So I'm excited to have been chosen for the Home & Garden Expo design contest. Anyone could apply and then they say they picked names out of hat at random -- I think otherwise I might not have gotten in, although one person who seems to be in charge there -- Saffia Widdershins -- has generally been cordial to me over the years.
You can see my work here in House 4. Here's their blog about the contest.
You got to pick the house you wanted to design out of their list, I picked "The Buccaneer" by Skyrider Varriale. This is a very nice house with a western/southwestern/Frank Lloyd Wright sort of feel to it. So when I heard "Buccaneer," I said "This house has to have a gun rack." I had just got another antique one recently by Laika Amat (rifle in chest 4 prim complete), and I had Fairy Angel Creation's deerhead and rifle as well (FAC Deer Trophy And Rifle Display). These went into the Shaman's Hut level which is actually anti-hunting. I bet you will get some PETA types who will complain and this is the sort of thing that makes you lose a contest but that's the last thing I care about. I'm not likely to win a thing like this because I don't decorate according to SL norms. And I'm not really an interior decorator in SL or RL such as to do the right thing you need to do.
My goal with decoration here is the same as my rentals which is a) make a house seem real and livable, not just something to photograph for a fashion blog b) tell a story with it. Here, I'm not as constricted as a rental, I suppose, because I sometimes have to do things in rentals that will enable them to be liked and rented because the market for offbeat is very limited.
I've tried to learn something about decoration from trial and error for one, just by seeing what rents and what doesn't. Some things get appreciated even by just one person and that's enough. Often people want everything removed, or they put tacky stuff among the eloquent pieces. Oh, well.
This is a good house -- it walks well, it's spacious, it has interesting features like the indoor garden and the roof terrace. But for me, the problem was to decide "where's the bedroom" and "where's the study" because I wanted this to be a story about a war journalist or non-fiction writer, let's say a former military man, and then explorer/traveler (always a popular SL gatcha theme so it builds itself), a collector, and then later a photographer, travel writer, hunter, and so on.
And there just didn't seem to be a good place for the bedroom. There's no second floor, unless you count the terrace which I suppose you could make the open-air bedroom like a camp or people sleeping out on their verandahs which we used to do in the old days in Upstate New York, especially if you had a second-story porch. You could take Concept's Hemingway set and put the bed, pots, etc. up there and it would work. I have those out in the "Soviet Spa" in Winnipeg.
I looked at that Hemingway leather bed up on books as blocks for this space and decided -- no. This guy may be offbeat and a writer and all that but he's not so nutty or lacking in ship-shape to put a bed up on books. It can't be.
So in "Buccaneer" there are two rooms that were obviously the kitchen and bathroom because they had wood plank walls and adobe tile floors. That makes for an awfully cold bedroom floor in the winter. But I felt that plank wall shouldn't go to waste on a needless SL bathroom and even a kitchen isn't what I want.
For one, I refuse to put in bathrooms because they're stupid -- we're not in the Sims Online. Very rarely I will put one in, i.e. when I have Dreamland Design's wonderful Turkmenistan set where I could put the lovely bathroom items in wood into a room that fit that purpose in a skybox (you can see it in the B&B in Winnepeg).
So there's no way I was going to burn prims in this contest on a bathroom, the guy can go out to an outhouse that isn't in sight -- this is in the woods in the Adirondacks, see. It's Camp. We're 90 miles out of NYC at least. So that left the issue of his bedroom. I could put it in the smaller of the two front rooms but the door to the porch seemed too close to it in the smaller one, and I didn't like that feel of a door leading to the outdoors from a bedroom. That was my only complaint about this house.
So I decided to make what was supposed to be the kitchen the bedroom, and the bathroom a study, as it was smaller and more cozy for thinking and writing. Of course, this leaves the problem not only of a cold floor but the expanse of space and not much privacy given the living room is right there next to the kitchen. But then, this is a guy up in the woods alone, except he does have this girlfriend...or did...
