A personal look at the Linden Stilt Homes in Second Life

My over-the-water Stilt Home parcel at Bellisseria, with the Tortuga style house rezzed and furnished

Back when I previewed the Linden Homes Stilt House theme, and again when the theme was released at the end of 2020, I mentioned it was the first theme that might tempt me away from the Houseboat theme, which has tended to always win-out against the subsequent Linden Home releases in terms of desirability.

While swapping homes wasn’t high on my priority list, I have to admit that the temptation to just give the Stilt Homes a try had been growing over the Christmas break. And so, while it did cause no small amount of anxiety – my Houseboat location was really very good – at the start of the week, I decided to make the swap, trying for an over-the-water Stilt Home.

Obtaining one took a little time – Stilt Homes-are obviously popular, being new, and the over-the-water version particularly so (Stilt Homes are offered individually as over-the-water; with pier or on land variants on the Linden Homes selection page). But careful refreshing within the page throttle limit meant I was able to eventually pick one up.

My Linden Stilt Home parcel with the Havana style house with moorings I’ve added myself

When previewing the houses, I had been somewhat swayed towards the two-storey designs (Lauderdale and Santiago). However, after re-familiarising myself with all four styles, I actually found the Havana and Tortuga better suited to my tastes, providing the best value (in my view) between living space and available water in the parcel for mooring boats, and betted options for interior customisation, having very good sized rooms (the Tortuga in particular).

Both styles are 3-roomed designs, with the Tortuga offering the slightly greater interior space in the form of two large through-rooms and a smaller room, while the Havana presents a central front-to-back through room flanked by a smaller room on either side. Both designs have a large, split-level rear deck that gives plenty of scope for sun decks and moorings.

Havana interior: the main room gives plenty of room for expression

While I cannot compare it directly with  Camper / Trailer, Victorian or Log Home themes, the Content Creation Pack for the Stilt Homes offers a somewhat greater range of options than the pack for the Houseboats, with furniture plants, textures, useful colour matching guides and other little goodies than might be put to good use. I was a little disappointed no corner posts were offered to go with the additional deck railings, or that there was no bi-fold door that might be used to split the Tortuga’s two through-rooms, but these are not exactly hard-to-overcome “shortfalls”.

Although there are already add-on kits for the Stilt Homes a-plenty on the Marketplace, I much prefer building / kitbashing, and the Tortuga with its big rooms immediately attracted me with the potential for adding my own features. So much so, that I spent several hours playing with different ideas in both rooms!

The Tortuga’s large deck area can be used for boat moorings without it feeling crowded – although admittedly, I’ve thus far minimalised décor and furnishings( a simple pergola, suitably sized, shading a couple of rocking chairs and some planters with flower to break things up

In the end, I went with the simplest approach: a free-standing “room divider wall” that splits the largest room in the Tortuga into two without actually dominating the space or looking out-of-place. One side of this became my “living room” overlooking the rear decks, with the divider itself neatly providing space for a fireplace (with added chimney jutting from the roof above!). This then allowed me to use the “front” part of the room as a kitchen / the dining area, with the long interior wall ideally suited for placing kitchen units, while the width of the room meant I could include a kitchen island, again naturally breaking up the floor space quite naturally.

While the Havana’s large main room could be similarly broken up, I found that with a little careful placement of bits, this isn’t really necessary; I was again able to include living area, dining area and kitchen comfortably into it. With the addition of decking and steps to  moorings outside the front of both (and the use of one side of the Tortuga’s deck), I have been able to provide ample space for mooring those boats I want to have rezzed (all of them otherwise sitting in my vehicle rezzer until I want them).

I’ve deliberately kept furnishings and décor on the decks of both the Havana and Tortuga to a minimum, the former having a free-standing pergola with large sofa, etc., and the latter a pergola and shades directly adjoining the back of the house (thus helping to shade the living room from the Sun) and a couple of rocking chairs  I may admittedly play with both decks a little more in the future, but for now, that’s all I really need.

