Editor’s Note: This is the first of many posts from our newest Team Member, Julia LionFlower. You may know her from her Duelist Blog and she’s kindly accepted our invitation to write for us. We hope you enjoy this, and the many more posts to come!
Hello all! My name is Julia Lionflower- you can call me Lion -and I’ve just joined the AoS team! I can’t wait to start sharing
probably far more than is necessary tips on everything from Pets to PvP Etiquette with you! Today, though, we’re going to be talking housing, specifically my passionate love for kitchens how to design and decorate your very own kitchen in Wizard101.
For those of you who don’t know me, those who do all agree that I am absolutely nuts about housing. There isn’t a more relaxing experience for me and I spend a great deal of my time in-game working on whatever new project has struck me
(it’s probably excessive and I’m not ashamed). However, while I enjoy all elements of decorating the kitchen is actually my absolute favorite part of decorating a new house. In fact, it’s usually the very first thing that I do. “But Lion, our wizards can’t eat…a kitchen is totally pointless.” It’s true, however, I’ve always felt that:
- Kitchens are the heart of a home and as such a home is incomplete without one
- They’re fun to decorate and can be incredibly intricate and unique, complete with animated parts
- They can look spectacular!
So, with this post I’m going to share some tips and tricks and take you through my kitchen design process. Hopefully I’ll inspire those who have never tried to decorate a kitchen of their own, provide help for anyone that’s tried to design one and stalled, and give seasoned kitchen veterans a chance to swap notes! So, let’s start at the
very beginning a very good place to start…lol let me know if any of you get that reference…
*Note: I’m going to be mentioning some principles discussed in “The Elements of Decorating” which is an article that talks all about decorating your home and how to get started. Be sure and take a peek at it if you’re new to housing!
*Note #2: It should be noted that this article was written in its majority before House-A-Palooza, and thus doesn’t account for the new packs. However, that’s ok, because hopefully this article will inspire you to jump in-game and test them out for yourself!
Know Your Vendors
Now, you may be wondering, “why doesn’t ‘planning’ come first on this list?” and that would be a totally valid question. The answer is simple: you can’t plan anything without having at least a basic idea of what you have to work with. A common misconception- at least from what I’ve seen -is that there aren’t many options available in terms of “kitchen-y” housing items. However, that is the opposite of the truth! KingsIsle has simply outdone themselves in the creation of items to design and decorate your kitchen, especially with the introduction of furniture sets. You just have to know where to look! These are my favorite spots to find housing items made specifically for a kitchen:
Torald Wayfinder | Grizzleheim Recipe Vendor
My main “man” Torald is a huge resource for all things kitchen. He sells recipes for tables, chairs, cabinets, shelving, and food! Some of my absolute favorite items come from his selection of recipes, including the ingredient shelf, jars of mandrake and mushrooms (that actually go with the shelf!), and the pot of soup. These recipes can be challenging, but the payoff in terms of unique decorating opportunities is huge!
Furniture Packs | Crowns Shop
The introduction of furniture sets a few years ago revolutionized kitchen building. What you’re looking for are the “Set 2″s which always have a working kitchen sink. Another great thing that comes from three of these sets are the cooking hearths: Mooshu and Khrysalis both have working furniture pieces that have to do with food and Grizzleheim has a table with a hearth in the center. There’s a pack to suit almost every world, room size, or possible theme. Sometimes it will take some trial and error with these but I’ve found tons of use for them. My favorite set to use for kitchens is the Zafarian Furniture Set 2. It should also definitely be noted that you can buy these for gold!
Of course, there’s always the bazaar. You can find some really interesting things in here that are rare, in addition to some great common bazaar finds, such as baskets of fish and fruit. This is also the place to find tables and alternative shelving solutions such as the Tall Wooden Shelf (I say alternative for a reason- more on that later). I tend to just park myself in the bazaar for
a long, long, long, long timeand refresh the decor and furniture tabs hunting for interesting items.
- Omen Stribog | I know this sounds strange, but it’s totally worth the mention. Omen drops a furniture set that’s made of ice! The perfect addition to any Polarian shipwreck’s kitchen!
(Frozen galley anyone? I’d totally do it if I had a wreck of my own.)This icy set- the “Lydia” set -is gorgeously designed and actually quite unique in that the sinks work exactly the way you’d expect them to… *insert sly wink here*
(*Note: This is confirmed to be the same furniture as featured in the Ice school furniture pack! Free drops are always nice though and it’s a great option if you happen to be farming Omen already!)
The planning stage is an integral part of decorating any home. While this may seem extremely dry to some, trust me when I say that it doesn’t need to be. All it is is using your imagination- something those in the Wizard101 community have plenty of -and choosing a path to follow with your decorating. It’s a huge time saver and it really applies to every part of a home, not just the kitchen. The biggest benefit from planning a little is that it helps prevent stalling in the middle of the project. Pick a theme! Create a story! And run with it! You’ll thank me later!
Quick tips | Theme ideas!
