hour’s drive south of Fredericksburg, Comfort is a quiet town that has one of Texas’s most intact 19th-century historic districts. There are about 100 turn-of-the-century buildings within walking distance of the town center. Among those, several are connected to the Ingenhuett family. Peter Joseph Ingenhuett was an enterprising German immigrant who arrived in Comfort in 1863 and established four businesses. Two of them, a livery stable and a saloon, are no longer in operation, but a hotel (now a bed-and-breakfast called Comfort Commons) and the Ingenhuett Store are still in business. Today the store is run by the family, continuing a 130-year legacy.

Peter Ingenhuett’s homestead still exists as well, although it is now owned by antique collectors Bill and Hellen Meyer. Their house–a circa 1888 Victorian–was actually the Ingenhuetts’ third home in Comfort, where the family and descendants lived for more than 80 years. The second Ingenhuett home–currently uninhabited–sits in the backyard: a 25-foot-square, 1880 cottage originally finished in fachwerk (half-timbered) style. Their first family home was a suite of rooms over the store.

Originally, the 1888 house had five rooms on one level with clapboard sides and a shingle roof, but it was altered by previous owners in the late 20th century. A sleeping porch was walled in to create a new kitchen and dining area, and the lofty attic was converted to include two bedrooms and a bath. Stucco siding and a metal roof replaced original materials. The furnishings in the house are a combination of family pieces and antiques.