I know there's a thread about Maxis makeovers in general, but I didn't want to clutter up that thread with what I want to do here. Hope that's OK. Anyone else, feel free to document your works-in-progress here too, if you like.
I don't really make over the Maxis houses in the regular neighborhoods, since I usually build my own to suit a particular Sim or, if I'm being lazy, I use one of the pretty ones I have downloaded. BUT, I do have a thing for making over the Maxis houses at the college campuses because I generally like to put YAs in houses rather than dorms. Unless I need them to meet a future significant other, in which case I move them both out into a house once they meet and get together in a couple-y way. Usually, I don't feel like building a uni house from scratch because a given Sim is only going to live in it for a relatively short stretch of time. (I have a hack that shortens each semester to two days instead of three.) So usually what I do is have each family I play claim a house at a particular uni, and then all the college-bound kids from that family use that same house, making them generational while at the same time strengthening family bonds. (Or destroying them, if the kids don't get along! )
I always start with a Maxis house and then slowly remodel/expand/redecorate as the resident kids move in and earn money. For me, it makes the long process of uni a little more interesting, as I look forward to getting through each semester in order to work on the house. I also have the kids utilize other ways of making money (contests, performing for tips, painting, writing, etc.), which keeps them busy (and therefore non-boring) and gives me more money to play with for the house.
Since I just started a "real" legacy (Meaning, I'm following the rules this time) and the first heir just started college, I thought I would document the progression of this family's uni house here, just for fun. Hope you all don't mind.
So, my victim: 1 Danish Drive, at Academie Le Tour, temporary home-away-from-home to the heirs and spares of my Anderson legacy. The Gen 1 heir, Yale, just finished up his sophomore year, which for me is the end of a play cycle. He also has his childhood BFF-->steady girlfriend-->fiance as his roommate, so that doubles the money I get to play with right off the bat. Yay!
But first! The before shots, for comparison's sake. (Forgive the grid lines, please. I took these shots before anyone was moved into the house, so there was no "live mode," and I don't know how to turn off the grid lines otherwise, if it's even possible to do so.)
The things I like about this house:
1) Its general shape. It's easily expandable in a way where there will be a logical progression of rooms. It's also easy to expand upwards, when that becomes necessary.
2) The interior space is lightly-walled and therefore easily configurable.
3) The lot size. I've got room to grow and to landscape. Also, the house is roughly centered on the lot, meaning that I can decorate and add features to all sides.
The things I don't like about this house:
1) Dig that kitchen! Oh, yeah. Pea green counters with a mismatching fridge, even though that same fridge comes in a pea green that kinda-sorta matches those counters. (I really don't get Maxis sometimes. Are they all colorblind or something? ) And the turquoise floor tiles that clash awfully with the pea green, to top it all off. Classy! Yep, that there is top priority for good ol' Yale, particularly because his hobby is cooking.
2) For a small house, that bathroom is unnecessarily large at 4x2 tiles. And I don't like its orientation, taking up all that back wall space, either. And what's with the two entrances? Future embarrassment in 3...2... So, it will be reconfigured, too. This is second priority.
3) I hate that gold/beige carpet in the bedrooms. Maxis seems to be obsessed with it, though. It seems to be in at least one room of every single Uni house I remodel. :rollseyes:
4) The placement of the front door. There are too many doors in that one little area of the house. Fortunately, given the openness of the living area of the house, this is an easy fix.
5) The exterior siding is an ugly color, IMO, because I like darker and/or more muted shades for exteriors, but that's a low-priority fix.
....And since this got way more wordy than I intended (I am trying to document here, not just take pics!), I guess I'll put the first in-progress pics in another post.
Moving on... After two Uni years, here's the house:
Not too much changed here, yet. Some windows were rearranged and one each was added to the bedroom and the bathroom. The front door and the ugly exterior light fixture were moved to a better location (still need to fix the path from sidewalk to front door, though!). A sliding glass door was added to the back wall, and Yale bought a telescope to work on his logic. (His LTW is to max all skills; he's about halfway there now.) Future generations will benefit, too, since no one's allowed to take anything from this house when they move out.
The plan for the exterior: Fix the path! Change the siding! Possibly change the roofing material, depending on what siding is chosen! Build a back patio! Start landscaping! Get a nicer front door! And for God's sake, get a new front exterior light fixture! Bleh!
For the farther future: Nicer windows would be...well, nice.
OK, obviously changing the interior was more of a priority for me.