- Witch’s kitchen
- Servant’s Kitchen (a la Downton Abbey)
- Cottage Kitchen
However, an interesting thing about kitchens is that they don’t necessarily need to match the theme of the rest of the house. Never be afraid to shoot for realism with a kitchen project. Realistically the kitchen is a place for messes and traditionally in castles the kitchen wasn’t seen at all by anyone but the servants. This isn’t the kind of place where you’d want to display your best furniture or decorations. In addition, seriously considering how kitchens work in reality really helps when you’re having issues with layout.
For example, shooting for an earthy kitchen when your home’s theme is something different is almost always in the realm of possibilities. Case in point: My kitchen in my Watchtower Hall (scroll back up if you want to see it!). I wanted a room that was very earthy and lend a rustic, home-made vibe to the hall. To add a tie in to the rest of the house I chose the Pitch-sealed Log Wallpaper from Grizzleheim. This is an important part of creating an off-theme kitchen. By adding a link to the rest of the house you keep your room from looking totally disjointed. I then used the Zafarian Stone Floor and added in the Zafarian Sink. That was really all it took to create the feel I wanted!
Setting Up | Layout
I always spend a lot of time moving things around when setting up a new kitchen
probably way more than I should. Generally I like to keep my sink in the center of whatever wall I’m using and build around that, however, sometimes that’s not a possibility, as in the Treetop Getaway kitchen at the top of this post. I think one of the most important things to remember is to work with the space that you have, hence the moving items around. I’ve completed entire kitchen layouts before only to scrap the entire thing because it doesn’t feel right.
I’m a big fan of having prep space and having an island
for all the food preparation my characters will do, of course. I usually simply use tables to fulfill these purposes- usually the Darkmoor Dining Table due to its versatility (lots of spaces to put things on it, easy to glitch and move, etc.)
Quick Tips | Important Island Notes
- Usually the island is centered in the kitchen but doesn’t extend too far out into the room. It should feel connected to the rest of your counters, instead of floating in nothingness. Don’t be afraid to look at real kitchens for clarification!
- It’s important to keep in mind the amount of space a character needs to move around when installing an “island.” Be careful of unintentionally making a space where people can get stuck!
- Another downside to making the area between the island and your sink too small is that you make it hard for someone to utilize the fun feature of being able to turn on the kitchen sink (should you be using furniture packs).
My all time favorite shelving solution is the Ornate Shelving. It’s more interesting to look at than the plain bookshelf and provides shelving space for all of the decorations I want to appear are in storage. I usually use two: one for kitchenware and the other for jars.
Quick Tips | My Favorite Furniture/Wall Hangings in No Particular Order
- Zafarian Sink | Furniture Pack
- Avalonian Sink | Furniture Pack
- Ingredient Shelf | Recipe – Torld Wayfinder
- Darkmoor Dining Table | Bazaar, Terror’s Hoard Pack
- Ornate Shelving | Bazaar
- Aztecan Scaffolding | Recipe – Cantares Five Flowers
- Tall Wooden Shelf/Rough Wooden Shelf | Bazaar
- Kitchenware Pots | Recipe – Torald Wayfinder
- Herb Shelf | Bazaar
- Large Mixing Table | Recipe – Torald Wayfinder
- MooShu Cooking Hearth | Furniture Pack | Awesome looking, but very situational
- Any of “Lydia’s” Furniture Set/Ice School Furniture Pack | Omen Stribog | Again, awesome, but situational
Setting Up | Glitching
It’s important to have a working knowledge of glitching if you want to be serious about decorating a house. I am very particular about having the furniture right up against the wall and to have kitchen counters and prep tables that are next to each other at the same level
that’s the OCD talking. This requires me to do some very basic glitching to move my furniture items flush to the wall.
Quick Tips | Basic Glitching Needs
- Tatami Mats (I usually carry 5)
- Multi-sized Rugs (I carry a bunch of different kinds)
- Crates (I carry 10)
*Note: there are so many resources out there to help you learn how to glitch if you don’t know how! My top two resource picks would probably be Paige’s Page and Wizard101 Central’s housing section!
Set Up/Detailing | Creating Levels
“Creating Levels” is a super important step that should occur throughout your kitchen design process. It actually relates to both set up and adding details
which gave me some trouble when I chose where to put this section of the guide. Having different levels in your kitchen creates visual interest and as a result makes it more aesthetically appealing. You can use a variety of furniture items to achieve this- shelving, tables, boxes, pedestals, etc, -but you can also use items themselves by placing small items next to larger ones. For example, fish baskets are larger than bowls of dates, put them next to each other and bam: variation in levels. Of course, never be afraid to simply put an item on the floor as opposed to putting it on furniture.
The best results come from mixing these solutions together. In the kitchen the easiest way to do that is to simply create a “pantry” or a storage area.
Quick Tips | How to Create a Storage Area
- Buy a bunch of different food related items- e.g. basket of fish, basket of tomatoes, apple basket, trio of sacks.
- Find an area close to your kitchen, but not in the way of it and arrange your items. Be sure not to put items of the same size next to each other too often. Oftentimes I’ll do this right next to the shelves where I’m “storing” items in jars.
- In addition to putting items on the floor, utilize your boxes as decorations as opposed to glitching staples and stack items on top of them. Don’t forget to let your box’s labels show!