I like the large main room of the Tortuga particularly amenable to being made a comfortable living space – plenty of room for a kitchen, dining area and lounge space – and even a fireplace to act as a natural room divider

As noted earlier, giving up my Houseboat did give me a moment of anxiety after I’d let it go, but over the last 3+ days I’ve become more settled with my decision; the Tortuga has been proving to be a very comfortable and flexible living space (even if only as a second home when Isla Caitinara isn’t available), and it is very likely I’ll end up saving several internal layouts of furnishings, etc., into my personal rezzer, just as I did with the Houseboat. I’m also admittedly fortunate that, like my old Houseboat, the parcel I’m on is fronted by a large channel of open water (a natural divide between Stilt Homes and Houseboats), so I don’t feel at all crowded in.

I’m not sure I’ll make use of the 2-storey styles;  while I like to look of both, they’re a little too big for my needs. But then, I might just be tempted at some point to have a play.  in the meantime, would I recommend the Stilt Home designs to someone looking for a new Linden Premium Account Home? Absolutely.

Linden Stilt Homes released in Second life

Premium Linden Stilt Home became available on Monday, December 21st, 2020

Update, December 22nd: it appears that a significant issue with experience keys that affects grid-wide experience is impacting the deployment of the Stilt Homes – see: BUG-229892 “[Upilft] Experiences Failures”. The issue is currently being investigated by Linden Lab.

Updated: The release is on hold due to “unforeseen circumstances” – see Patch’s update for more.

Monday, December 21st, 2020 saw the long anticipated release of the new Stilt Homes theme for the Premium-only Linden Homes.

The new homes were first unveiled in June 2020 (see: Second Life: looking at the new Linden Homes Stilt theme), but their roll-out was delayed as a result of the work involved in transitioning Second Life to running on Amazon AWS servers, coupled in the last few days by some back-end issues the Lab needed to get under control.

Over 3,800 Stilt Homes have been added to Bellisseria and will be made available in the run-up the Christmas. As with other releases, four styles of house are included in the theme

The Stilt Homes are inspired by coastal home common to the south-eastern United States,notably Florida, where such house styles can be found along low-lying (and often hurricane prone) areas. As with previous Linden Homes releases, the house come in four styles, any of which can be selected by the controller cunningly disguised as a lamp that sits adjacent to each 1024 sq metre parcel.

The four style in the theme are:

  • Havana: single-storey 3-roomed, cross-shaped house with central front-to-back room providing access to front covered porch and rear covered deck, also accessible from one side room.
  • Tortuga:  single-storey with largely open-plan design providing two room, with a smaller third room to the front. A small porch area to the front aspect, and large deck / dock to the rear.
  • Lauderdale: a two-storey unit with two rooms downstairs  and two upstairs, one with a balcony. Features a full length front porch with roof over, and sliding doors to the rear opening to a rear deck-come-dock.
  • Santiago: a two-storey house with open-plan ground floor and two bedrooms, one with a rear-facing balcony.  Features a ½-porch with verandah over to the front, and deck to the rear. A front facing balcony is accessible from the upper floor.
“Land side” Stilt Homes

Just as we saw with the preview region seen in June, the Stilt Homes are broadly split into two categories: those built on low-lying sandy land and sandbars, and those either partially or fully over water, with some of the later connected to the land via board walks. Those on land are adjacent to the local roads, and have wooden stairways leading up to them. All four designs have decks / docks associated with them, with the entire release occupying a new expansion to the the east of Bellesseria that also have some Houseboats included in the mix, for a total of 3,875 Stilt Homes and 552 houseboats.

This expansion takes the form of a series of sandy islands made up of multiple regions, with none of the islands connected directly to another, except via the water channels between them. This perhaps makes these Stilt Homes an ideal place to live for those who enjoy puttering about in an amphibious car – although admittedly, transitioning from water to land (or vice versa) can be a little tricky given the need to  avoid intruding on someone’s privacy / land. Perhaps LL should consider providing ramps into and out of the water at various public reaches of sand in the future.

