**WARNING: Lots of large pictures in this entry; may take a crap ton of time to load depending on your connection speed.**
Instead of giving tours of the founder houses and how they've changed, I decided it might be more fun to show pictures of my favorite houses I've built. I warn you, I'm not much of a decorator, and the process of taking these screen caps taught me I'm not much of a photographer either! However, this should give you an idea of what my favorite houses look like. Mostly, I'm fond of big, wide-open floor spaces and rooms, which you'll see is a theme in a lot of these fave houses. Anyway, on to the photos! (They are in no particular order of favoriteness.)
House #1: Tara Cleary's Tuscan "Villa"
I deliberately tried to go with Mediterranean colors for this house, and I was pretty pleased with the result. :)
A night shot of the exterior of Tara's "floating" house.
Top-down view of the ground level. Enormous pool and party grotto area ftw!
Top-down view of the first floor. Clockwise starting in the upper right-hand corner: dining room, kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom, entryway, living room. Dead center: peep-hole to the pool. :)
Top-down view of the second floor, which was added after Melody grew up into a child and needed more space. (When she was an infant and toddler, her crib was in the dining room. :p) Office on the left and ginormous room for Melody on the right. I just build the same size as the house below and figured the big room could always be broken into smaller ones if need be in the future.
Oddly-shaped open-air living room in olive green and sky blue.
I have never been to Tuscany, but I imagined this color scheme and style to fit. :p
Mediterranean blue master bedroom.
New upstairs office space for Tara to write her novels. Also, I needed this area to be sort of neutral since my options were limited for where the staircase should enter the upstairs. I hate when staircases open directly into a bedroom for some reason. It's a functional entryway for the upstairs, basically.
Downstairs pool/grotto area. It's dark, so I'll just sort of list what's down there. On the right, the staircase upstairs and the corner of Tara's grill. In between the archways are some benches, and there are privacy hedges in the front between the archways. There's also a stereo down here somewhere, though I don't recall exactly where.
Other side of the pool with slide and fountain in the front. I have a hard time keeping my simmies out of this pool, but then I don't really care. That's what it's there for. This is a really fun area for parties, but I admit that a major design flaw is the staircase from the kitchen to the grotto. Anyone can just walk into the house, and the paperboy insists on walking all the way up the back spiral stairs to lay the newspaper on the INSIDE of the front doors. *sigh* I guess I could eliminate those stairs altogether, but I really like the convenience of them. Maybe I could build a box around them at the bottom with a lock on a door. Or a fence with a locked gate. Hm. But despite this little annoyance, I still luuuurve this house. :) On to the next!
House #2: The Vinci Twins' Ginormous Two-Family Stone Home
I absolutely adore this house. I think I got the plans from houseplans.com and picked it because it looked like it could be easily adapted into a two-family home. I knew I wanted Conor and Liam and their spouses to all live together, but what I didn't expect was that Conor and his spouse Frances would want eighty bajillion children to fulfill their LTWs. Soooo, this house may end up being the reason I have to install the "more than 8 sims per lot" hack. Especially since Liam had to go and get himself knocked up with alien TWINS. Sigh. But it's okay, they're cuties. Anyway, this house fulfills the "large, sprawling rooms" theme you'll notice in other favorite homes. On to the photos...
Outside night shot of the stone behemoth. I love their little entryway, but I wish I could do something to decorate up the eaves of the roof. As I said, I'm a poor builder and decorator.
Top-down view of the first floor. It's a VERY open floor plan, which means I never get sims yelling and waving their arms that they can't get through. I like this very much. From the top left-hand corner, going clockwise: dining nook, games alcove (outside back porch), formal living room, family room, dining room, powder room and adjacent "hidden" hallway into the kitchen.
Top-down view of the upstairs. Again, clockwise from the top left: Weirdly-shaped long narrow nursery (oops, just noticed that rug is defying the laws of physics), top balcony (outside), master bedroom #1 (Liam and Jenny) with attached gold master bath #1, hallway, kids' bedroom, black and white master bath #2, yellow master bedroom #2 (Conor and Frances), red and white kids' bathroom. The nursery hasn't been decorated because this house cost so fracking much that they are still too cash poor to decorate it. Ditto the lack of furnishings in this house. For a long time, lots of the rooms barely had anything but the bare necessities in them because I spent so much on the stone exterior and simply the SIZE of the house and building materials. So if this house seems a little more bare than usual, don't worry...it will get better as these four start raking in some serious promotions.
