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Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul Shoup.

The house at 500 University Ave., built more than a century ago by Los Altos founder Paul Shoup, is looking for another devoted family.

The current owners, Mary and Brian Heffernan, have moved to their ranch in Siskiyou County to raise “free-range kids” (they have four girls) as well as free-range cattle and chickens. The Heffernans are the fourth family to live in the house.


The secret to a healthy garden: Let Mother Nature do the work

Patricia Larenas/Special to the Town Crier
A balanced and healthy yard includes edibles and California native and non-native plants.

By adopting certain practices and designing your garden to include key plant types, you can take advantage of so-called ecosystem services that build a healthy garden.

Ecosystem services are things that nature provides when the right conditions are met. The most important ecosystem services for home gardeners are pest control, pollination, soil fertility through decomposition of organic matter (composting), healthy soil leading to healthy plants, ambient climate control, moisture retention (less watering), food production and even remediation (breakdown) of harmful contaminants. I would add to the list the beauty and sense of well-being that gardens bring to our lives.


How to keep your home safe this summer


Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the drought, according to Max Todd, a Los Altos native who owns Fairway Lawn Service.


Buckwheats: Iconic plant of the West

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Buckwheats are always alive with pollinators and beneficial insects. These plants can range from compact cushions under a foot high to imposing 7-foot-high shrubs.


Plant placement is important

Courtesy of Mary Dateo
The tree species pictured above and below make great 40-foot trees but not such great foundation plants.


Artist's downsizing sparks creativity

Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Barnett, above, a resident at The Forum, turned a bedroom into a workshop and office. Barnett’s home, left, features eclectic furnishings, including a mannequin whose dress is made of eyeglass lenses, below left, and a see-through, hand-painted side table with bracelets for the legs, below. Her collection of “assemblage art” covers her unit at The Forum, bottom left, proving that downsizing did not stifle her creativity.

Artist and TV host Suzanne Barnett has produced 1,200 shows for KMVT over the years, but perhaps she should have a camera focused on the new home she created for herself at The Forum Retirement Community in Cupertino.


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