The House Across the Street

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The House Across the Street

Postby lindawing » June 27th, 2014, 8:41 am

Last year, the construction company which owns the lot across our dirt street, out here at the lake demolished the old summer house that had been built back in probably the early 1930s by the one of the early members of the family who owns the construction company. By 2009, when we moved here, nobody was visiting the house in the summer, though it has always been well-maintained and the grounds well-groomed by a caretaker, on a regular basis, year-round.

After the old house was gone, many of the old trees were removed, and the lot was opened up quite a lot. The old, narrow carriage garage at the road level was also demolished, though the concrete pad under it was left in place. I believe the new garage will go there. The rest of the lot was prepared to receive a new house. It's been about nine months, now, and the house is really taking shape.

I've been looking at it from our front window (which looks across the road and slightly down on the new house), and wondering over and over again how it will look when it's finished. I never got to see anything but the front of the old house. I saw it all my life, on and off, when we visited our grandparents over here, and came out to the lake for a day or two during any summer visits, but I never got to go inside that house, and I don't remember actually seeing it from the lake view, though I'm sure I did, as we spent whole days out on boats, fishing for perch with my grandma and grandpa back when I was growing up. At that point, I just never noticed things like lovely houses that I might wish I'd visited, once I got older! :uhuh:

Now I will never be able to see the new house, except for the front view, either (or at least it's highly unlikely, given my mobility problems). If I ever DO get to see it, I will be ecstatic! I got to think about it, while watching the progress to the exterior, and wondering how the progress has been going on the interior. Finally, a few weeks back, I contacted the man who is the descendant of that earlier builder, who now owns the building company down in Sioux Falls (which is about two hours away from us, to the south). I found the e-mail address for him on their website, and e-mailed him, asking if I could borrow the blueprints from the construction foreman who has been supervising the build, and if David could also take some pictures. I referred him to some of my builds here on the forum, so he could see what I was talking about, and told him I'd really like to build "the house across the street, and why I wanted to do so.

It was nearly two weeks before I heard back from him. By then I was pretty much convinced that he probably thought I was just a total crackpot, and had ignored my request. As it turned out, he evidently did NOT think that, and suddenly I got a return e-mail. He said he would love to help me do what I would like to do in The Sims 3. I then asked him how I should go about getting the plans, etc., and he said to arrange it with the foreman and with David, whatever way I saw fit. Woot! :joy:

So a little over a week ago, the foreman came over to talk to David about getting a wooden toy fixed, that he had bought for his grandchildren last year. While he was here, I showed him some of my Sims builds on the forum, and explained what I wanted to do. He had already heard from his boss, so he knew the basics already. When he left, David went with him and got a set of the blueprints, which I was told I could keep at least for several weeks, since they're done with the parts I would need, anyway.

It took me a little while to figure out the house and room sizes (I have a spreadsheet that helps with that), and then I had to find a lot in SOME world on my computer, that would accomodate the house. It had to have the top end at a road, and then angle down toward water. There aren't many lots in all the worlds I have, that actually DO that, so I thought I might have to actually build a tiny world first, to get the type of lot I needed! I did finally find one, though, that is a LITTLE small for the size of the house, but it's on a similar grade, and it has water at the bottom. It's one of the lots in Isla Paradiso.

I started building. It was a little difficult to figure out how to proceed, because the house's top level begins slightly lower than the road level. In real life, it's also a bit further back on the lot, because the garage will be up at the top, by the road. On the lot I had to work with in the game, I had to skip the garage, and just do the house.

I also had to figure out how to do the bottom floor, which is a daylight basement. In The Sims 2, that was easier, though we had to deal with the rather ugly double basement walls. At least, with TS2, we could grade the hillsides down and have them go gradually down the walls of the basement, until they reached the end of the basement at ground level, as they do in real life. In The Sims 3, I could have actually done the same thing, but I didn't want to, because I wanted to avoid that double wall thing. So I settled for the area under the front porch being that style of "basement" (it's empty, dark space--just a deep foundation--for that area, in my build), and just build the bottom floor with regular walls.

This means that the ground has to slope only the slight distance of the porch foundation, then level to the bottom of the bottom floor. So, obviously, the lot itself isn't graded like it is, really, across the street. I actually think I've figured out how to do that better, and I'm going to try it again, now that I've had this first experience, but I wanted to show you the pictures that I have done with this first build, so you can see what I've been talking about over the last couple of months, to some of you.


EXTERIOR...

I don't have the right type of windows in my game, to match the upper, decorative windows at the front and rear of the real house, but I've used ones that give the general idea, for now. There are some windows I can download from MTS and TSR, that will give a better representation, later, when our HughesNet connection is repaired. In the meantime, this will have to do.

