Here's sort of a quick link guide to the Top 12 places. I hope it's been useful -- I really, truly appreciate the great comments received here and in-world, and it's been absolutely delightful to speak with several of the designers that were spotlighted in the list. I'm going to add a link over to the right of the page so that this post can be easily accessed going forward, and I really do hope it can be considered a toolkit of sorts for folks who are ready to claim their own second space!


Part 1: Barnesworth Anubis Pre-Fab[ulous] Homes & Furniture [blog post]

Part 2: The Black Spot Shipyard [blog post]


Part 3: The Loft [blog post]

Part 4: Mezzanine [blog post]

Part 5: Del Sol Furniture [blog post]

Part 6: Rustica Home Furnishings [blog post]

Part 7: Ramos Designs Furniture [blog post]


Part 8: Heart Garden Centre [blog post]

Part 9: Botanical [blog spot]


Part 10: CAS [blog post]

Part 11: Avenue Four [blog post]

Part 12: Shade Fantasy Outfitters [blog post]

Thanks again to all for the positive feedback on this series. Stay tuned -- I've got more evil plots that I'm hatching and plan to unleash on the world - you don't wanna miss that! In the meantime, I'm going to try my best to resume regularly blogging; I have a few places I was contacted to review, so I want to be sure to get those taken care of first. Hope you'll check back often!

Welcome to Part 12 of my Top 12! Need some background on what this list is all about? Click here for the original post.

I'm just going to jump into this one today -- let's talk about Shade Fantasy Outfitters by Ashade Sinister. I just found and blogged Shade Fantasy back in April, and it immediately jumped into my Top 12. I've sent no less than 12 friends to the sim, directed probably as many to my blog to see the pictures, and find myself strolling through there every few weeks. It's also an amazing build, and so detailed in its details (just go with me on that one) that I always find something I didn't see the last time. As I mentioned in my original blog post, everything here appears to be very medieval and/or Gorean themed, but do not let that stop you! 1) it's still an awesome exploration, and 2) a lot of what you'll find here can be useful in any setting. For example:

Sculpted Beehive: this is so cute -- I've got to go back and pick one up for the sim. This would be awesome to tuck into a tree or under an eave -- the bees circle, there's a buzzing sound, and if someone clicks the hive for 10 seconds, a swarm of bees surrounds them. NOTHING attracts traffic to a sim like swarming bees! It's been scientifically proven!

Pitch Tent set: I'm not a camping kind of gal - but I do love this set. This would be perfect in a wooded sim -- is there camping in SL? I need to know...

Firefly Light Posts: These. Are. Precious. Little jars of fireflies, all aglow. I would love to have a few of these on my beach - I'm sure they look amazing at sunset or midnight. In the background, I'm parked on the Sculpted Rickety Swing, which includes a boy/girl cuddle pose. I had no boy. I can't pass up a good swing, though!

Woodcutter's Block: Ok, this should inspire fear -- Elle with an axe. And, of course, the picture makes it look like I've just come running from the other side of the room to split the wood...which I did not. :) It's a really cute animation, and the wood actually does split after 10 chops or so. I think chores are important in SL -- builds character.

Veggie Patch: See, more chores, good for the soul! If you've ever had to dig for potatoes, as I did in my childhood summers spent in North Carolina, then you know the level of dirty associated with the task. The SL way is much more pleasant. Look - my shirt is still clean!

Kissing Bales: Ok, these are a must have if your land includes a rural-looking space or a barn...or hell, this is SL -- put these on your beach house deck! Again, I had no boy to play with, so the kissing is a bit one-sided...I need a blogging assistant. Still, so cute!

Get over to Shade Fantasy Outfitters and play! Oh, and buy stuff! You need it all!

This concludes our Top 12 -- I'll post a recap and consolidated link list in the next day or two. This has been a blast!

Welcome to Part 11 of my Top 12! Need some background on what this list is all about? Click here for the original post.

