Note: the images here do not show the intended EEP environment for the fantasy theme. They have been taken purely to show the house designs themselves. I will have images reflective of the Fantasy homes and their new sub-continent utilising the correct environment lighting when the Fantasy theme becomes available.
As a part of the opening of SL18B, Patch Linden announced the next Premium Membership Linden Homes theme will be Fantasy, and a preview area opened within the celebration regions, giving people a chance to see the new theme ahead of its release later this year.
Fantasy has been a common request for a new Linden Homes theme, and the new theme is to address this call. In keeping with the majority of the “new” Linden Homes themes, the houses occupy 1024 square metre parcels, and the theme appears to comprise four styles, as described below – but please note it has been indicated that:
- The interior layouts may change between the preview and the release.
- This theme is to include “special features” not previously seen in Linden Homes – but these will not be revealed until Patch’s Lab Gab session on Tuesday, June 22nd (unless he spills the beans at the Leadership session on Monday, June 21st!).
The four styles are:
- Amberbrooke: a large, open-plan central room with stairs to the upper level and front and rear access, flanked by two additional rooms. Upstairs are three rooms, with the central room featuring a balcony overlooking the rear of the property.
- Mistbrooke: a large, single-level house with central entrance hall flanked by two rooms on either side, the two rearmost of which each provide access to a small terrace / patio sitting between the wings of the house.
- Rosebrooke: central entrance hall, flanked by a large room to the right with access to the rear of the property, and a smaller room to the left. Stairs from the hall provide access to a landing with a room to either side, each with skylights.
- Stonebrooke: a turreted entranceway provides access to a large main room with access to the rear of the property and further access to an inner hall / room that in turn leads to three further rooms.
While it is purely speculative on my part, I wonder if these homes might also follow in the footsteps of the Chalet theme, with each style offered both with complete interiors and in a more open style variants for people to create rooms of their own.
As it is, and again given the interiors are not finalised, the Mistbrooke would appear a little cumbersome in layout – the only way to get to the rearmost rooms in the house (and indeed, access the rear terrace / patio) is to traipse through the rooms they adjoin. Some might not find this especially enamouring, depending on the uses to which they put the intervening room. Given the hallway overlooks said terrace / patio, I’m surprised the window it contains is not actually a doorway.
In terms of overall design, the Fantasy Homes could be described as “the Cotswolds meets Lord of the Rings”. True, these are are not faced in stone (at least for the preview), but on the whole their general appearance (ignoring the skylight motif and fretwork over entranceways) wouldn’t seem too out of place if dropped into a Wiltshire village.
It is the fretwork that pretty much carries the “fantasy” theme (along with the “Linden typical” approach the the general landscaping (twisted and gnarled trees, crystals thrusting out the the ground together with giant mushrooms). This fretwork and the skylight window motif do give the houses a lean towards “elven / Lord of the Rings”, but to me on this first look – and granted I know nothing about the “special features”, so may well have to eat my words later – the overall designs feel as if they are tinkering with the fantasy theme, rather than embracing it.
Truth be told, wandering / camming the region left me asking, “where are the rounded doorways? Why not something with a little more of a fantasy edge to it such as homes with open-sided entranceways and halls leading to rooms that are somewhat more enclosed?” and so on. However, and in fairness, I can also recall the original Linden Homes fantasy theme came under heavy fire back in 2009 for being too other-worldly (/Lord of the Rings-ish) and thus seen as having “limited appeal”, so a more staid approach might be for the better.
As it is, much of the initial reaction on the forums has been positive, and it is fair to say that in not going “all out” on the fantasy theme, these homes could find favour among both fantasy lovers and those who are not so heavily fantasy oriented, but want a home that is just that little bit different without being completely “outlandish” to their way of thinking.
Either way, the preview region will be open for viewing throughout SL18B, and I’ll doubtless have more on this theme down the road.