Some 552 of the ever-popular houseboat theme (foreground) are also included alongside the Stilt Home release

Given the problems being encountered with various SL web properties, the release was cautious – the first region to be offered up being Alagoon, with around 22 units built over water and three more either fully or partially on land. It was presented as a test region to see how things went in terms of hiccups, etc. However, availability soon increased to other regions.

Back in June, I commented that of all the Linden Home designs, the Stilt could be the first to tempt me away from my Houseboat. Six months on and that still holds true; if I could guarantee getting an over-the-water Stilt (or at least one partially over water), I would be sorely tempted. In this I admit that an added attraction would in part due to some of the region names that have been selected, given my liking for a good (or bad!) pun.

Take for example MARLIN Munroe, Rocky Bal Boata, Otter Limits, Getmah Drift, Shore Thing, Lone Shark, Knot Atoll, Mussel Beach, To name but a few. Then there is Tuna Turner (which adjoins the water region of Immoral Porpoises, both of which are just one region over from Salmon and Gillfunkel, and more besides, include my personal favourite: Jamaica Me Crazy.  It’s clear that tongues were firmly in cheeky was putting these regions together!

Abnor Mole of the LDPW inspects the newly available Stilt Homes in Alagoon

As always, all of the Linden Homes can be obtainedby Premium Members  (subject to individual theme availability) through the Premium Member’s Linden Home page at secondlife.com, whilst the regions in Bellisseria are open to general access.

An Alpine touch for Linden Homes in Second Life – updated

The new Linden Homes theme on preview at the SL Christmas Expo 2020

On Friday, December 4th, Linden Lab unveiled the next Linden Homes theme which – I assume – will follow along behind the much anticipated Stilt homes, and this time the Lab has followed popular request, and turned their attention to home styles from outside the continental United States, going for what is a decidedly Alpine feel.

I’m particularly pleased to see the move, as when reviewing the Stilt Homes I made mention that it would be nice to see the Lab cast their net of house designs a little further across the globe, and also made mention of European designs in the forums (not that I’m saying this selection of homes has anything to do with that comment – I was far from alone in making it, and I’m pretty sure Patch and the team has picked up on requests for European style homes long before I put fingers to keyboard on the subject).

The Alpenrose style of Linden Home
As with past themes, this preview  – I’m unsure of the official title, so I’m just going with “Alpine” – comprises four house layouts, whilst the default exterior finish displayed at the preview is such that you might just get away with calling them “mock Tudor”, allowing them to be seen as a more English village style of home.

The four type of house – referred to as “chalets” are:

  • Matterhorn: 2 large ground floor rooms, linked by a rear hallway with back door, and a central front hallway / reception area with stairs to the upper floor. This has two large rooms, one with gabled windows to the front and rear, the other with large windows to one side aspect.
  • Alpenrose: a two-storey house with offset front entrance with vestibule, three ground floor room, one with a side door to the garden. Stairs from the entrance hall provide access to three upstairs rooms, each with windows to a side aspect and either the front or rear.
  • Reizend: a single-storey cottage-style chalet with front porch opening directly into one of them, with doorways serving the other three rooms, one of which has a side door to the garden.
  • Edelweiss: a two-storey house with front entrance to one side serving the stairs to the upper floor and giving access to the single open-plan ground floor room, which also includes a side door to the garden. A landing upstairs provides access to two bedrooms, each with widows to a front or rear aspect, and to the side aspects of the house.
Edelweiss style of Linden Home

All four designs are presented in a wooden frame with white stucco exteriors walls finish (hence the mock Tudor comment above), topped by tile roofs. Each has window boxes with some of the windows and planters on porches, all of which I assume are part of the final designs.

Whilst all four house designs are well in keeping with the name of one – reizend (“charming”) – the names of the remaining three strongly evoke visions of snowy mountains, deep valleys and little villages of houses huddled on slopes. However, here that are presented in a flat landscape that, with the large windmill at the centre and the roads / red-bricked footpaths (sidewalks), seems to suggest The Netherlands.