Hello again! Today we're going to continue with accessories - specifically, lighting. I'm one to keep my world on Midday 99% of the time, but I still like to have appropriate lamps and lighting just to make a space feel like it should. You can find lighting everywhere, and a lot of the furniture shops you'll find have lamps to coordinate with their furniture sets, which is always great. For general lighting - meaning lamps that could work anywhere and aren't specific to a furniture set - my favorite place is Avenue Four by Luna Benavente. She makes the cutest light bulbs -- zoom in close!

It's a nice shop, well laid-out, and Avenue Four has cute furniture, too. For this post, I'm focusing on the lights. Oohh...the lights. My favorites are the Twinkle Stick lights. I bought these over a year ago when I set up my house, and I've also used them in the club. Most of Avenue Four's lights come in really large packs including slightly different variations, lengths, etc. The Twinkle Stick lights are wonderful for grouping, as in the pic below, and great for individual placement to highlight certain spots, like columns or entrances, or even to frame a window.

On this visit to Avenue Four, I noticed the One Night In Bangkok set which includes this lovely and nicely textured lamp. I'm a sucker for anything that looks lacquered.

The Retro Chic lamps come in several colors to match the corresponding living room sets, and really, they're a style that would work anywhere: great for a dining area -- group a few together for an entrance, giving a chandelier-like effect -- buy a few and send them to me -- really, the possibilities are endless. :)

The last picture I'll share is the Brady Chrome Light. This is the sort of light I love in RL - it's industrial, but not too much. It would fit in a traditional house as easily as in a warehouse loft - and really works in any room. I especially like this look in a kitchen, that's just a preference -- it really does work anywhere.

Ok, there's the tease. :) We all need lighting - YOU need lighting -- so get over to Avenue Four and check it out. The lighting is, of course, displayed throughout the store, and there is a Lighting corner on the 2nd level where you can pick up the big packs o' light. Luna also has some really cute string lights that are just adorable for outdoor spaces, too, and you'll see those displayed, as well. [Insert some light-related cliche' here, perhaps relating to the end of a tunnel?] Enjoy!

Welcome to Part 10 of my Top 12! Need some background on what this list is all about? Click here for the original post.

Tchotchkes. Knick knacks. Accessories. Stuff. Whatever you call it, it's the little things that make a house a home, in my opinion. I've mentioned it in other posts, too -- I just love the little things available in SL that can add character...and, I guess, 'depth' works, your space. Our last 3 posts in the Top 12 will focus on stuff like that. :)

I love scripted food items in SL. I just do. Few things bring me more glee than offering someone a beer or cocktail and a s'more when they come to my SL house. If you want fun food, then you have to go to CAS. Casandra Jackson is the prolific designer behind CAS, and she has everything you could possibly want.

In that colosseum of goodness you see above, you'll find appetizers, main courses, desserts, wines, champagnes, liquors and liqueurs (which is right?), candy, chocolates, boxes of cigars, scripted kitchen items like pots, pans, kettles, ice buckets, and more more more. Here are some of my favorite goodies.

Just in time for July 4th, for my American readers, it's time for grillin'! The steak grill below gives out a complete steak dinner AND a fork.

There are probably about 20 different serving trays with AOs built in that would be perfect for a hosted event or party, and I'm seriously trying to think of a club event where I could have my dancers all working the room with trays held high. ;) This one is the Drive In Tray and serves cheeseburgers, fries, and sodas.

This ice cream hut is precious -- it comes with poseball for 'working' the counter, and it dispenses your choice of 6 different flavors of ice cream cones. Mmmmm....

On this trip to CAS, I found the lunch boxes. I love lunch boxes. In elementary school, it was always very important for me to have the coolest, most brand-recognizable lunch box. So, clearly, Scooby Doo is the way to go now.

The coolest thing at CAS are her dining tables. There's a great variety of styles, and they all come with scripted chairs that offer a few basic sit anims, dining anims, as well as anims for writing a check and using a laptop. It just makes me giggle. :) Casandra also has Ultimate Meal Placemats; include these on your table and they offer 36 different plates of food. The NapkinGlasses give you all the tableware you need, including chopsticks for your sushi lunch:

It's this sort of thing that makes me want to open a SL restaurant. Get over to CAS and find some fun food for your place -- it's great for special events at your club, too, when you want to give out drinks or appetizers to your guests. Bon Appetit!

