Architect of the Middle Ages: Kismet’s Cierra Anatine
by Netera Landar
(note: please see the in-world magazine or download Unforgettable Magazine #4 for more photographs.)
A virtual architect, Cierra Anatine specializes in the Medieval Celtic era. Her store, Kismet, displays her stunning multi-level builds. Irish-style cottages rest upon a deep green landscape. Realistic stone walkways and bridges span five sims. You swear it is Ireland!
Standing with Cierra, not far from The Kismet Charingworth Manor House, she explained that it’s based on the real 14th century one in the Cotswolds region of England. She was fortunate to have lived there for a year. It inspired her to create her line of charming, yellow stone manors perfect for a role playing community, a clan, or even the Lord and Lady desiring a romantic retreat.
“I’m able to do so many things here. It was just meant to be.”
Beyond the heavy wooden doors, a great hall awaits. Sit in front of the brass medallion fireplace listening to the sounds of the flames, or dine with friends in the small dining area near the kitchen. Write or listen to period music in the study, or cuddle under the canopy in the master suite.
It was a Newsweek article, back in February, 2007, that lured Cierra into Second Life®. She was immediately hooked. “I had an online business at that time, and my husband showed me the article. So I came here to market my online business. But I found so many more opportunities, I sold that business and now work here full-time.”
She could see the opportunity to bring her real life skills into a virtual world and create something unique. Combining her interior decorating and architectural skills, becoming a content creator became “the best job she ever had.” Equally important to her is witnessing the evolution of this virtual world.
Cierra was looking for a place to call home when she found a cottage set in Eternity, a Medieval themed estate. She enjoyed the community there. “When I first started building, I got land on the mainland and purchased a prefab shopping center, old-English tudor-style. I learned by modifying that.”
By taking apart things that others had built, Cierra learned how they did it. One builder, who created everything, inspired her Charingworth Manor. It is still one of her best-sellers. The Berkshire is second in popularity, which she first built as her own home, and truly learned a lot about the process.
“I had no intention to sell the Charingworth, but I had so many people asking me if they could buy it. I had it on land that I was leasing on Eternity, and at a store on the mainland.”
After living awhile in Eternity, the owner opened a marketplace. Cierra wondered if anyone would buy a Medieval kitchen. So she started to create manors. And she made sofas, tables, and candles for the owner’s castle. Door scripts came next, then a comfy little Irish cottage.
“A lot of my builds are responses to customers’ needs. They might be looking for certain features or a specific sized house. Highclere Manor is my latest and largest manor-house. Customers wanted more bedrooms—something ‘huge.’”
Her eleven hundred customers are from many different lifestyles. Some are mainstream beach dwellers; others vampires, or Medieval role players; and there are those who simply love an old-style house. The terrain on Kismet inspires them to recreate something similar on their own property.
Research assists Cierra in realistic design elements. Yet, the overall image is her vision—she doesn’t copy what already exists. However, she does review how half timbering and roofing are put together in real life. Such references provide her with hours of inspiration.
Cierra’s fifth sim is a rental called Tir na Brighid, a Celtic island with classic thatched Irish cottages. It also features an academy for learning how to joust with numerous cottages. ‘Tir na’ means “land of” and ‘Brighid’ is a Celtic Goddess.
Many of her customers own all of her builds. Customers who just discovered Kismet will collect everything from the manors to stables to furniture. They’ll buy a bigger manor and rent a homestead because they love the feeling of Kismet and wish to recreate it.
Few content designers can compose an appealing landscape the way Cierra can. Many enjoy her rich green turf and the Celtic gardens, the stone bridges and pathways. Her designs for homes and landscapes are some of the most sophisticated and accessible found in SL.
“This is partly why I create the way I have. I could have just had a sim with all the houses lined up. But I even like to walk around—I enjoy being here and I hope that’s how people feel that come to visit. This is the most gratifying.”
Kismet is successful because of Cierra’s textures, style and customer service. She offers whatever she can to make her customers happy. If they have a problem with one of her items, she always helps. She’s even dug out dungeons for them because many don’t know how to terraform land.
Cierra believes that it is textures that make her builds unique, and admits these take the longest to create. Despite so many outstanding SL builders, customers appreciate her functional layouts, realism, and warm styles.
“Once I find the textures that I wish to use—or I make them—I do a lot of color tweaking. I might go through a hundred before I find the one to use. I have thousands. I’ve been learning for the past six years, and I’m still learning.”
Though Cierra thinks about creating other period builds, she confesses that Medieval is really her niche. She relates to the textures and styles of her manors, and she knows she does it well. Continuing to expand is her goal.
In real life, Cierra grew up in California, but now resides in Nevada. She lives near the Sierra Mountains, which inspired her name. The software she uses to build include Photoshop and Paintshop Pro.
For more information, please contact Netera Landar, Editor-in-Chief, neteralandar.gmail.com.
See the issue as it first ran in the virtual world release of Unforgettable Magazine #4 (download PDF) with more graphics and photographs. See Issue #One, Issue #Two, and Issue #3 for more features and profiles.