So...first let me give you an idea of how this house looks before I clutter it, and how it could be decorated NORMALLY by one of my fellow contestants named angeleina (she's at no. 11 at this contest):
This L-shaped couch by Mirage is brilliant because it solves the problem of what to do with this big space, yet still make a cosy fireplace area. The brown is perfect, it's all perfect. The little tables pull the two spaces together -- I don't even know if she's going to leave them like that but I like them. If I get this house I may get that couch, too. BTW her hanging plants integrate the spaces also. I decided to decorate my house first, then look at the others, so as not to get distracted/discouraged. Now I'm kicking myself for not having hanging plants. I'm not going to have them, though, I've decided.
She's got a great hallway and a set I didn't know -- she's from the South in RL and can get away with the "y'all" and "Buccaneer is probably more south than southwest? That floorplan console is great, I have that, another 50L Friday thing. PS those are all hive plants -- I got that same set and I dithered about using hive there, too! But you'll see I had a different inspiration...
The thought crossed my mind that I should use this geranium milk jug from Apple Fall but it was a little too fussy for my character and even his flowery girlfriend.
Then you can see how she's made a proper kitchen. Kitchens scare me a little. I don't hardly cook in RL, and in SL I've really only spent time on one kitchen (in the B&B in Itame) that went through many accretions and iterations. Elsewhere, I tend to take a set and put it in. In Grote, I have Desmond Shang's old wood and marble kitchen fixtures from an old prefab Victorian mansion of his.
You can see how the open space flows and works -- my graphics card is acting up so I have to come back and take that properly -- the only thing I thought was a problem in her kitchen was that the backdrop wall didn't match the wall of the house, but I have that issue with ionic stoves and such and I just let it be.
So standing here you can see how this space has been conquered, with the right flower pot and I imagine she isn't done yet with the fireplace.
I was actually thinking of just taking DRD's "cake disaster" counter and making that be my "kitchen" so I wouldn't have to get into the agonies of logic that kitchens induce in me (as you will see).
But I had other problems to solve as you will see. To me the LOGIC of the house and its activities becomes a driving force, needlessly so, because it's SL and you can do anything you want, and fly and such, but still. To me, if you put a thing in a room or house, you have to explain how it got there and what you do with it. There has to be a chain of logic. How did that watering can get filled if there is no hose outside? You can leave these things out (and I will have to) but it's nice when they all "fit" logically.
I think she's going to make the smaller of the two front rooms the bedroom, judging from just these two pieces, but obviously she isn't done yet and it will be fascinating to me to see how she solves the "where to put the bedroom" for this house.
All of a sudden looking at this room with a fresh eye, I see you could make it the bedroom by closing all the shades, even with that door there. But really that door like that gives you very little room for a bed to be comfortable, in my view. I would never feel like the feng shui was right in this house with a bed near this door.
So, casting common sense to the wind -- and I may go back on this later -- I decided to make the kitchen the bedroom because it felt both more protected and more accessible -- at least in the recess of the house -- which I will come to.
I couldn't envision doing this woodsy FLW/southwestern sort of house without Sequoia Nightfire's room divider from the POE contest of some years ago - POE6 * Winter Dressing Screen by SEQUOIASTYLE. It's a wonderful SL antique, I love it. I have put it sometimes in Barnesworth Anubis' Marleybone skybox. The dressing screen is no-mod and a whopping 14 prims and can't be stretched but that's ok, I put it out first and build around it. Sadly Sequoia doesn't seem to have a store, she does couture, sim builds, as it says on her profile, but not furniture, so there was nowhere to look to see if she had anything more modern in the sense of being less prims. Oh, well. My motto: every decoration has to start with an old-school high-prim SL antique!
Then what can be the bed? See you can't have plank beds like Pew or Floorplan, which I might have used, given that cold floor plus the living room. So maybe Newchurch's iron bed (I'd put that if it were a rental, where you need an adult bed) or something sturdy, iron, wood, manly, no frills here. While I was struggling to find something I pulled out out Lilith Den's wedding bed. Now that is a weird piece. It's like from some previous century or Arabia or who knows. I have put it sometimes in weird skyboxes with alcoves. It has sort of Moroccan lights. The bride and groom climb into this...box, I guess you'd have to call it. But that's ok, because it fits with Sequoia's room divider, I love it, and furthermore, it has a top to put more things on. And creates a sense of warmth and security in what might feel like a cavernous living room/open kitchen space with a tile floor which really has no business being a bedroom. I may still swap this with the study.