Welcome to Part 9 of my Top 12! Need some background on what this list is all about? Click here for the original post.

Hello, dear readers! Today we continue landscaping with Botanical, by Kriss Lehmann. Botanical and Heart Garden are truly the two places I send anyone who says 'hey, where can i get some plants?'. Botanical is another place you must visit as much for the sim itself as for the product. When you go, explore everywhere. Every. Where. You won't be complete until you do.

That's sculpted water I'm sitting beside, and it's amazing. The water, and the ground covers, and the pathway texture, and the sunbeam, and I'm pretty sure also the rocks, are ALL available for purchase. Of course, Botanical has trees, and they are awesome. The majority of them are quite prim heavy -- and worth every prim! -- but if you're limited in your prim allowance, then the trees may not be for you. There are a million other things here that you'll want, though.

Japanese Red Maple, Emerald Forest Tree, Japanese Orange Maple:

"Sunbeams, Elle? Really?" Yep! This is the most awesome thing ever, and it fills my heart with sunshine and light. Sunbeams and rainbows. Friggin' awesome.

It's magical. :)

Another thing I really like is that Kriss has provided demos of some of his ground covers and various plants, like reeds, and these capers:

These capers are one of my favorites, too -- they're mod, and I used them in my KT's garden (which I totally need to blog) -- I stretched them out quite a bit, and the effect is perfect -- very wild English moors, in my opinion. :) And having demos available is a wonderful idea -- plants and ground covers can be tricky, so many thanks to Kriss for giving us a chance to try them out before we buy.

As I mentioned, there are a million things you'll want at Botanical. There are beautiful butterflies (I have some on my sim :) ) - really gorgeous crystals ( that I used in the lake on the sim :) ) - also, and these are precious, you can find fireflies and will-o'-wisps, perfect for adding touches of whimsy and fantasy. So go forth! Explore! Enjoy! Purchase! Buy me some fireflies! Kthxbai!

Welcome to Part 8 of my Top 12! Need some background on what this list is all about? Click here for the original post.

Let's recap: so far, we've covered the house and the furniture -- next step is the landscaping! It's my belief that you should landscape regardless of how small your place is, or how close the neighbors are -- landscaping can be a potted plant or two on your deck, or it can be an entire formal English garden. Either way, you have to do it!

Anyone who has read my blog since the early days knows exactly where I want everyone to go buy their plants and assorted landscape items -- Heart Garden Centre, by Lilith and Dolly Heart. I spotlighted Heart Garden last year, and have mentioned them in about 5 different posts...because I love them. :) Lilith Heart is absolutely the sweetest lady, on top of being a gorgeously skilled designer. Odds are, dear readers, that you all are familiar with Heart - and I guarantee you have all seen their items sprinkled around SL. Those fabulous lighted trees- you know the ones, in pink, blue, or white, that look like 100 individual softly glowing bulbs entwined in a fantastically detailed tree, that you see approximately every 50 sqm across the grid? ;) Those are from Lilith and Dolly!

I went to visit the Heart sim for the purposes of this post, to get some pictures of items new to me, and I'm going to share those with you here. Please, though, review my previous posts on Heart, and just go there to see the wonders -- words cannot do it justice. Here's what I found for show & tell:

Red Rose bouquet with garlic mustard-potted: Perfection. In a pot.

Hyacinth-Delft Blue: There are several color variations of these gorgeous plants. Perfect for your porch or deck, or even just inside in the foyer!

Tropical Anthurium: Don't you just want to touch the flowers? It's like you can almost feel them!

Micro Islands: I'm not sure how i never noticed these before -- Lilith and Dolly have actual little (you know...'micro' :) ) islands, all ready-made for placement on your water property. There are about 6-8 different shapes/configurations -- great idea!

This is just the tiniest sampling of the delights waiting for you at Heart Garden Center. You must go, and go now! There will be a quiz!

Welcome to Part 7 of my Top 12! Need some background on what this list is all about? Click here for the original post.

Today is our final furniture-related post -- of course, as you can see, most of the designers I've spotlighted so far are jacks-of-all-trades, with houses AND furniture AND accessories, etc. It's just one aspect of their work that I've been highlighting. And on that note, let's talk about Ramos Designs Furniture.