Also, the house has a brick exterior on all four walls. In my representation, I've made the wall where the upper windows are placed, in the front, have the shingles that will go on a separate face, at the front edge of the porch, out in FRONT of the windows. Because that facing is curved, it would be quite difficult to make in TS3 (though I just realized that I CAN do it, I think, in my second build...the method popped into my brain all of a sudden!). What I did, instead, in this build, is simply not make that facing at the front of the porch, and put the shingle wall surrounding the windows themselves. It still gives the feeling of the actual front, I think. As we all know, though our Sims games approximate real buildings, they aren't entirely accurate, and we're limited in what we can truly represent, unfortunately.

I haven't been able to see the bricks they are using, close-up, but I think I've gotten the color fairly close. I don't know what color the shingles will be for that front area, because they haven't done any finish work on that yet, but I've gone with what I would have chosen, had I been designing the house for myself. I can always change it later, when I have more visual information. :uhhuh:

Here is the full exterior of the house as I've represented it in this build. NOTE: HATS = House Across the Street. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them).
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Another limitation we have in the Sims games is that we can't make vaulted ceilings. I was trying to get an approximation, but it just became too complicated--partly because I don't have the right shapes and sizes of windows yet. I may be able to do a little bit of a vaulting representation in the next build...we'll see. This next picture looks down without an attic floor, but then the following picture shows what happens when you look through the upper windows, since the room partitions are cut off at the regular height.
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So what I ended up doing was what we'd do to protect our Sims from the weather, in the game...I put in an attic floor. This also creates the ceiling when you take pictures from inside the house.
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Above that floor, I used the "moveobjects on" command to put some tiny outdoor lights inside the walls, so that the light shines up through the accent windows, giving the effect, at least, of the windows being extended to a vaulted ceiling, as you can see by the next two photos. It's the best I could do, at this point.
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The front concrete porch has just been poured, across the street. They matched the color of the bricks, which I didn't expect. I had used a hardwood flooring for the porch, because I didn't like the look of a gray concrete with the rusty-colored bricks. So today I changed to a concrete porch, using the same hex color as the bricks. :uhhuh: The porch at the back is also concrete in my representation, while the upper deck is wood. In the picture of the back porch, there's a strange green line that I just noticed. That's one of the leaves of a bulrush plant from the plants in the water. Oops! I was having a hard time getting zeroed in on the porch itself.

I have no way, right now, of knowing how they'll actually be landscaping at that end of the house, and I know the lot is quite a bit longer in reality, than the lot I had to work with in the game, but this is the best I could do, for now, so I just went with a little swimming/fishing area at the back. I wanted to add a dock, but there just wasn't room. I'm assuming there will actually be one, because almost all the houses that front the lake, here, have their own docks. :yeah:
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INTERIOR--TOP FLOOR...

I've done the best I can, to represent the plan the way it's laid out in the blueprints. Due to the game's limitations with windows and doors, the spacing isn't exactly right. I also had to make a couple of small changes due to the way our Sims USE the doors. I absolutely hate it when they walk THROUGH a door that has opened for them! I do my best, always, to place the doors so that they open against a wall, whichever way they swing (and we all know that the doors swing whichever way the Sims are going--NOT as they would in real life, where they would be opening only in one direction.

I also, as usual, had to take some liberties with things like the size of the laundry room, if I wanted to put an actual door there. The front door is a fairly good representation of the real thing, I think, though I'm not sure it will have windows in the door itself. I also couldn't make the L-shaped stairwell, since we've never gotten that capability in TS3, unfortunately. So I just did the best I could--making the stairs go straight down, with the hallway turning away at the end of the stairs, in the bottom floor.

Here are the interior pictures I took of the top floor. The furnishings are from my own imagination, as are the decor colors. Later on, I hope to have David take some photos of the finished house, so I can see how it actually gets decorated. For now, I just went with the flow, as I was building. ;-)
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One of the things that irks me in TS3 is that though EA gave us upper cabinets, they made them the full depth of the lower counters. Almost always, real upper cabinets would be about half the depth of the lower ones. Still...the plans called for the cabinets, so I added them. I sure would like to have all this cupboard space!!! :yikes:

Regarding the kitchen island, I get really disgusted with the way they made them work in TS3. In TS2, we could make a full rectangular island, that could have seating all around. In TS3, the corners won't morph correctly. Sometimes we can get a small U shape (see the bottom floor pictures), but in the kitchen, I couldn't even make the island pieces do that! I finally had to settle for the L-shaped island, which isn't true to the house's real design. I also put the seating along the opposite side that is shown in the plans, because I would personally prefer to have it that way...so that the cooking side of the island has more walking room, whereas the clean-up side of the island has the backs of the stools.