Family room. I love this room. I love the patterned ottomans and the old-fashioned sort-of tacky patterned couch. There is ALWAYS a sim glued to that piano, fyi.
Dining room. If you notice, because they were really poor when they moved in and because the rooms are so enormous, I went with embedded carpet sections to break up the consistent hardwood floors throughout the first level. It's cheaper, and it's nice because there ARE no throw rugs big enough to satisfy some of these huge rooms. I don't know why, but I love this room too. The whole house is a little extra formal...I was going for a style to match the almost castle-like exterior, so you'll notice everything is a bit formal and a bit on the old-fashioned side. (Except the kids' areas.)
View of the kitchen over the breakfast nook's table. Also gives you a view of the back hallway between the kitchen and the dining room. Please also notice the lovely fly-covered dirty bowl on the floor. Yes, I didn't give them adequate warning that they were participating in a photo shoot. Not sure I like the wallpaper in the kitchen, but for now it will stay until some of the other rooms get actual decoration. It's a little too country for the style of the rest of the house. Also, oops, uncolored half wall on the right. It's amazing what I'm noticing by really examining these houses!!
Formal living room. I used the green rugs and the muted green walls to sort of match the family room, since technically it is open to one another. (There is another "hidden" side hallway connecting the two rooms behind the staircase...in the top right-hand corner of this picture.) I don't like the rugs, but otherwise I love this room. The pregnant people spend a lot of their maternity time in those uber-comfy chairs studying because it's a mere two-second dash to either the kitchen or the powder room.
Upstairs black and white master bathroom #2. Hey Frances. I know that if you weren't on pause, you would be totally giving me the stare of death for not giving you adequate time to mop up that giant shower puddle, clean up the dirty bowl, and oh yeah, get off the pot.
Yellow master bedroom #2, complete with Conor snoozing away. I really love this room, and it really fits this couple, but it is painfully under-decorated. This will eventually be modified. Not sure how, but probably with some plants and definitely some art. Perhaps a rug. Also, they get the bedroom fireplace because Conor is the elder twin. :) Ah the perks of being first-born by two minutes.
Sorry for the walls-down shot, but I wasn't sure how else to shoot this room. This is the kids' playful red and white room. I never use those crazy floors, so I tried to switch it up and make it fun for the chilluns. You can see a tiny piece of the completely undecorated nursery in the background... there will be no formal shot of that. :p It's a really painfully-shaped room for a nursery, but it should be much better when they become children and can be in bunk beds.
Gold master bath #1. Jenny seemed like she might be the materialistic type, so she and Liam got the gilded bathroom. :p
As with Conor and Frances' room, Liam and Jenny's room is still VERY meager in terms of decoration, but the color scheme will stay, even as more decor is added.
And finally, a shot of the back porches. Lower level has poker and darts, upper level has exercise equipment and the telescope. They have very little lawn area left, so most of their outdoorsy things are on these balconies. Also, HI CAMEO GRANNY CAITLIN! :D Caitlin is so totally stoked that her granddaughter Lucia inherited her red hair. She seriously stops by unannounced ALL THE TIME. It's cute. :) But anyway... on to house number three!
House #3: Fiona and Enzo Vinci's Cathouse
This house makes me all kinds of happy. I think it was another houseplans.com find, and what I loved about it was how it seems upside down: there are bedrooms on the bottom floor and the living area is on the top floor. It gives the bottom floor a definite "apartment" sort of feel, which was perfect for Grace and Leah when they were growing up because they had their own living area and didn't have to always be in common family areas to hang out. I also really love the kitchen in this house. I want this kitchen. Again, this house fits the "wide-open spaces" pattern I seem to have.
Outside shot with spoiler! (That's Leah standing on the front lawn after having been merged back into her parents' house post-graduation.)
Top-down shot of the upper floor. Clockwise from the top left-hand corner: living room, kitchen, master bedroom, hallway activity alcove, master bathroom, hallway/stairway. I'm guessing those slashed lines are the tops of the walls on the lower level...I'm not sure why they showed up in this pic.
Top-down view of the ground level. Clockwise from top left: kittycats' bedroom :D , twins' bedroom, party-hardy garage, entryway/hallway, downstairs living room, downstairs full bath.
