When some of us make gingerbread houses, we glue the thing together with frosting and hope the walls don't collapse before Christmas. When Kelly Clark makes a gingerbread house, she calls in an architect to help her figure out the geometry of the roof.

This is why our gingerbread houses are cute but Clark's are the talk of the neighborhood. So far this season, three classes from Driggs Elementary and one birthday party have taken field trips to see Clark's creation.The two-story house has a turret, marble entryway, 36 stained-glass windows, indoor lighting and a shingled roof made out of 16 bags of chocolate non-pariels.

But Clark doesn't stop with the outside. Unlike most gingerbread houses, which are all facade and air, Clark's is filled with two fireplaces, a grand piano, dining room table, sofa, Christmas tree, bedroom and blue coconut carpeting (the coconut provides a sort of surreal shag effect).

When Clark first started making gingerbread houses a decade ago she did the usual Hansel and Gretel thing. But when the family moved to Holladay three years ago, she decided to design a replica of their new house.

Each year since, the gingerbread abode has gotten more elaborate: Ponds made out of lollipop; a white chocolate grand piano with brown chocolate sharps and flats; a patchwork quilt made from little bits of colored taffy.

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Clark spends a lot of time browsing through candy stores looking for suitable building materials. There are specialty Jordan almonds in the rock wall, and honey sesame seed log candies in the woodpile. For the sculpted fireplace mantel, Clark poured white chocolate into the corrugated bottom of a cookie box.

In early January a dozen or so neighborhood kids will join the Clark's four children to demolish the whole thing, just as they did last year. Ever since Thanksgiving, says Clark, the wrecking crew has been planning what part they want to eat.

And then next November she'll clear off the kitchen table, get out the sugar and flour and start all over again. She's thinking about adding more houses - the rest of the neighborhood, perhaps - next year.

"It's hard not to try to outdo yourself," she admits.

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