On your travels around Beau Belle village you may have seen a house in varying states of incompletion, surrounded by a yellow safetly cordon, and at times with me hovering around it in busy
mode. You may have also sent me IMs, only to receive an automatic response saying how busy I am building, and that I probably won't respond. Well, after finally getting a string of solid evenings to focus on the the house, it is finally done!!
Up to now, we've only really had two house designs; the stone cottage and the beach house. We felt it was time to add more variety, and knowing that most visitors to Beau Belle seem to be of the more discerning type, I set about building a luxury
house, made with more prims, a level of detail and precision far beyond anything else I've made on the sim, and with lots of high resolution textures I made myself. Our intent is for this house to be rented starting at $1500/week for 450 prims, although we're happy to negotiate bigger prim allowances at higher rents. So what does the house look like?
It's a double cross-gabled house of the kind you often see in English villages; perhaps the local vicar lives there. The lower section is made from brick, while the upper sections are made from oak planks. The house has a variety of windows, with four double-hung sash windows, a bay window, a dormer window, two circular gable windows, and four skylights.
This picture shows the dormer window at the front:
Here are a couple of views of the bay window at the back:
Here you can see the two circular gable windows, and below is the lean-to roof above the porch. Experienced builders in Second Life will remember that you can't have circular apertures in that face of a triangular prim, so I had to do it the hard way.
The porch on the side provides a welcoming entrance, with wooden door (it creaks a little, but I'm sure it'll loosen up soon), semi-circular stained glass window, and automatic light. The porch floor is decorated with glazed tiles.
Although the outside of the house is quite traditional, the inside is very airy and modern. The walls are decorated with a subtle cream rippled texture, while the ceiling is painted with a swirly relief texture. Interior window frames, ceiling trim and the staircase are all made from beech.
There are open log fires upstairs and downstairs, which turn on/off with voice (chat) commands, and smoke puffs lightly from the chimney above when the fire is burning.
Upstairs is a kind of loft conversion, with ample lighting coming from four skylights; ideal for Beau Belle's artists! The skylights can be closed with security-locked blinds for privacy.
The sash, dormer and bay windows all feature scripted security-enabled curtains, which can open and close, and provide a menu-driven colour-change facility with around 40 carefully selected tones.
The floor is made of smooth polished parquet, which catches the light beautifully as you cam around:
Many builders in Second Life would accuse me of being insane if they realised the effort I put in to get this build looking nice from all angles, up close. So many builders in second life slap a texture on the front of something, and don't bother with the sides (so the edges always have scrunched-up, fuzzy patterns), and certainly don't line up the textures of adjacent prims. And then there are the texture distortions people seem quite happy to overlook, where they used default instead of planar texturing. I seem to have developed this obsession for ensuring that all prims have the right texture on all visible sides, at the right scale, and aligned with adjacent prims (or other faces of the same prim) to 3 decimal places of texture scale/offset, even for subtle-textured wallpaper that you can barely even perceive the texture of anyway. Even my closest friends regard this as insanity; a quaint character defect. Well, I like it. Take a quick look at the way the roof tiles have proper edges, and the wooden planks line up the way they would in a real house. All of the brick textures line up around corners in the same way (although the bored reader may wish to find the few corners where this is impossible, and I've had to approximate - if you think a little about geometry and texture scale, the reason will become apparent!).
Almost all of the textures on the house came from my own RL camera and some work with Photoshop or Gimp to make them repeat nicely. This makes them basically unique in Second Life. They're a lot higher resolution than most textures in SL, adding to the realism when you get close (I think my favourite is the stone texture used for the window sills, replete with little bits of moss and lichen; this texture came from a photograph I took of a doorstep in West Kensington, London. People look at me strangely when I take close-up pictures of doorsteps, but I don't care).
I suspect people wonder why it took me so long to complete this house. I could have done it in a couple of days, and it would have blended in with much of the rest of Second Life.....the dodgy end textures, the misaligned prims, all the lazy short cuts when builders just say "Oh, that'll do". But that won't do for me. At every point where I had the decision to do it a quick and simple way, or do it a nightmarishly complicated way requiring trigonometry which would make the house nicer, I reached for my calculator and went for the hard way.
I hope you like it.