The Reizend style of Linden Home

This actually  – to me and those I mentioned it to – actually put the houses at odds with their setting; whilst throwing up mountains and glacial valleys isn’t a practical proposition, these are still designs that would benefit from being within a  more undulating setting, allowing them to be grouped together more to give something of a village feel rather than just setting in what feels like an urban tract. Obviously, space is limited within a single preview region – but I would hope that when made available, these are houses that are placed within an environment that more imaginatively meets their largely Alpine names.

At the time of writing this piece, I am unaware of any release date for this new theme, particularly given we’re still awaiting the roll-out of the Stilt homes, so the best place to look for updates on both this theme and the Stilt homes is likely to be Patch Linden’s Linden Homes Update thread.

The Matterhorn style of Linden Home

Following this article, Patch dropped me a line with some further information on  the preview that had not be made available through the Destination Guide:

They are known as fachwerkhaus. Tudor is close, but fachwerkhaus is specifically what they are prototyped after, and we took our inspiration from a local village near where I live known as the Alpine Village of Helen Georgia (in the northeast Georgia Mountains). This made it convenient to gather RL imagery along with having some German and Dutch based Moles on the team helped greatly too. Hills, mountains, valleys and such as backdrops to come.
Oh, and there’s 8 floor plans, 4 were featured today, the other 4 are “open concept” floor plans of the same homes.

So there you have it folks!

SLurl for Preview

Note this will only be available while the SL Christmas Expo is running

Second Life: looking at the new Linden Homes Stilt theme

The new linden Stilt Homes (r-l) Tortuga, Havana and 2-storey Lauderdale

On Tuesday, June 23rd, while speaking at the SL17B Meet the Lindens event, Patch Linden announced the next theme of Linden Home that is being lined up for release: Stilt Homes, designed to be placed in coastal setting, their stilts allowing them to sit on land, over water or between the two.

Once available – the new houses are currently only available for preview at SL17B – will again come in four styles, and will occupy 1024 sq m parcels. When they are released, they will become the sixth type of new Linden Homes to be made available over the last 18 months, with two further themes already in preparation.

The new theme is … stilt homes. They take their inspiration from south-eastern US geographical areas that basically are Floridian shore-side stilt home communities that tend to pop-in in low-lying and potentially even hurricane prone areas. Generally, they’re fairly brightly coloured; they have fairly good-sized open concept floor designs, and we’re going to offer them in three different variants. There will be an over water variant of the home, a partial version of the home that could rest over land and water. and there will be an inland version of the home, all on stilts no matter what because – you know – when the hurricane comes though you certainly don’t want to be on the ground when the flooding happens!

– Patch Linden, SL17B, describing the new Linden Home theme

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The new theme comprises the following styles of home:

The Lauderdale: a two-floor unit with two large down stairs rooms, open with front door opening to a full length front porch with roof over, and sliding doors to the rear opening to a rear deck-come-dock. Central stairs lead up to an enclosed landing area with bedrooms either side, one with views to the front and rear, and the other with views to the front and side and sliding doors to a large verandah with roof over at the rear of the house.

The Havana: is single-storey 3-roomed, cross-shaped house with central front-to-back room providing access to front covered porch and rear covered deck. One side room also offers access to the deck-come-dock, and with windows to front and side aspect. Remaining room has windows to front, rear and side aspects.

The Santiago: a two-storey house with ½-porch with verandah over to the front, and an open-plan ground floor presenting space for two rooms, the larger of which has a bay window to the front and sliding doors to the rear opening onto full length deck, sans dock. A dog-leg staircase leads up to a central landing with sliding doors to the front verandah, and two bedrooms. The first bedroom is a full front-to back room with windows to the front and rear. The second bedroom has windows to the front bay and side aspect, and sliding doors serving a rear private verandah.

The Tortuga: a single-storey house with offset main room to one side with front door to a small covered front porch and sliding doors to the rear deck-come-dock. A second room, also with access to the deck / dock opens off of this, together with windows to the rear / side aspect. A small room sits to the front of the house with windows to the front aspect.