Starting upstairs, this is the living room. Number one, I love blue. Number two, I love blue with natural wood. Number three BIG GIANT LIVING AREA. Number four, no neighbors behind you means the ability to have very large picture windows. <3 this room. Which segues directly into....
The kitchen! All appliances along one wall, modern black and white against the blue wall, and loooooots of window space all along the counters. And hanging baskets of flowers. (Yay, I decorated something!) I really, really adore this kitchen.
Off the kitchen, the hallway/activity corner where Enzo spends the majority of his time either writing novels or painting. He totally planned that painting to match the decor before this photo shoot.
To the left of the activity area is the master bedroom. Fairly non-descript, but I love being able to have enormous windows in private rooms like this because they are on the second floor. :)
And to the right of the activity area is the master bath, color-coordinated with the rest of the upstairs. I really dig this nearly-cobalt blue color.
Moving downstairs, we have the kitty room, complete with some kitties and an eviscerated catnip mouse. There is also a pet house out back for makin' kitty babies. Two litter pans are annoying, but Fiona tries to teach all the adult kitties how to use the toilet to eliminate the necessity for excessive litter pan cleaning.
The twins' room. This room is kind of a mish-mash because it never got a full makeover between their childhood and their teen years; plus, they had such different personalities that it made for interesting decor dichotomy. This room will become Leah's bedroom again when she moves back in and will get a makeover.
Party garage!!! For those times when you just need to get away, as Fiona and Enzo did a LOT when the girls were toddlers. Bar, bubble blower, disco ball... what else do you need?
There were supposed to be pictures of the the downstairs living room and the downstairs bathroom, but alas, I suppose something weird glitched out with fraps. Not sure what happened to them, which is a shame since the downstairs living room is kinda neat. But instead, here's a final image of the back of the house with pet privacy house:
Also, the telescope Fiona constantly uses to spy on Linda Tanaka and the solar panels that keep them from having to pay bills every month. And that's it!
House #4: Amber and Diego Villalobos' Garden Home
I'm not sure what it is about this house that makes me love it so much, but I think it started with the wraparound porch with flower baskets on the railing. Also, I love stone houses, and I love the nature hobby, which means I got to turn this house into a veritable flower house. You'll notice in this picture that there are two greenhouses...that's because the last time I played this home, I was trying to get Amber her wishing well and thought that I could make flowers come out of hibernation by putting a flower bed in a greenhouse. Turns out no dice. But I did build a very gorgeous flower garden with fountain and stone walkways that will make an appearance when it's spring in this house again. This house has the same large open family area as a lot of my other favorite houses, and though the upstairs is a little boring, the first floor and the basement "party" area make this house really appealing to me. I have no idea who will inherit this house, but if I can't find someone before Amber and Diego die, I'm totally having them activate a servo so some lucky future sim can move in here. Perhaps when that happens, they can redesign the upstairs. Anyway, thus begins the tour.
Outside shot of the stone garden house. I'd call it a cottage, but it's a little large to fit that moniker. This house has the most outdoor garden decoration of any in my 'hood, and I love it for that reason.
Second floor, top-down view. Clockwise from top left: Marquez's old bedroom, now a playroom for a cat the couple has adopted, red office, stairwell/hallway, Marquez's bathroom, master bathroom, master bedroom, hallway. Bonus: cute, cuddly elder couple in bed. :') Bonus #2: Conner Villalobos doing ballet in the office while the cat stares at him weirdly, lol.
First floor, top-down view. Clockwise from top left: living room (with entry to back porch), stairwell, powder room, kitchen, dining room (with front porch access), reading nook.
Basement, top-down view. Clockwise from top left: bowling area, stairwell, bar, stereo, pinball machine, as-yet-undesignated corner area at bottom right.
In-home bowling alley.
Bar and game area.
First floor: kitchen.
Dining area and reading nook. I don't have any CC that creates a window seat, so that little alcove with a couch in it and windows behind it was my solution.
Living room and stairwells. Notice this house is another with big, open rooms.
Upstairs: the master bedroom with adorable couple, d'awwwww. <3
Office/new kitty's bedroom.
Marquez's former room, now sort of a miscellany. His bed is still there, along with all the cat toys and the chess table.
The two bathrooms upstairs. There wasn't really a better way to take a picture than this.
