Tiger Mountain, WA, by benet2006, is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The house on Tiger Mountain

My book family buys a run-down old farmhouse at the end of book 3 (Rhythm & Rhyme) on Tiger Mountain, east of Seattle. It’s on five acres of land backing on to a state forest, and is hidden behind a stone wall.

This house becomes a character in its own right in the series, so I spent some time imagining it, drawing the plans, and eventually mocking up a view from the front. The house is eccentric, which in this case is another way of saying *ugly*, built in stages over the years.

I think I have a slight obsession with houses. We grew up with huge drawerfuls of Lego, and all I ever made with Lego was houses. I didn’t play with the houses. I just made them. The three most fun parts about making Lego houses were:

  1. Making the house (or caravan) as small as possible, trying to fit in every essential piece of furniture.
  2. Making the house as a big and impressive as possible and hoping there were enough bricks to finish it.
  3. Looking through the windows after adding the roof.

This last one was important. When you’re constructing a tiny Lego house, you’re essentially working in “plan view”, looking down on it as you sit on the floor amid a pile of Lego bricks. So to get that 3D view at the end, to actually imagine yourself in the rooms, you need to look through the windows.

Here’s my mock-up of the house on Tiger Mountain after all four siblings have moved in and shuffled into their final bedrooms. I warned you it was ugly! Swipe (or use the little dots under the image) to see the rooms labeled. (Caleb and Wynter swap rooms and Jesse takes the tower soon after moving in, while Indio later claims the extension at the back.)

The original clapboard farmhouse has a newer extension out the back, and the infamous tower that was scheduled for demolition. There is a long deck running along the other side of the extension (not seen in this pic).

Missing from this picture (because it's well behind the camera) is the front wall and private lane leading to the front door; the rickety carports attached to the house on the concrete area, because Caleb pulls them down pretty quickly; and a couple more sheds in the fields.

Plan view

Here's the plan view about 18 months after they've all moved in (furniture is just representative, not necessarily exactly right). Jesse has taken over the tower. Indio uses his second bedroom as a studio. The basement has become a recording and rehearsal studio and den, along with a couple of small bedrooms and sunken garden.

Shown here is the first floor (what we call the “ground floor” in the UK and Australia) of the house on the right, with the basement on the left slotting underneath, and the second floor on the left fitting directly on top.

This gives you an idea of what the deck looks like, as it isn’t visible in the above images.


Lego houses are my first love, but my second love is building digital houses with the Sims! I used to satisfy my house-building fetish with the Sims years ago because all my childhood Lego was at my parents’ place. Then I purchased The Sims 3 and built the house on Tiger Mountain.

As with Lego, I love building Sims houses but I don't enjoy the game itself. It lets me build a fairly realistic 3D model of the house and walk through each room, which is what I've done for the house on Tiger Mountain house.

Please understand I have a non-functional sense of aesthetics when it comes to house decor, and especially in creating an appealing exterior view with this program, so I did the best I could. Due to limitations of the game, the rooms aren't exactly the same as the plans above but they match approximately.