Ramos Designs, owned and designed by the husband/wife team of xTrojan and Susan Ramos, is one of the first places I found in SL when I rented my first little beach cottage. I have several of their pieces in my own house, and have used their pieces in a design job or two. Ramos is the perfect place to go for basics. They have a huge inventory - living, dining, kitchens, baths, bedrooms, outdoor - and the items are well-crafted and well-textured. Please understand, dear reader, that 'basics' does not imply dull. Far from it! I say 'basics' because Ramos is great for finding a nice, simple, clean-lined sofa set to use as your starting point, for example. Find your foundational pieces here.

Oddly enough, I seem to usually place function over form in SL -- that's why I don't have a house with a bathroom or kitchen. I'm not going to use them, so why have them? However, I do enjoy a well-designed SL kitchen, at least aesthetically. I'm a big fan of RL kitchen design, and I suppose that crosses over. Ramos has a large selection of kitchens to choose from, and most (maybe all) come in boxed sets with all the critical pieces, and then you can also purchase accessory/peripheral pieces, too. I mean, if you're gonna have a SL kitchen -- do it right. :)

I also don't have a laundry room in my SL house, but I do giggle gleefully whenever I come across laundry items, or anything that alludes to RL chores in SL. This set, complete with animated textures, gave me a smile. :)

I do enjoy the Modesto Sectional, below - it steps outside the 'basics' a little, giving you something a bit fun, a bit eccentric.

I've mentioned my obsession with canopy beds -- and here's a big ooooohhhhh for me:

Another thing I love at Ramos is their candles! I don't know why theirs are so appealing to me -- I suppose it's their specific flame texture, and probably the way the candle wax dips in to indicate a candle that's been burning for a while - but these are by far my favorite candles...even above the ones I've created and sell in my own shop. And I love that Ramos has a whole wall of candles - literally! Probably 10-15 different designs or configurations, all available in a multitude of colors. This is where you should go to prepare for that romantic date you're planning! You know who you are!

Get over to Ramos Designs quickly! They also have a very cute bakery with all sorts of goodies, and a whole neighborhood of very nice, well-constructed pre-fabs!

Tomorrow, we move to landscaping!

Welcome to Part 6 of my Top 12! Need some background on what this list is all about? Click here for the original post.

Today, we travel to Rustica Home Furnishings. Rustica is another one of those places I go to for the build itself almost as much as for the product. I mean, come on - look!

Rustica's designer, Maxwell Graf, spared no ounce of creativity in this build: there are secret passages. Enough said. It's a castle through and through -- the grandeur, the roughness of the textures, the luxurious velvets, the detailed's amazing, and you must take time to explore all throughout and around. I'm not ashamed to admit that I got, 4 times. Totally worth it, albeit a bit harrowing at times.

Now, certainly, Maxwell caters to the castle dweller, BUT don't think that's all you're going to find here. There are pieces that I would describe as mid-century modern (20th century, just to be clear ;) ), some perhaps art deco - and what strikes me most about all of Maxwell's pieces is that they're very masculine. Not macho -- not at all -- just masculine. I like that a lot. Additionally, the most fun thing about Rustica is that all the pieces are 'in motion' - doors and drawers open, roll top desks roll - so click everything!

As always, just a few pics to show you some of my favorite finds until you can get over there and check it out yourself.

Ironoak Armoire: it's the texture, of course, that gets to me the most on this piece. This does look like something I'd have in RL, though...if I was that cool.

Cafe du Blonde Bedroom: Remember what I said about masculine? Boys, pay attention -- this is the sort of bedroom the ladies want you to have. It's warm and inviting, while also saying 'I can fix your appliances and kill your spiders, while keeping my finely tailored clothes and classic watches neatly stored away, and will lay you down in satin sheets every night.' Ladies, holla if ya feel me. :)

Sofa Bed of Yummy Goodness: Seriously, that's the name. I had to include this not just because it is indeed yummy, but also because I don't think I've seen this in SL before. It's a working pull out bed. Awesome.