And finally, their flowery porch rail on the back deck. Grill, treadmill, ceramic mushrooms, telescope, and pond in the background. I wanted to take more pictures of the gardening, but it's winter, so everything is covered. You've seen plenty of the greenhouse and the front flower beds in the entries for this house, though, since every entry for the last three rounds has been Amber trying to get her wishing well. >:O That's it for this house, which means just one left...
House #6: Marquez and Imelda Villalobos' Sprawling Spanish-Inspired Household
I love the layout of this house; it was another find from houseplans.com, my sim-spirational house building website. This house has a freakin' huge floor plan, so their lot is enormous and the house looks enormous on the neighborhood view, but it's all one level, so instead of building up, they built out. I tried to stick with a somewhat Spanish theme here, though I'm not sure how well I did. Regardless, I still love this house. The original had a sunken living room, but I didn't bother to do it in this house because I'm too retarded to sit and figure out how to make an appropriate split level. :p
Outside view. Pretty. <3
Top-down view. Clockwise from top-left: sun room, living room, master bedroom, master bathroom, kids' full bathroom, kids' room, office/kitty room, entryway, dining room, kitchen.
Living room, which has an open feel because although there are walls blocking out the hallway at this end of the house, they are all half-walls, so the living room, hallway, and dining room are semi-open to one another.
Other end of the living room, showing opening into the hallway.
Sunroom. Lots of windows, lots of plants, and the bookshelf and couch. It's a nice, quiet study area, though if sims are like me, all that warm sunshine pouring in and making the place hot would put me immediately to sleep on my book.
Other angle view of the sunroom. Very difficult to photograph properly. :p Also, hi thar Julian, icu being studious. Good boy.
One side of the kitchen, the part on the right as you exit the sun room.
Other side of the kitchen, on the left as you exit the sun room. Includes a little breakfast bar. About the floor: I'm not sure about this floor. I keep changing it and can't ever seem to get something I like. The first floor I had looked too much like grass. Now this one is too aqua. Meh. Maybe I'll have to make something custom to fit it.
Dining room. I wish Maxis had a table this size so I didn't have to back two three-tile tables up to one another, but alas, they don't. And this room looked way too weird without a table this size, so the Villaloboses get way more chairs than they could ever need. Also, this shot offers a view of the open-walled feel of the hall and living room.
Down the hall, the master bedroom. Mmmm, I love bright, pure white and dark wood. It makes me happy. :) The fact that the "curtains" on the bedposts are off-white drives me crazy.
Master bath and boys' bathroom. I tried to stay with earthy tones in this house...the exceptions being the sunroom and the kitchen because those two rooms have unique purposes that don't necessarily need to match with the rest of the house, imo.
Boys' bedroom, decorated with kitties, of course, because this is a cat-friendly dwelling. I hate those comforters on the beds, but I haven't yet downloaded something masculine in the yellow hues to replace them yet.
And finally the office/kitty area. Food, litter pans, and climby house are in here. There are no official beds other than two pet houses out back. Sometimes the kitties stay there, sometimes they sleep on the floor in the office. Either way, this is kind of the retirement home for all Fiona's "breeders," so these cats are all really well-behaved and don't jump up on furniture or destroy things. Yay.
And thus ends the tour! A few honorable mentions go to: Aki's bachelor pad (eliminated because I kind of had to butcher the second floor to add enough space for children...lack of foresight on my part, d'oh.) Nerissa and Catalina's purple house (eliminated because while I love that house, it's got sort of a weird floor plan and there isn't anything REALLY spectacular or unique about it. Also, I love the revamped [no pun intended, lolz] basement "lair" more than the upstairs.) Caitlin and Paolo's log cabin (eliminated because please, with so many children in that house, you've seen the layout more than a few hundred times. Very nice and FUNCTIONAL house, though, especially with that many sims in it). Also, no founder houses were included not because I don't like them or because I don't like the remodels I've done over the course of this challenge, but mostly because I'm so fracking sick of those houses that I'm biased against them. :p Anyway, hope you enjoyed this very picture-dense trek through my favorite houses in the 'hood. Regularly scheduled programming (i.e. the Connor and Dot Villalobos' house) is resuming soon! Hope you enjoyed the anniversary stuff. :)
**WARNING: Lots of large pictures in this entry; may take a crap ton of time to load depending on your connection speed.**