Courtesy of a visit to Clifton Howlett’s Highland Retreat (see: A Highland Retreat on Second Life), I became acquainted with an absolutely engaging (for me) building design by Marcthur Goosson, which immediately set my little mind churning as to the possibilities lying within it for a little kitbashing.
The build in question carries the rather awkward name of NO Cottage Bizar, which really doesn’t do the building justice – although the tag to the name does help illuminate things: medieval restored ruin with modern materials. In short this is a structure that evokes what may have started as a medieval castle or fortified house, which as the years passed was extended as the need for fortifications faded prior to being abandoned, only to be rediscovered in more recent times and once again built-out using modern materials to form a unique home.
This sense of history is imbued through the care in which this 99 LI design has been put together, notably with the use of textures and maps. Stand before the building, and it is possible to see the most aged part of the building, with its irregular stonework and masonry to the left, gradually giving way to later elements with their faced and squared stonework and more managed mortar, some of which bricks-up what might have been older parts of the building’s lower level, before returning to an older wall once more, something resembling a curtain wall that might have once enclosed a courtyard.
Within these elements are the “modern” aspects of the building: the courtyard (if that is what it was) has been full enclosed with cement walls and roofed over to turn it into a large room, the roof forming a balcony reached via the stairs of a still-standing tower which may once have opened onto the original wall. Elsewhere, the interior spaces have been built-up with brick and cement walls, new cement beams keyed into them or the original stonework, in places supported by upright beams in order to support new upper floors. These can be accessed either via the old tower stairs or by iron stairways which, with the iron reinforcements visible in places, give the rebuild something of a post-modern industrial look.
All of this provides a total of five rooms – two up and three down; two of the latter linked by imposing wooden doors which perhaps marked the limit of the original keep, and more modern glass doors. Together, these rooms provide living accommodation of a highly individual kind, whilst the care of the design means that if the finish on the internal walls is not to your liking, you can safely replace them; something I’ll come back to in a moment.
“But hang on a minute!” I hear you cry, “didn’t you blither on about kitbashing a new house just a few days ago? And now you’ve got another one?” Well, yes I did, and no, I haven’t. The modified Tromp Loeil Noa Ranch Cottage I recently reviewed / documented is still the main house; but I have a thing for old ruins in the grounds of my homes, as I’ve mentioned in the past, and on seeing the NO Cottage, I was stuck by a) how marvellous it looked, and b) how it it could make an interesting focal point for the island home, not as a house but as … a swimming pool / summer house. And once the idea entered my head, it became and itch I had to scratch.
As I’ve previously noted when discussing kitbashing, before starting any project, the first step is to ascertain exactly whether or not the end goal can be reasonably achieved. So off I toddled to the Marcthur’s in-world store and play clicky-click on surfaces, checking faces, parts, etc., to satisfy myself what I wanted to do could be done.
Fortunately, Marcthur designs his builds with the intention that they might be modified (he even sells full perm versions of structures like the NO Cottage so that, subject to a license agreement, they can be made a part of another build and sold); as such, I quickly confirmed this build could be modified and so went ahead and picked up the “standard” Copy / Modify / No Transfer version (L$1499).
I’m not going to bore you with a blow-by-blow account of the transformation; hopefully the images here will explain. Suffice it so say, with the add of a few prims, the removal of a few parts (the bars over some of the windows, the internal doors an upper floor, the replacement of the lower floors (with the aforementioned prims, and some duplication of parts to provide additional detailing + some re-texturing of a room and the addition of some internal lighting, I ended up with something that I think worked out quite well, and which fits with the rest of the garden and which only increase the base build’s LI by 4.
All-in-all the The No Cottage Bizar is a genuinely eye-catching design and well-put-together build, one which makes the L$1,499 price very reasonable. It is evident thought has gone into designing it to be both flexible in use as well as ready-to-use. While the shadow maps are something of a specialised inclusion (the full maps – diffuse, normal and specular – are available with the full permissions version), they do offer the means to provide your own textures for use in the Copy / Modify version, and making the finished look more unique to yourself.
More broadly, I hope this piece shows that there are some superb builds available which, with time and imagination, can be made into ideal homes or – with a little application and care for modding, can be made into something personal and unique, be it simply decorating it as a home, to getting ambitious and looking for a way to fit something more unusual – such as a swimming pool!
And, of course, for my part, I now have another unit I might one day convert into a house 🙂 .