Okay, you know what to do next. Head over to Rustica, wander thru everywhere, click everything, and embrace the masculine goodness!

Welcome to Part 5 of my Top 12! Need some background on what this list is all about? Click here for the original post.

Today, we're going to talk about Del Sol Furniture by Xandi Mars. Here's what you need to know:

1) Her stuff is awesome.

2) There's a ton of it. Really.

3) Xandi is all about the details, and I <3 that about Del Sol.

When you first pop in to the sim, you'll probably be overwhelmed. It's an open air market concept, so literally, it's a sim strewn about with furniture. Just take a deep breath, and start walking around. What you'll find is that truly the pieces are arranged quite nicely in little vignettes, with coordinating pieces and lovely accessories that complete the room. I love a good vignette, especially with dessert. (badumbum) Del Sol has everything - living rooms, bedrooms, dining, kitchens, patio, bathrooms, curtains, and more. I know you're going to go see for yourself, so here are just a few of the things that I found to love:

Bohemian Classic Living Room: I love the curvy shapes on the wooden chairs and sofa. Also, you'll see in this pic how Xandi gives you a rug, some art options, a lamp -- this is common in her displays, and really does help when you're trying to decorate a space.

I have to show you a close up of the texturing on the upholstered sofa. If you've read any of my previous posts, you know i'm a complete texture junkie and, at the same time, have extreme texture envy. I do OK with my textures -- but why can't I have leather and brocade that looks like this?? *shakes fist at no one in particular*

Weathered Worn Out Sofa: The name says it all. :)

Last picture - because it's so cute -- here's the attention to detail that I love: a newspaper with reading glasses. Perfect!

Swing by Del Sol and wander around for a while. I guarantee you'll find at least 7 things that make you go 'ooh'!

Welcome to Part 4 of my Top 12! Need some background on what this list is all about? Click here for the original post.

I'm quite excited about today's post because I feel like this shop is a hidden treasure. Now, for all I know, I may be just 1 in 50,000 who know this place -- but until proven otherwise, I'll continue under the assumption that I know something you don't know. ;)

Today, I'm spotlighting Mezzanine by Mezzanine Qi. (Ok, so now you know. :) ) Mezzanine is a smaller shop, and it's just full of gorgeous asian-inspired pieces. Now, certainly, the items are very specific to a theme, but I think any decor - retromodern, tropical, industrial, shabby chic - can be enhanced with a stunning Ming vase or detailed laquered folding screen. So you have no reason not to go check out Mezzanine. :)

Speaking of Ming vases --

How perfect are those? Great detailing, just the right amount of shine. I love them.

The Black Seasons furniture collection is quite vast; the pieces are very detailed, so they're relatively high in prim, and the prices are just right in my opinion. A few shots:

I saw an opportunity to show off my favorite Bare Rose kimono :)

Mezzanine also offers boxed sets of the Black Seasons grouping, and what's really cool is that she offers multiple options of the boxed sets. So, of course, you can buy just the individual pieces you want, or you can grab a boxed set that suits your needs.

You can also find a great variety of Chinese lanterns, rice paper lanterns, Chinese fans, candles, awesome garden lights, AND these oh-so-cute miniature Zen gardens. Precious!

There's so much more to see - I have a few more pics than usual today just because I've never posted about Mezzanine before. Get over there now -- now! -- and see the wonders there are to be seen!

Welcome to Part 3 of my Top 12! Need some background on what this list is all about? Click here for the original post.

So far we've covered that we have a house, we need furniture! So let me start by spotlighting a frequent blog mention here on Second Spaces: The Loft! I've mentioned this shop on several occasions; just do a quick search on the blog for 'the loft' and you'll see about 5 posts that apply. Colleen Desmoulins and Bethany Hart are the designers behind the brand - I'm not sure if Kingston Augustus is still with them- and everything they create makes me say 'oh, damn!' -- in a good way. If you're a fan of Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate & Barrel -- as I am -- then The Loft is a must-have LM for you.

I popped into the store specifically to pick out a few of my favorites that I haven't already blogged. Those are shown below -- and you know what you need to do, dear reader, don't you? GO THERE. :)

Bago Living Room: They do green like nobody's business! Subtle, soft...I want to lounge.

