Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Little Cottage Challenge

This is the "full" album of my completed Little Cottage Challenge from the Living Sims Forum.For this challenge, you downloaded a small, worn home and had to make it over without removing existing doors and windows (although you could add them).

I wanted to try a style I don't usually do for this challenge, so I chose Mediterranean. That was a challenge in itself, since the house looks more like an old English country cottage! I build in Los Aniegos, because I'm so freaking in love with the place. And to go with my Mediterranean feel, I wanted to create a Spaniard man to inhabit the home. First, I chose a name from my ever-handy baby name book - Leandro. Then I went online to look up Spanish surnames, and chose "Mura". I thought that had a nice ring to it. "Leandro" means "lion". That will be important in a minute.

Then I hopped into CAS and started mucking with a face. However, I found I needed some research. Just what makes a Spaniard a Spaniard???

Lo and behold, when Googling for help, I came across pics of the Spanish actor, Antonio Banderas. LOL And so my Leandro is loosely based on Antonio (because hey, I'm no whiz with the CAS controls). I think he's a passable Spaniard Sim. ;)

Leandro's personality traits are Star Quality, Perfectionist, Good, Friendly, and a Great Kisser. Meh, I've no idea if Antonio Banderas is any of those things - except he certainly has Star Quality. LOL

Since I was basing the guy on AB, I made sure his star sign was also Leo (not that I put much stock in signs, but hey, I had to pick something, so there you have it...). And here's the funny bit - Leo is, of course, the sign for lion, and I didn't know any of this before I named my Sim "Leandro"! Ha! Things like that just tickle my funny bone. You'll have to excuse me.

And now - on with our stooooorrry....

Leandro Mura stood at the front of his new house. "New" was really not the right word; this house was literally eons old. It was merely new to him. His grandfather - a mean, bitter old man - had left the family home in Sevilla, Spain, many many years ago and had settled in Los Lobos, Calibania. A penny-pincher and a grouch, he lived alone until his death, letting the small house he'd built fall into disrepair around him.

Leandro was the "lucky" inheritor.

Why his grandfather chose him, he'd never know. But since Leandro was his mama's "good boy", he packed his bags and flew to Calibania to at least oversee the sale of the place.

Leandro harrumphed. "No one will want this place in this condition!" he grumbled. Now he'd be stuck here until he could either fix it up or demolish it. "And my siblings thought I was so blessed. Pfft."

It wasn't even in a nice neighbourhood, really. Sure, the view was great. But there were no houses close by, no neighbours to chat to. Probably just as his grandfather had liked it. Leandro's heart sank. Most folks wanted some kind of "community" around them. How in the world was he going to sell this place to normal people??

But as these inheritance things go, there are times when everything is not a disaster at all. And this was one of those times. On the second day in Los Lobos, Leandro found out from his grandfather's lawyers that along with the decrepit old house came a very, very tidy sum of money - "The result of all that penny-pinching, no doubt," Leandro supposed. In any case, things were looking up for the young man from Spain. He had enough money to renovate and landscape as well as to live on while he was there.

Leandro lost no time. He hired the best contractors he could find to start on the yard work right away. As the days passed and the work progressed, however, Leandro grew homesick for Spain. The Los Lobos terrain made him think often of his homeland, and yet the house was a pitiful reminder that he was anywhere but home.

And I do suppose that's where his inspiration came from for what he did next.

Yes, he turned that little cottage into a peaceful Mediterranean retreat! The old stucco had been removed, new stucco applied, windows exchanged for ones that had a more Spanish look, and a porch with a pergola roof as an entry. Not to mention the gardens and pool... but we're getting too far ahead here...

(How did he get fully-grown cypress trees and ivy vines on the lot, you ask?? Well, that's just the perks when you know The Controller well enough... ;) )

The tiny house was now a more like a "home". Leandro brought as many of the Spanish colours and patterns he loved so much from his family home into this new one. The blue wall in the dining area was reflected in the soft cushions of the comfortable loveseat - and it served to remind him of his mother's and father's bedroom back home. The flooring was sanded, stained, and polished until it gleamed warmly at anyone who entered. The fireplace was properly bricked in and completely refinished to its former glory.

The old windows were taken out and replaced with some lovely arched versions that had wrought iron grating. He purchased an elegant wrought iron table and chair set for the dining room and hung light sheers at all the windows in the living area to catch the breezes that now happily flowed through this house on the hill.

The kitchen took a good chunk of the main floor - but that was OK with Leandro. He liked cooking his mother's best dishes from the recipes she'd written out for him. It made him feel at home. The cerulean blue was brought into this area as well, and the warm woods gave some traditional charm. He ripped out the two old windows in this area's alcove - one of them had almost completely rotted away anyway! - and put in a shuttered bay window in a style similar to a small café he'd frequented in Sevilla and a smaller window on the north wall to help bring in more natural lighting.

While he wanted to keep as much old world charm in the home as he could, he made sure the appliances were top-of-the-line. "After all, women like those things," he told himself. "And everyone knows you sell a house to the woman based on how great the kitchen is."

