Skyrim Hearthfire guide: 7 essential tips and secrets
6th Sep 2012 | 16:11
As we revealed in our Hearthfire verdict, the latest slice of
HOW TO... BUY A PLOT OF LAND
The first step in building your new dream home is to acquire a plot of land to construct it on. There are three plots available in the following locations:
- Dawnstar - Heljarchen Hall
- Falkreath - Lakeview Manor
- Morthal - Windstad Manor
To qualify for purchasing land you must visit the jarl for the relevant hold and earn their trust, which may involve completing one or more quests for them.
Once done, you will then be given the option to buy the deed for 5,000 gold from the jarl or their steward. Follow the map marker to your new plot and you'll be ready to start construction.
HOW TO... BUILD A BASIC HOUSE
When you arrive at your plot of land, you'll find a drafting table and carpenter's workbench, as well as a chest containing all the building materials you need to get started and an anvil for turning iron ingots into construction metalwork.
The drafting table allows you to choose a plan for what to build next, and initially only the Small House layout will be available. Pick that, then switch to the carpenter's workbench to construct the foundations, walls and roof, using the anvil to create any additional materials needed.
Once the door has been added your new house is ready to move into, but first you'll want to head inside and use the workbench to construct items of furniture such as tables, chairs and a bed. New materials required for certain furnishings such as straw and glass can be purchased from traders in the major cities.
HOW TO... FIND BUILDING MATERIALS
There are three main building materials used in house construction - clay, quarried stone and sawn logs. By scouting the area around the workbenches on your plot of land you should find deposits of clay and quarried stone, which can be mined with a pickaxe for a limitless and free supply of those materials.
Sadly you can't cut your own wood at the lumber mills, so you'll need to speak to the mill owner and purchase sawn logs from them. Most but not all mills offer this service, so if the option doesn't come up then head to another mill and try again - the mill nearest your plot of land should always have wood available. Once bought, the sawn logs will automatically be delivered to your house and will appear as stacks outside.
HOW TO... EXPAND YOUR HOME
Once you've stocked up on building materials, you can begin extending your house by using the drafting table to initiate construction of the Main Hall. This adds a dining hall, a cellar and two upstairs bedrooms to your property, and opens up options for construction of wings to the west, north and east of the building. There are three different choices for each wing as follows:
- Bedrooms - additional beds plus a balcony area on the roof
- Enchanter's Tower - an arcane enchanter and a rooftop tower balcony
- Greenhouse - grow ingredients for alchemy and food
- Alchemy Laboratory - an alchemy lab and a rooftop tower balcony
- Storage Room - additional space for storage and display items
- Trophy Room - construct and display stuffed specimens
- Armoury - equipment for smithing armour and weapons
- Kitchen - a stove and spit for cooking
- Library - bookshelves for book storage and a rooftop tower balcony
Once the Main Hall has been built you can remodel your original Small House to become an Entryway using the drafting table, which opens up new furniture options for that area. Outside you can construct a vegetable patch, an animal pen and stables as well as a unique item for each plot of land. These are:
- Heljarchen Hall - Grain Mill
- Lakeview Manor - Apiary (Beehive)
- Windstad Manor - Fish Hatchery
HOW TO... HIRE A STEWARD
The help with the running of your new homestead you can recruit a follower to become your steward, who will then move in and carry out a number of tasks for you. Only certain followers can take on this role, but this includes any of the housecarls you receive for becoming Thane of a hold and many of the quest-based followers.
Once you have an appropriate follower, return to your home and upon arrival they will offer to take on the role of steward - accept and they will stop following you then move into your house.
A steward can obtain a carriage to transport you around, a bard to provide musical accompaniment to your daily life, a horse for your stable and cows and chickens for your animal pen. They can buy building materials for you, saving you a trip to the lumber mill for sawn logs, but don't forget that clay and quarried stone can be sourced for free from the area surrounding your house. You can also instruct them to buy furnishings for rooms, saving you the hassle of constructing all the individual items yourself.
HOW TO... START A FAMILY
With your home fully constructed, you can now turn your attentions to the other new feature of Hearthfire, adoption. You don't need to be married to open up this option, but you do need to have installed at least one child's bed and one container (such as a dresser or wardrobe) in the child's bedroom before your house will be deemed suitable. You also need to have completed the quest "Innocence Lost" to kill Grelod the Kind before adoption is available to you.
With you home prepared accordingly, head to the Honorhall Orphanage in Riften and speak to Constance Michel then offer to adopt one of the children. She will ask you a series of questions to check your suitability, tell her you're the Dragonborn and where your house is located. Once accepted you can speak to the children and choose one to adopt, who will then be transported back to your house.
You can adopt a maximum of two children, either from the orphanage itself or from stray orphans found wandering around the major cities.
HOW TO... ENTERTAIN YOUR KIDS
Once your child has moved in, you need to keep them happy. New items are available to purchase from merchants such as clothes, wooden swords and dolls, which can be given to them in addition to traditional items such as sweet treats.
You can play games with your child such as hide-and-seek and tag, and if you have two children they will both join in the fun. If you catch your children arguing with each other you can step in and scold them, you can also send them off at any point to do chores.
Sometimes your child will return home with an animal and ask if they can keep it. If you agree, the animal will become their pet and live with you in the house.