This is a picked upload! It showcases some of the best talent and creativity available on MTS and in the community.
Creating something that embraces every stereotype available to it is (for me, anyways) a good way of sounding out what all can be done with various elements in the game. So, naturally, when considering the stereotypical "Eastern" school of design, the first lot that I made was this east-Asian monastery, replete with pagodas, zen gardens, and Koi ponds. Whether you choose to integrate this into a medieval neighborhood, modify it into a hotel or attraction in Takemizu Village, or simply draw your own inspiration from it is entirely up to you.
My standard approach to making my creations stand out without using any custom content is to find interesting ways of combining objects, using build-mode cheats to increase the number of elements I can find room for in a given space. However, with this lot, one of the goals I had was finding a way to still find the "minimal" aesthetic that so often goes along with the stereotypes of Oriental design. This isn't to say that I didn't still use many cheats in my creating this lot, but I did try to steer away from packing it with as many elements as I normally would have done.
You can see this to a certain extent in the central hall under the main pagoda... (probably the closest thing this lot has to a "living room") It's a mostly empty space, with a ring of columns around the edge to give it some definition, a low table, some plants, and a staircase being the only things on the floor. This means plenty of space for your Sims to practice Yoga, Tai Chi, or meditate- whatever strikes their fancy.
The kitchen is rather spare, and you'll notice quickly that there's no oven present. Sims who choose a lifestyle such as this are likely to adopt a fairly spartan diet as well, and vegetarianism is the norm. After all, you don't need an oven to prepare a salad, do you? The dining room is my attempt at making a long, narrow room feel appropriately spare as well, with few decorations but the windows and views they let in.
As far as rooms go, the library and bedrooms are probably the "busiest" ones, just in terms of the number of objects present, but even here, I've tried to keep the clutter to a minimum. The "two" bedrooms over the library are technically all within one room, with a rice-paper screen dividing them. The bedroom in the central pagoda is fairly standard (meaning uncreative- I'd kind of run out of inspiration at that point), and the tea room upstairs returns to a very minimalistic aesthetic.
There is only one "bathroom" on this lot, but it takes up the entire basement area under the library, and includes several tubs, toilets, and a sauna (imagine the lot being situated over some hot springs or other geothermal feature, and it makes more sense). On the far western end of the complex, two small outbuildings house a mirror and a painter's studio, and across the arched bridge is a small room with a mahjong table, rounding out the "interior" spaces of this lot.
The exterior is just as important to the overall feel, however. The "natural" parts of the lot are a forest of bamboo stalks and colorful maple trees, with a small pond partly covered in lush water lilies and streamside growth. A rough path lined with hanging lanterns leads from the road up into the hills, to the front gate of the building itself. In the courtyard, a small vegetable garden is the first thing you'll see, perfect for growing the crops needed to feed the inhabitants of the house, as well as a quiet spot for contemplation, with its bamboo fountain and small eruption of flowers as well.
Following the stepping stones through the courtyard, you'll also see a larger garden surrounding a Koi pond and a small shrine. A word of warning here- in playtesting, I found that while the shrine is fully accessible, Sims sometimes struggle to find a place from which to view the Koi pond or feed the fish within it, though they can do it. A similar situation may confront you with the Zen garden on the western end of the house- it is perfectly accessible as Sims enter it to groom the sand, but upon trying to leave it or meditate around it when groomed, they may wind up getting temporarily stuck- you may want move_objects at the ready, or at least don't have them do it right before they have to head off to work!
As with all my lots, I did playtest this one fairly thoroughly, and while I found a few minor issues (listed above), no major problems were obvious to me. If you find any in your gameplay, let me know so I can try to fix them!
Partly because of my efforts at keeping a fairly minimalist aesthetic throughout the lot, this is comparatively
less expensive than many of my similarly-sized lots, costing a measly $418,713.
As with everything I upload, no CC was used on this lot, although all EPs are required, as well as all or nearly all SPs.
I think that about covers it for this lot, so without further ado, enjoy!
Lot Price (furnished):