Sleek and moody concrete abode

Back when I was doing National Decorating Month in April, I decided one thing I wanted to share lots of was some of my own designs in Final Fantasy XIV.

It was a little bit because I figured, you know, that’s what you do for a decorating month. But it was also really just because I went through a phase a while back where I got bored with everything I built—so I just kept building and ended up with quite the backlog!

As I was going through my wannabe-HGTV-host phase, I kept finding myself experimenting with new styles and techniques. I also went through far, far too deep of a rabbit hole on Pinterest hunting for fresh inspiration—especially any real builds that I thought I could translate into the game.

It’s harder than you’d think, honestly. But that’s what makes it a fun challenge.

And this build was one of those designs.

The inspiration

I’m a sucker for a kitchen in FFXIV. When they’re done well, they look effortless—but you never realize just how many slots in a house a designer has given up to make the kitchen look that way.

Originally, when I saw this real-life kitchen on Pinterest, I was intrigued by the idea of making the little cutaway shelf with a built-in wine rack.

The longer I looked at the overall design, though, the more I realized I could probably make it happen without soaking up all of my slots.

All in all, I think this kitchen took up about 60 slots by the time it was done. So not exactly gentle on my overall count, but also not the most slot-intensive kitchen I’ve ever built!

The other interesting aspect of this design was that it’s actually an Instagram gallery post that features multiple shots of the real home. That gave me some ideas to make the rest of the build match what was originally just a kitchen idea!

The ceiling

Those familiar with my builds know that I pretty much exclusively gravitate to flooring mats for my lowered ceilings. I can’t help it; I love the texture and reflectivity they have!

But for this build, my inspiration had a very specific look that flooring mats just weren’t going to be able to achieve. At first, I was a little stumped about what I could use—but then I remembered reading about how people also used the undersides of bathroom floor tiles for ceilings.

It turned out really well, if a little darker than I was thinking, and the texture gave me some ideas for other builds too!

It also freed me up to experiment with other ways to make my ceilings visually interesting, which is how I ended up with what is actually the very bottoms of a bunch of marble alcove beds as bases for track lighting.

The power of aquariums

I experimented with probably five or six different designs for the windows in this build before I landed where I did. Though I’ve never really built with aquariums like this before, I’ve seen it done really well—and despite their simplicity, I thought these windows complemented the aesthetic of the build overall.

One thing I did learn through this process, though, is a pro tip I’ll share with my fellow builders: Your aquarium setting matters!

Whether your aquarium is set to fresh or salt water makes a difference in the colours of the aquarium, which will affect what your window looks like. Fresh seems to give a little bit of a warmer, greenish tone, where salt gave these windows their pure blue look.