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The theme itself has been a lot of fun to design and develop. We took a lot of plant life from that area and created it to be true to that geographical zone of the United States as well as varying out transportation capabilities between road and dock as well as waterway and such. And the thing I’m particularly excited about is that the home that are over water will marry up to and against regions that are also specific to houseboats. So this is going to give us a new ability to segue from area to area between the stilt homes portions of the continents to also adding on more houseboat regions out and around these continent sections that we’re planning on putting out. 

– Patch Linden, SL17B

A view of an “inland” group of Stilt Homes – Santiago to the left, Lauderdale centre

All four styles of home look like they can be used over land or water; those over land appear to have steps down to the ground from the front porch, with perhaps room to squeeze a car under them. As Patch notes the landscaping is tropical coastal and modelled on that of Florida. The houses with water parcels are either connected by sun washed board walks back to dry land and which can also provide social spaces, or – at least in the demo region – sit entirely surrounded by water, which is an interesting approach.

There is something of the Traditional Homes look to these stilt homes, so much so, that with a casual initial glance, you might be forgiven for thinking that they are “traditional homes on legs”. However, once examined, it becomes clear this similarity is more passing than anything else; something that gives these houses something of a hook into past Linden Homes designs whilst also  – thanks to the large deck spaces and mix of land / water locations – being something completely unique.

The “offshore” Stilt Homes at the SL17B preview region – Havana in the foreground, and Lauderdale towards the centre

Given there desk and docks, the theme also appears to have the largest general footprint of the Linden Home released to date, which might cause problems for those wishing to moor a large type of boat alongside one. Even so, I have to admit that this is the first theme that – once available – might tempt me into giving up my houseboat and trying to snag one that sits in its own “offshore” parcel. Although that said, it would be nice to see a theme that isn’t another aspect of Americana – the rest of the world has house styles to offer, after all!

SLurl to Preview Region

(only available while the SL17B regions are live)

Second Life: Log Theme Linden Homes released

The Linden Log Homes: the Lincoln (l), Overlook (c) and Grand View (r)

On April 1st Linden Lab released the latest Linden Homes theme for Premium members. The Log Homes (a terms that sounds somewhat odd to me, so I’ve tended to call them lodge homes), were unveiled in February during the Home and Garden Expo for Relay for Life of Second Life – see: Previewing the Linden Home Log theme in Second Life.

Since that time, the Moles have been busy dropping a new bunch of regions off to the east of Bellisseria  – a location I’d previously mused as being the most likely direction for expansion now that Bellisseria directly abuts Sansara to the north and Joegeot to the south (see: Linden Homes: recent expansions, future thoughts). And when I say “a few” I men an area of regions pretty comparable in size to the original Bellisseria continent that first opened to the public back in April 2019.

The linden Log Homes and landscaping

Within these regions, the initial release of Log Home saw a staggering 4,828 unit made available as a single – many of which were promptly jumped on by existing Linden Home owners deserting their original offering.

As I noted in my preview for the theme, the houses come in for styles, any of which can be selected by the occupant of a house parcel. However, at the time of that previews, the styles hadn’t been given names, so’s here a quick recap of each:

  • Lincoln (formerly “Log 1”): 2 front aspect entrances, 3 open-plan ground floor rooms, one overlooked by the galleried upper floor that forms the bedroom area, complete with a balcony recessed into the roof and offering a side aspect view.
  • Grand View (formerly “Log 2”: semi A-frame, with full height picture window to the front aspect, and a porch running across the front under the A-frame roof, and part-way down one side to the front door. Three rooms on the ground floor, the front room overlooked by the galleried upper floor bedroom.
  • Overlook (formerly “Log 3”): full length front porch, 1/2 length rear porch. Three rooms on the ground floor, 2 open-plan, with one of the latter overlooked by a galleried landing providing access to two bedrooms.
  • Mountaineer (formerly “Log 4”): 2 entrances to the front aspect, 3 ground floor rooms, 2 open-plan, stairs to upper floor with two bedrooms, one with en-suite bathroom; further stairs up to an attic space with windows to all four aspects.
The Linden Log Homes: the Lincoln

In keeping with their theme, these are houses with a good proportion of open space within them and opportunities (if the house is facing the right way) to enjoy vista-like views through the picture windows and / or the balcony that feature in a couple of the designs.