Stephanie Dining: The chair texture is awesome. It's like...formal snakeskin.

Bago Bedroom: I have always loved a canopy bed. When I was a wee girl, I wanted a princess canopy bed more than anything...and I never got one. My tastes have grown up (thankfully!), and this is the sort of canopy that not-so-wee Elle dreams of.

I may have said this in my original spotlight post...but it bears repeating: the textures you find on The Loft's upholstered pieces are heaven. Truly, it's almost a tangible experience for me.

So, dear reader - go, see, touch. The Loft also has some awesome pre-fabs that are a must see; check my post about their sim opening for a sneak peek of a few of them!

Welcome to Part 2 of my Top 12! Need some background on what this list is all about? Click here for the original post.

Today I'm stepping way over to the other side of pre-fabs. I'm sure you've all seen the gorgeous, intricately detailed tall masted ships around SL -- those are the work of Lia Woodget, and you can find them at The Black Spot Shipyard.

Even if you're not looking for a ship, you have to visit the sim because, simply, it's amazing. Lia has done an outstanding job -- it's one of those places you need to have at least an hour to explore. There are quite a few shops placed around the sim, too, and the way they're situated is just...poetry. I can't explain - you have to go see. Go!

Again, because I want you to go see for yourself, I've only got a few pictures. Lia has huge ships, and she has smaller, drivable boats. She also has great accessories sprinkled around: barrels and crates and nautical type things (technical term) -- and I know there's more, and that's why you have to go!

Just a sneak peek - the pictures are worth 1000 words, I'd say.

The Crow - $L5000, 278 prims (with the cannons)

The Black Sparrow - $L9000, 545 prims

Seriously - look at those textures! Look at that detail! I'm in love and green with envy all at the same time! Lia has mad skillz, it's clear. :) Go see! Now!

I was on a roll there for a bit -- now it's been a month without even a *poke* from me. I've been quite busy with a project that is so close to being done -- like this close [ ] -- and that I will be posting about soon. In the meantime, I grabbed a few minutes to start a series of posts I've had in mind for a while.

Welcome to 'The Top 12 Places You Should Know About If You Have a SL Home', as decided by Elle Kirshner. There are countless designers in SL making awesome houses, furniture, trees, plants, accessories, and on and on and on, and I will always encourage everyone to explore, explore, explore because there is so much great stuff to be found. However, I do have certain LMs that I am quick to share with folks who are looking for these things -- sort of a starter kit. This is not a countdown or a stack ranking -- just really my favorite places and the ones I recommend the most.

Today, we'll start with the houses. I think it's awesome to build your own -- but there are some amazing ones out there, and if you like instant gratification like I do ;) , then save the building for your garden shed or beach gazebo and pick up a prefab.

Barnesworth Anubis Pre-Fab[ulous] Homes & Furniture

I can't believe I've never highlighted Barnesworth. I've mentioned his designs in a few posts -- my own home is a BA pre-fab - but I realize now that I've never actually highlighted him. BA has residential and commercial pre-fabs. If you've ever been shopping, well, pretty much anywhere there is a collection of stores, then I guarantee you've seen at least 3 of his commercial designs. On the residential side, he has just a ton of pre-fabs ranging in tropical styles, a few retro-modern, a few asian, and his newest collection of Victorian styles, seen below.

All of his pre-fabs are rezzed and available for a walk-through; you can TP from the main store, quite conveniently. I want you to go check it out yourselves, so I'm not going to load you up with pictures. Just one pre-fab that I'll highlight to further pique your curiosity. ;) The La Jolla House:

The La Jolla House is 149 prims, comes with a privacy system of tinting windows and locking doors, and is available for L$1750, mod/copy. I think what I like best about BA's houses - aside from the fact that they rule - is that most of them are fairly small, just 1 or 2 rooms. That's perfect for SL -- how many of us really need the 10 room mansion? Also, all the furniture is BA Designs as well, and is available for purchase! It takes all the guesswork out of decorating!

So there ya go, the first in our Top 12 List. Look for another post in the very near future to spotlight another awesome designer of pre-fabs. Oooooh, the suspense!