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Building Traditional Style Houses - An Interview with Colfetters

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avatar LightlySaltedBuilder
Level 36 : Artisan Architect
76
About 7 months ago, I made a blog about how to build a good city. Since it is my most popular blog, and I feel there is a lack of detailed or quality blogs on building, I'm going to be doing a mini-series which covers different parts of building a city, like skyscrapers, shops, landscaping, and the topic of this blog: houses! This blog will be covering specifically suburban/traditional houses, modern houses will be covered in a future blog.

However, I'm not really the best at all these types of building, especially traditional houses. So, I got together with Colfetters, a great builder of traditional styled houses, and had him share his tips for building them! He even got interviewed on Minecraft.net, so you can be sure that's he's an awesome builder. Here's some pictures of some of his work on PMC:
Spoiler - click to reveal



This blog will be interview styled, with me asking him questions, and him answering them. Any of my comments will be in my currently favorite color: Cyan blue



1. Where do you get your inspiration/designs from?

Most of my inspiration comes from real-life. I drive alot and I see a lot of suburban style houses. Where I live there is a lot of new suburban housing being built and so I get to see a lot of different designs. When I get the urge to build a suburban house I try to recall a house I have seen but I often turn to the internet to look for pictures or house plans. I also get a lot of inspiration and tips from other builders, especially “let’s builds” on youtube from folks like Keralis, and Andyisyoda. Tutorials are OK but you might spend too much time just trying to follow along and copy rather than learning the natural process they go through and the thought and strategies they use.
Yes, especially look at details, what makes a house look the way it does. Before I used to never be able to recreate anything I saw in real life because I never looked at the details and designs.

2. What do you think is important to avoid when building suburban/traditional houses?

In no particular order...

Winging it. Have a plan. Whether it’s a picture or a floor plan have some idea of what your build should look like before you start.

This is an important one, every single time I try to wing it, I'm never satisfied with the house I make.

Connected Vertical textures. This is a killer. They just don’t look right and can quickly ruin an otherwise good house. Sometimes they cannot be avoided but you should always do everything possible to hide them. Use corners and depth to try to avoid vertical connected textures.

Building your house level with the ground. A common mistake is to make the floor the same level as the ground. Think about every house you’ve ever walked into. You have to step up to get into it. Also most houses have some sort of exposed concrete or stone foundation above the ground. Make your foundation out of stone or cobble and make sure your floors are at least one block above the ground level. If your garage is on ground level (which they often are) make sure to have a step up into the rest of the house.

Wrong Scale. This can be a tough one. One thing I have learned is to start your house with something you can use to judge scale. I like to start with the garage. Typical minecraft cars are 3 blocks wide, so I make my garage doors 3-5 blocks wide to represent a single-wide garage door. As I build the rest of the house I compare it to the size of the garage to make sure it all matches up.

Too much detail. Detail is important but don’t overdo it. I see a lot of house exteriors with so many architectural details it starts to look like a gothic cathedral instead of an everyday suburban house.

Messy Landscaping. Don’t just spam the bonemeal and leaf blocks. Have a plan. Pick one or two flowers and stick with them. Too many different flowers or grass types can really end up looking bad.
Agreed, having a plan for a yard or lawn is always a good idea, and definetely don't leave it blank, have at least some decor or plants, or at least stripe it with a green block to give it a clean look.

Even numbers. They just don’t usually work out. Always make your builds using odd numbers, 7x11 or 25x15 for example. Trust me things will work out sooo much better.

Also, don't leave your roof without some kind of frame, usually quartz works well. Make sure it overhangs and has an upside down stair block so that it truly connects, not just at the corners. (Look at the cover photo for example)


3. How do you start your builds?

I usually start with a picture or a floor plan. As I said before I start with the garage so I have a sense of scale. I then create an outline of the house. If I’m not using a floor plan I make sure that I plan out all of the first floor rooms, halls, stairways before I move on. Then I fill in the ground level floors, and then build up the walls. I start by making plain interior walls that are 5-6 blocks high for a typical room. Then I add the ceiling (different block than the walls). If there is more than one floor repeat the process.


4. What can be done to improve a bad house?

Use corners and depth to try to avoid vertical connected textures.

Remove excess detail.

Add depth. It's the most basic thing to improving your builds, it's impossible to have a nice house without it.

If all of your walls are the same color try creating an accent wall that have a different color than the others, but make sure to avoid connected textures.

Hide lighting under carpets, plants, or behind paintings to brighten things up.

You can also use lamps made from a fence pole and glowstone surrounded by trapdoors, and chandeliers look amazing for open areas with higher roofs.


Pick a color or block palette and stick with it. Too many different colors and textures can look messy

Try a texture pack designed for modern/traditional builds, a great one to start with is FlowsHD Revival.

Flows HD is one of my personal favorite resource packs. Also, I'd like to add that something I've noticed is that most nice houses have some central wall or area that everything kind of compliments. It's usually centered in the front of the build, and is the highest point (at least in the front), and sometimes the farthest forward too.

Also, another thing for exterior that is in a lot of Colfetter's builds is that the window have frames, ledges, or some kind of detail to make them stick out. It looks really nice, though it requires the proper scale so it won't take up the whole wall.



5. What tips can you give for making nice interiors?

Ceilings and walls should be a different color, if you use white wool for walls use snow for the ceilings.

Use stair blocks and glass above doors to give them a bit more height and interest, otherwise they look tiny with a 5-6 block wall.

Be realistic. Roleplay to the max. Imagine this is a real house. What rooms might be missing? Do you have closets? Laundry room? Basement? Does the layout make sense, or are forced to walk through a bedroom to get to the kitchen?

Detail is important but don’t overdo it. Just like in real life too much clutter looks, well, cluttered.

Use tile-like blocks for a kitchen wall backsplash, most real houses have these.

Depending on your texture pack find blocks that look like kitchen cabinets and appliances. If all else fails quartz makes good fridges, washing machines, and dishwashers.

Another option for cabinets is item frames with carpets or trapdoors in them, rotated to the correct position. It works really well and looks great if you aren't fortunate enough to have a resource pack with cabinets in it.


If your ceilings are high enough use wood slabs to create crown moulding in important rooms.

This is something I used to do alot, though now tend to forget. It really improves the look of a room, as long as the ceiling's high enough.

Lastly I would say, like anything, you need to practice. You should also do your research. Look at pictures of houses, identify what kinds of shapes and themes show up in most houses. Look at how real houses are arranged and built. Find videos of other builders that you like doing “let’s builds”, you’ll be amazed at what you can learn from their experience.


That's it for now. I hope this helped you out, I'm going to go build myself a house just to try these out! Make sure to go check out Colfetters, he's got some great builds that you should see. Also, since I'm not a complete expert, A lot of the other blogs that I make will be like this, however some might be more like a collaboration than an interview. Building houses is one of my weak points, so I wanted Colfetter's to lead the way, he's the expert here.

Hope you enjoyed!

Other blogs in the series (Will be updated as more come out.)
CreditColfetter's for letting me interview him for this blog.
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Also, if you want to be interviewed for one of these, then PM me with what your good at building and some pictures of your builds. I already have two people for skyscrapers and modern houses. Looking for people for: Landscaping/Greenery, Vehicles, Non-house interiors (Like for skyscrapers, shops, and offices), Shops and businesses, traditional/1920's architecture, or some other type I forgot.

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