Melinda Palianta recently revamped her private home with an autumnal build and graciously opened it to the public for a short period. I’m glad she did (open it, that is!); it’s one of the most stunning and natural builds I’ve seen in Second Life; a perfect blending of season, landscape, influences and more.
The essence of the build may well be New England in the fall, but there is also an oriental theme and look running through it, touched here and there with and almost English country feel, all of which is beautifully blended into a whole which really is marvellous to witness. It is also perfectly framed through the use of water to create streams and rocky channels which cleverly and very naturally break the garden into individual areas that flow into one another via footpath and bridge, providing a feeling of continuity as you wander and explore while also allowing the various aspects of the garden to exist on their own as more intimate, quiet spots one can enjoy in their own right.
Crystal Oak Falls is another tour-de-force demonstration that one doesn’t need to own an entire region in order to produce something really amazing. Yes, the parcel may be a little larger than the average offerings supplied by estates, but it’s still well under a 1/4 region in size and has a lower land capacity than a Homestead. Nevertheless Melinda has packed an incredible amount into it, and with nary a hint of lag for the visitor.
From the ocean side arrival point at the front of the house, you can explore the garden at will; simply let the paths, bridges and steps lead you around, and drink in the settings. Part of what makes Melinda’s design so alive and rich is the way in which the garden changes as you wander through it; rather than being entirely pristine and looking like every minute available is spent tending it, this is a garden where – just like in real life – things can get a little wild if left alone for a while. There are tall wild flowers growing near the stables; further towards the back of the garden, the steps leading up to the tent and camp are looking mossy and starting to get a trifle over-grown, all of which adds to the charm and realism of the build.
With its oriental touches and use of water, this is obviously a place which very much appeals to my personal sensibilities, something which might be taken to mean I’m a tad biased in my point-of-view. However, I’ll wager a pound to a Linden dollar than Crystal Oak Falls is a place that can capture the eye and imagination of all but the hardest of hearts, and is a place that SL photographers will delight in seeing and snapping.
However, those who wish to see for themselves will have to move quickly; Melinda will be closing her land to public access on December 8th, after which she will be working on her winter build. I hope she’ll consider opening that to the public for at least a few days as well – it is bound to be as equally as gorgeous.
If you do visit Crystal Oak Falls, do keep in mind that it is a private home; while the gardens are free to explore, the house may not necessarily be so. If you do enjoy your visit, consider leaving a small donation at the arrival point.
- Crystal Oak Falls SLurl (Rated: Moderate) – open until December 8th
- Melinda’s blog post on the design