All the Details
Personally whenever I design a kitchen I want it to look like it’s used. Remember when I mentioned that the kitchen is the heart of your home? I always want my kitchen to have character and its own unique elements. Give your kitchen some life! This is where the principles of variation and repetition come into play in a big, big way.
Unfortunately that’s about all the advice I can give. Adding details is a huge, very important part of creating your kitchen…but I can’t exactly tell you how to do it. It’s a very organic thing that will come with whatever direction you’ve decided to head in and what your layout looks like. Only you know how much stuff you want in your kitchen. Basically, follow your instincts and don’t over-do it. You’ll know when you’re done.
What I can do, though, is give you some ideas of what to use to decorate! These are the different items I use the most when filling my kitchens with decor:
In every kitchen I design I love to add jars of different kinds because Wizard101 actually has quite a few different variations. I usually use brain, eye, and bat wing jars first and I pack them onto shelves to imply that they’re being stored. I then mix in more rare/hard to craft jars, like the tooth jar or the mandrake jar. If you look closely at all of the kitchen screenshots I’ve included, you’ll notice
my jar hoarding many uses for jars!
Baskets & Bowls of Ingredients
I also love to add baskets or bowls of ingredients to every kitchen I create. Honestly, they’re an integral part of completing any kitchen. They work so perfectly here and it’d be a crime not to utilize them. Like with jars there are many different types of ingredient bowls/baskets. The bazaar will be your #1 resource for all of these. I typically have multiple copies of several types of these and put some of them in “storage” in my pantry area and some of them closer to the kitchen itself
Kitchenware like bowls, plates, and mugs are almost a must-have for any kitchen. You can get plates from Thorlief Woodcrafter in Grizzleheim, steins or mugs from the bazaar, and bowls from the bazaar. My favorite bowls are probably the Krokotopian “Painted Bowls” because they’re small.
Interactive & Animated Items
I count having interactive and animated items as details and I love to include at least a few of these pieces. The Breakfast Pan, Lion Cauldron, Pot of Soup, and- of course -any interactive sink are my favorites. Though, I’m incredibly intrigued by the recently introduced house-NPCs and I’m curious to see if I can find an application for them. The Chopping Sand Crawler would be a very tempting add to any Khrysalis themed kitchen!
Quick Tips | My Favorite Decorations
- Breakfast Pan | Bazaar, Raven’s Hoard Pack
- Basket of Eggs, Fish Basket, Apple Basket, Tomato Basket, Orange Basket, etc. etc. all the ingredient baskets | Bazaar
- Empty Jar, Jar of Batwings, Jar of Mushrooms, Jar of Mandrake, Jar of Candy Canes, Jar of Peppermints | Bazaar, Recipe – Torald Wayfinder, Winterland Pack
- Dinner Plate | Thorlief Woodcrafter, Bazaar
- Stein |Bazaar
- Stoppered Jar | Thorlief Woodcrafter
- Pot of Soup | Recipe – Torald Wayfinder
- Bowl of Dates, Bowl of Lettuce, Bowl of Tomatoes | Bazaar
- Round of Cheese | Crowns Shop
- Halloween Cauldron, Bubbling Cauldron, Lion Cauldron | Nightmare Pack, Harrowing Nightmare Pack, Emperor’s Attic, Bazaar
- Coconut Drink | Recipe – Gearwise | Super cute, but kind of situational
Like I said, you’ll probably know when you’ve finished your kitchen. I usually shoot for the fine line between
cluttered an every day kitchen and organized a chef’s kitchen (unless I am specifically going for either one, as in the case of the chef’s kitchen in the photo above).
When you feel you’ve come to a good stopping place, take some time and work on the rest of your house, but don’t forget about your kitchen. Oftentimes I’ll find that I’ll come back to the kitchen to add or subtract items or return to a stalled kitchen after taking a break. I’ve only ever completely dismantled a “completed” kitchen once before and it was for my Treetop Getaway. I was stalled on the rest of the project, but I had gone all the way through the kitchen, glitches and all. Then I realized I wanted to take the house in a totally different direction. In the end, though, I was incredibly pleased with my result and the house as a whole became better for it.
Hopefully all of this information was helpful and didn’t overwhelm you! I didn’t realize when I started to write this how much I had to say about it! Of the 9 houses I own, I’ve designed kitchens in 4 of them and have plans to do the rest. Even after all those kitchens, though, I feel that I’m still learning and improving my technique.
Quick Tips | Don’t Be Afraid
- Don’t be afraid to do some research/gather inspiration.
- Never be afraid to shoot for realism.
- Don’t be afraid to lose your cool (though that probably means you’re due for a break).
- Don’t be afraid if it’s slow going (my kitchens alone can take anywhere from a week to several weeks to complete
…maybe that’s because I’m a perfectionist?)
- Never be afraid to take a break and come back to it.
- Don’t be afraid to start over (but try to avoid this).
Kitchens aside, if you’ve ever thought about taking some time off and decorating your house I urge you to give it a shot! Maybe you’ll find that you love it as much as I do!
Do let me know if you have any questions or if this inspires you to try designing a kitchen of your own!