Smart boy. ;)

The bathroom on the main floor had such interesting tile that Leandro decided to keep it and use it to work with for the room's colour scheme. By some miracle, he found a truckload of matching tile at an old consignment shop - some distributor had been tired of trying to sell it -so he used it to finish the area around the tub. However, the old wallpaper had to go! So he stuccoed those bits with a wonderful, warm golden colour. He refinished the old bathtub that had come with the house - no sense getting rid of that wonder!

He even found artwork for the bathroom. "After all," he told himself, "everyone knows a woman loves art on the walls - even in the bathroom."

Ain't he amazing??

And that was it for the main floor. No, it certainly wasn't big, but Leandro was very pleased with how it had turned out. He'd been in Los Lobos for a month now, and he'd begun making friends, many of whom were very interested in his little project and often paid him visits to "oooh" and "aaahhh" over his progress.

For one thing, the "peace garden" on the north side of the house had been finished. Leandro found that the warm evenings of Los Lobos invited him to sit here with his lions and the quietly-lapping pool. The cypress trees reminded him of the park in Sevilla where he'd spent many a night with a certain young lady. Alas, that young lady chose another - but there was another possibility of Lady Love shining on him currently looming on the horizon here in Los Lobos. Perhaps. Leandro was torn. He was supposed to be selling the house and going back to Sevilla. That had been his plan. And yet... and yet... this garden and the wonderful front porch... even the warm evening breezes seemed to be lulling him, calling him...

(Ahem. I'm sorry. The Controller is known to wax poetic at times. Cheesy, I know, but what can I do? I can't seem to stop her! After all, she is The Controller, you know! Would you argue with her???)

Finally, it was time to tackle the master bedroom. His grandfather had not needed much space, and the upstairs bedroom was rather tiny, by Leandro's standards. So he moved the far wall back about four feet which opened up the room perfectly.

No, that is not his grandfather in that picture hanging on his wall. That was his mother's grandfather - a man whom Leandro had heard about all his life, and one he truly respected for the hard decisions he'd had to make. He'd asked his mother for the picture when he'd left Sevilla, and she gave it to him with tears in her eyes. "He will watch over you," she said. All Leandro could do was hug her and swallow hard.

For this room, Leandro wanted the rich gold colours of the Spanish hills - and those of Los Lobos - to be the inspiration. Touches of green here and there, just like in a desert, but mostly warm and deeply luxurious. "After all," he told himself, "everyone knows a woman swoons over luxury - especially in a bedroom!"

I'd like to thank his mama for raising such a lovely boy.

The upstairs bathroom leaned more toward the green colours of the cedars and cypress trees. Since the main floor bathroom had a wonderful tub, Leandro installed a new, modern shower for this smaller room.

He actually really liked the "no-nonsense" feel to this bathroom. Perhaps a bit more manly than the one downstairs. Laundry basket tucked under the open counter, modern stainless steel sink, flashy shower - yes, this would be the bathroom he'd most likely make the most use of while he lived here.

The landing at the top of the stairs was the final part of the home to be completed. Leandro bought one of those crazy "I'm a guy" workout machines and figured the only place it would fit would be in the top hall. Of course, on a complete whim, he also purchased an "I'm a guy" statue for his work-out area - "Because," he told himself, "every woman knows that a man needs a bit of space to call his own."

Isn't that right, ladies?? ;)

To be fair, however, he also put a large wicker trunk there to hold his hand weights and stretchy-thingies for his arms and the Thigh Master he found at the consignment shop. Very nice of him to not have them cluttering up the landing.

This picture reminded him of his mother's garden. And red felt empowering when one was working out. So he hung it right where he could see it while he groaned and sweated and pumped iron.

The last little bit to be finshed was the pool on the south side of the house. He wanted it to also be an entertaining area, where he could BBQ, eat with friends, lounge and swim - maybe even dance. After all, the number of people he knew in Los Lobos now was growing each day. He'd even done a photo shoot for a swanky new men's cologne, and he had an agent who was gunning for a sweet part for him in an exciting movie! Acting certainly hadn't been on his mind when he'd first arrived in Calibania, but then again, neither had falling in love...

Whoops. He said it. The "L" word. Hmmm....

And so Leandro Mura had much to think about as he finally got to lounge by his new pool. Los Lobos was truly beginning to feel like home. He had enough money left over to carrying him for quite awhile - maybe one of the only nice things his poor, estranged grandfather had ever done; a promising career in the film industry, and a budding romance.

Yes. Maybe this "little cottage" could actually become a real "home".



Leandro having a dip in the new pool:

Main floor layout:

Top floor layout:

Closer shot of the exterior:

xo Webby


  1. This is really lovely, Buttercup! I love the bathrooms best, that rich earthy tile looks fab. Have to confess that I've not been near this challenge because it leaves my mind completely blank of any possibiliites, yours is wonderful XxxX

  2. Thanks, luv! I was pretty happy with the results - and now I want to play Leandro and REALLY get him a lady to love! LOL