To move into the house took about $2600. With what was left of the move-in money ($3000 in scholarships from Yale, plus Ophelia's $500, plus a few hundred that Yale made when I sent him to King's Music Hall to play money for tips right away, taking advantage of his maxed-out creativity skill)...
In real life, I tend to prefer rooms divided off while at the same time maintaining an open feeling. True "open floor plans" are....well, too open, IMO. It makes for, among other things, annoying echoes and higher heating/cooling bills. Even though these things aren't things that affect Sims, my preferences still "carry over" when I'm building/designing for them. Hence, I tend to use walls with big arches extensively.
So in this case with this li'l Sim house, the large living/dining/kitchen area was partitioned and repainted first thing, leaving "holes" for the arches that I couldn't afford yet. I chose sage green paint in "honor" of the ugly green kitchen counters. This and a few other little things used up pretty much all of Yale's and Ophelia's remaining move-in money plus proceeds from selling stuff I didn't want that was already in place. Like the extra bathroom door, the bathroom sink (which for me isn't an essential feature of Sim bathrooms so long as there's a kitchen sink), and a few light fixtures, making for dark rooms for a while. In exchange, I ended up with partitioned (but still "open!") kitchen/dining and living areas and a few other little things.
As in: I've got an established couple here in Yale and Ophelia Nigmos. They got engaged first thing when they moved in. (Yeah, yeah, I bend the "only marrying townies" legacy challenge rule; I go more by who the Sim is actually attracted to, regardless of whether they're a townie/dormie, an NPC, or a playable. If they come with lots of money, I just take it away via the familyfunds cheat. Yale and Ophelia have three-bolt attraction so...there we are. ) So, I don't need two bedrooms for this first group of residents. So, out with the cheap single bed the house came with, in with the cheapest double bed (which was subsequently changed to the more expensive double bed that's there now). This freed up the second bedroom for use as a hobby/skill room, at least for this generation. The first additions were the desk and chair and the free computer courtesy of Mr. Humble.
Once I got money from the kids' first semester-end bonuses, I changed the orientation of the bathroom so that it only used two tiles of back wall instead of four. This allowed for the addition of the back sliding glass door, adding light to the kitchen, and the creation of a small "mud room," plus provided a more logical bathroom layout with a (expensive!) tub/shower instead of the cheap shower. The side affect of this was that it made the living area smaller. But since there are only two Sims living here at present, that's not a big deal. It will be expanded as time goes on. I also bought the easel for Ophelia with this batch of money. Her pre-destined hobby is apparently music and dance, but she needs income, dangit!
Plus: Out with the ugly turquoise-and-white floor tiles, in with stylin' black tiles for the kitchen and mud room. (The bathroom came with the same black tiles.) I've got a thing for black and white kitchens, so this worked out well for the next semester-end bonuses (two or three semesters' worth of them, actually, plus Yale's music tips and Ophelia's (so-far-pitiful, but every bit counts) painting proceeds: The Big Kitchen Re-Vamp.
The new kitchen/dining, more close-up:
Ugly green counters, be gone!
The only things left of the original kitchen are the sink and the fridge, the latter of which was moved and recolored to the white version of the same fridge, thus only costing $15. Oh, and the window is original, too. It remained in its original spot while gaining a curtain.
The counters, island counters, stove, stove hood, and bar stools are from buggybooz's awesome Kitchen Basic set, available at MTS2. The upper cabinets (which I like better than the Kitchen Basic ones) are by lara9taylor and are also available at MTS2. I love them and use them all the time in practically every house I build or remodel. The oven mitts, food processor, ceiling light, and the curtain are all good ol' Maxis. Fortunately, the curtain came in a color that actually matched the paint I picked! Serendipity!
The living area, from the kitchen archway:
Not much to say here. It's small and very basic (There is a bookcase that you can't see in this pic, and that's about it for furnishings), and its expansion and prettyfying is a future project.
This and some other miscellaneous furnishing (i.e. the living area, the chess table, the telescope, and a few other things here and there) was done with the last bonuses of this play cycle. Both Yale and Ophelia only got Bs instead of an A+ each this time (Too busy painting and playing music to study, in order to afford the new kitchen. ), plus I had to restock the fridge. So, I had a bit less money to work with. I'm really not fond of how this room came out at all. I was kind of thinking "exotic/jungle," but it didn't really work and I didn't have enough money for some stuff that would have made it work a bit better. But it is better than the original, for sure. So this, too, is a future project, as is the second bedroom/hobby room, which is thoroughly unchanged other than sticking furniture and a ballet barre in it. It still has that nasty carpet in it.
And that's it for this round. Gotta go play the founders for a SimWeek now.