There are a lot of Victorian-style houses in my town (there is even a PINK one not too far from us!) and my mom, who has an interest in architecture, can tell me which ones were built in the Civil War era. So I often find myself looking at houses as we drive down the street (it's better if my husband is driving so I can REALLY look) to get an idea.
I nearly always, nowadays, build houses/community lots based on something real. I don't always follow a plan slavishly but sometimes try to create something in the spirit of. The genius loci is something I like to try and get at. Love those pictures Crocobaura.
My houses always start out as boxes, and one of the later EPs gives you a room tool which does just that - creates a big box, so you don't have to go through the trouble of measuring the length of the walls yourself.
It's to the point where I'll move my family into a pre-made house that shipped with the game, see a diagonal wall, and think it's the coolest function of architectural design that's ever been done.
Silliness aside, I have experimented from time to time with something different, or added something new. A car port for the car instead of a garage or a 2nd floor patio instead of a ground-level one. Small changes, but different than the usual.
beeps - Nice tutorial. A reminder that small changes can make a big difference - and to break out of the "auto-roof" pattern, which I do all too often.
I love to do houses based off of floor plans. Its just fun to have to adjust it to my sims needs. Like obviously my sims don't need WIC or a laundry room so its fun to try and edit all of that to see what can be changed :D
I'm getting better at the designing. It also helps that if the family is rich (without cheats) then I get to play with the kitchen for as long as I want, and try to make it perfect. I use auto roofs 95% of the time because the roofs tool just confounds me. Lately, though I've been watching tutorials and other stuff on how to make a roof. It's getting better I'd say. Whenever I'm out on the town with my husband, I try to look at all the houses as we drive by, and try and get an idea of what would work and what wouldn't.
I always like to at least have the nursery on the ground floor, that way your Sims don't have to lug toddlers up and down the stairs (yes, I know there's a mod for toddlers to use stairs, just thinking about downloading it). Besides, downstairs is where everything goes on, upstairs is pretty much for sleeping.
i like the boxy look from time to time. if you want to challenge yourself for fun you can build a house room by room, making sure each room is not square. pop out a wall by 2 squares and make it an "L" room. if you have a boxy house you really like try knocking down some interior walls for a more open look. half-walls instead of whole walls. to dress up the outside you can go for ornate windows. i like the old windows maxis came up with; very ornate with the crackling paint on the window panes. old, but if you throw in modern furniture and the right wall paper, you can pull of a French country look.
when i play the premade houses that the games come with, i like to disguise the boxy look with aged panels, vintage photos, and furniture placed at angles. the bookshelf does not have to go directly on the wall. use boolProp allow45DegreeAngleofRotation true and </> and put that baby at an angle against a corner. same thing with that grand piano and grandma's knitting chair. Oh, and don't forget the screens, darling. The screens!! Go for that chic look that says something along the lines of "Maybe I do get naked here from time to time." ; ) Again angle the screen, add a rug, an old chest, whatever you like. clutter it up a bit for a more authentic feel. if you're not into custom stuff, maxis has the strewn clothes, the teddy bear, hey even that cute little dollhouse. again whatever.
My favourite house right now is actually a box! However, it's based on a cabin I stayed in when I went on holiday recently, and is built on the bottom of a sharp hill, so you walk into the house from the road and find you're in the second floor, not the ground floor. It took a lot of fiddling with the CFE cheat and the foundation basement stuff, but it worked in the end.
Yesterday I accidentally locked my keys out of my apartment (oops) so I took my son and we walked to where my husband works. On the way there, I was able to get a good look at some nice-looking houses (we live in a decent part of town but this was nicer) and get some ideas on how to build, and what to use for outside wall covering.
I used to be afraid to build houses, but now I often start on empty lots and build houses from scratch, using lots of diagonal corners to improve the environment. Like in Delenn Curious' house. I made it rather small, but tried to keep it roomy and leave enough room for her cauldron and book so she could make stuff and cast spells, and of course go back to infallibly good alignment after casting the Magus Mutatio spell. After she got pregnant, I added a second floor, and the autoroof I used looks quite nice. All the lights are crafted from the cauldron, and make the house sparkle!
My houses never come out as boxes. It's not intentional, it's just that boxes aren't very comfortable for gameplay. I build on 3x4 pieces of land, and that dictates its own rules, because there's so much space. You don't build close to the road and you build nice-shaped big porches, because it wouldn't do if half of the lot was the backyard. Typically I have to curve the house inwards on both sides, too, building walls farther from the road than in the center, because that's the only way that cars can fit in on the sides...
Bedrooms go in the back of the house, as well as other not immediately needed areas, which dictates the shape. But my houses tend to be symmetrical, I'm obsessed with it and don't understand lack of symmetry that so many other people enjoy. So if there's a backroom somewhere on the right, be sure that I'm going to build a backroom on the left in the same place.
I think I've lost my mind. I just submitted an entry for this contest. I had fun doing it and I actually learned how to change the roof angle and managed to get a half way decent roof put on.
If I do nothing but learn how to do that and avoid the auto roof function it will be time well spent.
Still after looking at some of the other entries and feeling slightly intimidated not only by the houses themselves but by some of the CC, I almost didn't submit my finished house. I'm happy with it so that's what counts.
I had a little lottery to see what dormie got to get out of permanent townie hell and become a playable so I could test run the lot. He looks happy to have moved up in the world.
The funny thing is there are some pretty interesting buildings in reality that are just boxes. I generally only build lots that I find interesting in real life or modifications of the same. I've used Google Earth for ideas for my larger commercial lots as it provides a very basic 3D image that I can copy in the game.
Many times I will find myself out walking and see a building and say to myself, "I could so sim that building right there!" At which time I will make a mental note of its angles, colors, floorplan (if applicable,) and points of interest. Because I live in a fairly large city I never run out of ideas. For larger lots I find myself hitting the 255 wall section limit and have to start scaling to make it feasible in the game.
I get away from boxes by first designing my houses away from the computer on paper. I make little notes about how big everything will be so I can decide which lot size to use and nothing is too huge or too tiny. I do this in art class, considering I typically finish my projects before most everyone else. Then I tear out the piece of sketchbook paper and take it home. But I've just walked around my own house, and you know what shape it is? A rectangle. So a few boxy houses are fine. I just focus on houses room-by-room, and draw rooms individually, trying to make them fit around each other in a unique way. Not all of my rooms have four walls and not all of my rooms are rectangles.
Usually, my houses tend to be boxes-or else I download someone else's boxes
However, recently I dared to make a 3 story octagonal tower for my medieval hood, liked it so much that I built a house (more like a castle) with two of them on either side of it.
It's nice and large on the inside, just as the owner likes. That's the main thing about any house in the game: give the inhabitants enough space, and they won't complain too much.