We're now deeply in the weird realm and this is how you lose contests. But honestly, I want the guy's bedroom to be here, where at least there is one protected wall, the blinds, and the room divider (admissible under the contest rules). I mean, let's face it, it's not like he needs privacy and there's a gang of frat boys here and he no longer has a girlfriend, ok? And even if he does, they're up in the woods, remember? So we're leaving it.
Also in this room you will see a few reminders of this woman -- her hairpin is on the floor like that famous poem by Taniguchi Buson. Yes, it's another 10 prims -- 500 goes by faster than you might think. But what a hair pin -- by Ersch, beautifully made. Did the woman in my story die? No, as you will come to see. But she left. In a hurry.
Which reminds me of my other goal besides the first two: to put out items from the merchants I always shop at and whom I find the best, because a contest like this should really feature them, I'm just a glorified mover. So I made choices sometimes by accident when searching for things, sometimes hunting for a specific merchant, sometimes just trying stuff, but if you're going to have a hair comb, it should be by Ersch.
So there's also some perfume bottles -- two, where one might do, but I wanted to have lilies of the valley and this is what I had in inventory. The blue one is from Velvet Whip, most of whose stuff is too drawn/cartoony for the look of this house. But I wanted blue to match the hairpin, which originally was next to the perfume bottles before it fell to the floor, see. I usually put VW stuff in houses where I already have drawing/cartoon items like alchemy sets or magic sets. The other bottle is actually a not very good sculpty but somehow it fit. I really wanted to try to do this contest without buying anything but the three things required from the Expo itself, which I will come to.
The chest that is really "her" chest is from Vagabond and is paisley and sort of Indian-like -- Zaara has a better version of this type of Indian/Boho chest with even working drawers; so does Myrrine, that look more like the RL equivalents -- this one isn't scripted, doesn't open, and isn't even as well made. But sometimes you have to paint with what fits the scene -- I wanted something softer, and even added gray colouring to it, and something that wouldn't be primmy or stand out or draw too much attention because Lilith's bed is the center of attention here.
On top goes these terrariums. BTW a word on those LISP carpets -- they are PERFECT for this "bedroom". Just perfect. Look at them! These are 50L Friday specials. She's got a set of them, different colours. These are PERFECT. And warm up that cold floor, thank God. BTW maybe I should put a wood stove in here?
So he gets a shaving table from POST just because it's a cool shaving table from POST. I used the "small" that has less stuff (than the large, which I put out in the Celtic Mystical Forest) but this could even be sacrificed with maybe just the mirror or maybe just the bowl if I need the prims because the wardrobe has a shaving kit inside -- see?
So about this wardrobe. I debated whether to put in one of my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE PIECES in SL but decided I MUST. I recently discovered it while trying to find a texture change map that I saw in a store, and recalled I'd lost from inventory. It's [CB] Upstairs Armoire (touch drawers for rezzer menu) by Cedar Bay (Tibouchina Freschi)
Sadly this creator doesn't have it anywhere, doesn't have a store any more, etc. but she's still on the MP. The reason I debated is that it is a bit odd, and it has photo real, which is my least favourite thing in SL -- mainly because it's so poorly done. But this is actually an example of a very good rendition of photo real, and the entire thing is 5 prims.
This bureau is an absolute delight -- you can click and get "hers" and "his" but more than that, you can carefully edit various combinations of objects and clothes. The issue with putting out all his clothes is that the frock coats are too dated -- they seem like Victorian era -- and this is supposed to be a guy in the 1950s, let's say, perhaps he fought in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. You could say, "Oh, well those are his father's but...no." So fortunately you can put in just the tweed, and also not put in the shoes which are also very dated. The rest can pass.
On top of Lilith's bed goes Thor's blankets -- because her bed didn't look warm enough. Then this Lark books/tree root thing. It doesn't belong, given that you can't explain how a tree is growing here, whereas you could if you were doing a magic/wiccan/shaman thing. But I decided at the outset -- no fairies, no shaman, no magic, for this build; this guy is a hunter, former military, not very fantastical. He has this tree trunk here because he's a lover of nature and adventurer, not because of any wispy fairy stuff. And it's not hers btw because he's more the writer/reader.
Alright, I will have more in awhile...