The regions containing the houses are – again as may have been seen with the H&G Expo preview set-up – designed as rolling, open country, crossed by tracks a-la the Campers and Trailers homes, with open woodland – including redwood style trees – populating the landscape, while the tracks are marked by lamps, stone walls and wooden fences. Rivers appear to be sparse, water apparently restricted to moderate to small lakes, while somewhere buried within their midsts is a new community centre build. I’ll be seeking that out when I get a chance to explore more of the regions on horseback.

I have to admit, these are the first batch of new Linden Homes that have almost had me upping stakes and trying to claim one (throwing over my houseboat in the process). But, I like messing about on the water and so will hold out in case LL and the Moles work out an option that gives people the option to have a house on land with some degree of direct water access.

In the meantime, once this batch has been gobbled up, expect releases of the Log Homes to slot into the rolling schedule of smaller releases (officially) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (although some releases have come pretty much daily).

Previewing the Linden Home Log theme in Second Life

The new Linden Home Log / Lodge theme with the Log 2 to the right, Log 3 to the left and log 4 partially visible to the left

The fifth in the 1024 sq metre Linden Homes that are available to Premium members, was unveiled on Friday, February 28th at a special region sitting adjacent to the main American Cancer Society (ACS) region in Second Life. The site was selected as a combined result of ACS home the 2020 Home And Garden Expo in support of Relay for Life, and in recognition of the strong ties between ACS Relay for Life and Second Life / Linden Lab.

The new theme is referred to a the Log Home theme – or if you prefer, lodge theme, a further distinctly rural theme well suited to woodlands, lakes, mountains and remote spots, joining with the Campers and Trailers theme to offer such a rural opportunity. As such they stand apart for the more urban styles of the Traditional and Victorian homes, whilst also offering a chance to blend the the Houseboat type.

The Log 1 style of Linden Home, showing the recessed balcony

As per usual, four styles of the new home are available for Premium users to choose from, all four selectable from the wooden mailbox that accompanies each parcel. The four styles, as shown at the preview, didn’t have individual names, but were called simply, Log 1, Log 2, Log 3 and Loge 4, with each featuring:

  • Log 1: 2 front aspect entrances, 3 open-plan ground floor rooms, one overlooked by the galleried upper floor that forms the bedroom area, complete with a balcony recessed into the roof and offering a side aspect view.
  • Log 2: semi A-frame, with full height picture window to the front aspect, and a porch running across the front under the A-frame roof, and part-way down one side to the front door. Three rooms on the ground floor, the front room overlooked by the galleried upper floor bedroom.
The Log 3 Linden Home
  • Log 3: full length front porch, 1/2 length rear porch. Three rooms on the ground floor, 2 open-plan, with one of the latter overlooked by a galleried landing providing access to two bedrooms.
  • Log 4: 2 entrances to the front aspect, 3 ground floor rooms, 2 open-plan, stairs to upper floor with two bedrooms, one with en-suite bathroom; further stairs up to an attic space with windows to all four aspects.

The preview region featuring the houses offers a feel for how they will look when in situ in Bellisseria, once they become available. Like the Campers and Trailers theme, the landscaping features open spaces, trees, water and dirt tracks. As all parcels are, in keeping with the Linden Home house builds, 1024 sq m (Campers and Trailers are currently 512 sq m), individual footprints for the 4 styles of home offer plenty of scope for outdoor options as well – and these homes would appear especially well suited to those wishing to have somewhere to place a small stables and fencing and provide a home for their horse.

The Log 4 Linden Home

The preview region will be available for viewing through until the end of the Home and Garden Expo on Tuesday, March 3rd. Currently, I do not have a date as to when the new theme will be available in Bellisseria.

SLurl for the Preview

American Cancer Society (rated: General) – follow the signs