The kitchen sink only takes up a single grid-space in TS3, so that's not placed exactly where it will be in the new house. In reality, it should be centered on the window, but I can't make it do that because of the game limitations.
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I have no idea how the flooring will actually be placed, or what type of flooring will be used, so for now I just chose a layout, color scheme, and floor types that appealed to me. :-)
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This isn't another dining table...it's the domino table. :yeah:
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Unfortunately, the door to this bathroom is one that the Sims WILL walk through when it opens, if they go toward the great room instead of toward the front entry. It couldn't be avoided. :uhuh:
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INTERIOR--BOTTOM FLOOR...

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This is the utility room, which normally would have the furnace, a workbench, and probably storage, from what the plan shows. I decided to go with our Sims' craft benches and the gem cutting machine, since we don't have furnaces for our Sims, and I figured there were already enough counters in the house. ;-) The door into the utility room is in the wrong place, but it's because of that thing with the doors that I mentioned above. It just works better where I located it--given the location of the bedroom doors, and the way our Sims like to walk through the doors as if they weren't there! Silly Sims!
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In the blueprints, the wet bar just goes around the corner of the bathroom walls. When I did it that way, My test Sim had problems. I put out snack bowls (as we can do with those islands by right-clicking on them). He could sit and eat from them, but the ones at the corner was placed back by the wall...where the actual fronts of the counter pieces were touching the wall. To clean up the dishes, he would walk into the bathroom and get as close to the wall as he could, and stand there yelling at me that he couldn't get to the dish! :evillaugh:

So I compromised and did what you see in these next two pictures. Now the counters work correctly, and I was able to get that U that I mentioned above! :joy: Oh, and the nectar rack has tasteable delights. The cart doesn't really work, of course, but Sims can go get a bottle of nectar, pour it into glasses, and carry them on a tray to the wet bar. For some reason (silly EA), they take a glass from the tray and go to the nearest TABLE to sit and drink the beverage. That's why there's a dining table in the basement. Otherwise, my test Sim kept getting his nectar and taking upstairs to the kitchen/dining area! Since there's also a small fridge at the wet bar, Sims (especially any children present) may also get quick meals, snacks, and other beverages from there, and take them to the table to consume them.
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The family room has lots of activities and lots of comfort.
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In reality, the bedroom nearer the stairs should be slightly larger than the other downstairs bedroom. Because of my lot limitations, I settled for making them the same size. I went with loft beds, for more guest sleeping. Anyone actually playing the lot could make one of the bedrooms have a double bed, perhaps, or the loft beds could become side-by-side twin beds, or one of the rooms could even become a nursery. I just went with a boys' room and a girls' room. After I took the pictures, my Sim went through and cleaned the entire house--making all the beds. I hadn't realized I took this picture with the girls' lower bed unmade. Tsk tsk! Such a sloppy Sim!
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There you have it--my first representation of the new house across the street. I'm not going to share this lot, because I think I can do better. I may not even share the next build, because not everyone will have a slanted lot like that, on which to build. I will, however, share pictures of the second build when it's done. Thanks for reading my book! :rolleyes:
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Re: The House Across the Street

Postby MelodyOkie » June 27th, 2014, 12:41 pm

How great they shared the plans with you and you've done a great job with them!! :joy:
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Re: The House Across the Street

Postby psychedelicsim » June 27th, 2014, 1:45 pm

Woot! Lovely job! :joy:
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Re: The House Across the Street

Postby ukpoppyberry » June 29th, 2014, 9:24 pm

What an exciting project! So great to be able to work with actual plans that you'll also see come to life over the coming months in reality too! It's a really great home, you've done an amazing job with it, it really looks like a real place!
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Re: The House Across the Street

Postby lindawing » June 29th, 2014, 10:24 pm

I got a quick note back from the owner today...his comment: "Very nice! Thanks, Linda"

Short, but sweet. ;-)
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Re: The House Across the Street

Postby ukpoppyberry » June 30th, 2014, 10:42 am

Aw...that's nice! I love how you have it on the different levels like that too, it works really well...I've been wanting to do something like that for ages, but all the lots are pretty flat, no wonder you had trouble finding one!
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Re: The House Across the Street

Postby lindawing » July 1st, 2014, 3:10 am

:uhhuh:
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Re: The House Across the Street

Postby MamaLambNC » July 2nd, 2014, 5:43 am

Wow! That's some house...When can me & Bryan move in? We sold our house in Sumter so we should be able to get another one, right??? LOL!! You did a GREAT job, Linda...as usual! You always build good lots! And worlds!
Loving Helpmeet To: Bryan (40 yrs.)
Proud Mama To: BJ - 36, Angel - 32, Kathy - 28, & Shaun - 25
Caring Grandmother To: Rafael - 9, Nadya - 7, Bruce - 4 & Brooklyn - Newborn
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Re: The House Across the Street

Postby lindawing » July 2nd, 2014, 5:52 am

Thanks, Patty! I'd move in there in a second, too! :uhhuh:
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