This week, I had the privilege of visiting another of Ashen Bride’s builds on Famfrit: a lovely, modern, farmhouse-style home with a bit of a somber undertone. From the outside we see a beautiful garden, overflowing with flora and two main water features: a small, rocky pond to the right, and a “shishi odoshi” tapping gently to our left.
Upon entering the home, we can see that Ashen has completely redesigned the entirety of the interior from the sectioned walls to the beautifully constructed fake ceiling. As we step across the threshold and into the small kitchen, the first thing to notice is the lack of music. Only the faint song of a roaring storm and heavy showers are heard throughout the rooms. Immediately, you get this feeling of a heavy weight in your gut. I spoke with Ashen very briefly on Reddit, and can confirm that she wished to convey a build that was a bit more somber in nature, a reflection of this past year. However, I didn’t expect to lose myself so thoroughly in the symbolism of it all.
I saw myself in a lot of this build. I saw my apartment, my hopelessness, and the many stormy nights I’ve spent curled up in bed with my cat wondering what tomorrow would hold. The dishes floating gently in a sink of water whilst they cast a marbled reflection on the wall were the first feature to make me stop and contemplate these things. It’s such a simple touch, but a meaningful one. Long days spent at a stressful job, only to come home and not have the energy to put away the small meal you managed to cook. The gentle lighting of the home added so much depth and weight to this theme. It felt like I was walking through a visual narrative.
One of my favorite things about visiting Ashen’s homes is taking in all of the incredible details she manages to work into her builds. Everything just feels purposeful and lived-in. Glitching furniture and placing items just right takes a lot of time, so it makes sense to note that every item would have a purpose, but it’s more than that. She manages to capture an element of realism that is incredibly difficult to transfer into a video game.
The living space with a sofa, stormy windows, and small table are a wonderful example of this. She could have easily packed the room with tons of extra plants or decorations, but instead let the space speak for itself. A light dinner and an open book lie on the moderate table, with small gift boxes underneath to add another layer to the story.
While I fell in love with the entire home, the bedroom is probably my favorite room. Ashen has made use of the new angled walls to build out a more organic room shape. There’s something so familiar and comforting about its setup that really resonated with me. Again, we’re greeted with tall, rainy windows and a dim atmosphere when we first step into the room. The framing doors are actually fake, artfully constructed out of other items and decor pieces.
I’ve spent so much time in my own bedroom these past few months that I’ve almost forgotten what it was like to go outside some days. Pausing in this room reminded me somewhat of that. It’s so easy to get lost inside our own darkened rooms, and forget that there’s a whole world outside when things seem so bleak. Even the desk beside the bed, with a phone charging drew my eye and added life to the scene. Though dark, it feels like home. I wish I could collapse into the soft linens and curl up with a good book to watch the downpour outside after a long day of work. I definitely overstayed my welcome, breathing in the long silence accompanied by the storm ambience. I felt it only fitting to pause for a few moments before leaving, stopping in the kitchen to take a deep breath and remember all that we’ve been through this year, and everything that we have to be thankful for.
A big hug and thanks to Ashen Bride for letting me in to tour her home this week! She has put so much love into this project, and constructed such a creative and moving build. I don’t think any amount of pictures or video footage I take could really do it enough justice. If you’re interested in seeing her portfolio with more pictures from this build and others, you can find her here as well as on Twitter. We’re almost through 2020, folks. Though it seems like this year has stretched on forever, we’re starting to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.