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10K Club Interview: STARDEW VALLEY FARMHOUSE by fourbrickstall

Another day, another new member of the 10K Club! Meet Anna Bitanga, a.k.a. fourbrickstall, and her charming STARDEW VALLEY FARMHOUSE. Inspired by the video game, this project started as a small toy-photography project, and eventually became the 10K project you see here! You can read more about the story to 10K here!


  1. Who are you?
    Anna Bitanga.

  2. What hobbies do you have?
    I love photography, etymology, history, puzzles, and videogames. 
  3. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    I have a website where I show and teach LEGO photography. I’m on Instagram, Flickr, and Tumblr as fourbrickstall too.
  4. Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud of it and do you have a photo of it?
    I’ve created these LEGO book nooks that I adore! Book nooks are narrow models that are meant to go in between books on your bookshelf. They’re basically facades that I have facing each other, capped with a book-like top to hold them together. You can pop off the top and then swing open the model to get a wide scene if you want to take them out to “read”. 

    I shared my Japanese alley-inspired book nook on LEGO Ideas a few years ago but I didn’t promote it that well, I guess, since it expired. I’ve done a handful more since then and also created a more modular version: a medieval “shelf background filler” called Galen’s Row.

  5. How and when did your interest in LEGO products come about?
    As a kid, I played with Space sets. As an adult, I stumbled upon a LEGO toy photography project on a popular photography blog sometime in 2013 and I got pulled right back into the hobby as a result. 
    I just started collecting minifigures; a short time later I picked up sets, and then started making MOCs. So my interest in LEGO toys literally grew.
  6. What is the LEGO hobby to you? What does it mean to you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games or 'just' watch the cartoons.
    I run a LEGO photography community called BrickCentral, which is a Recognized LEGO Online Community. I’m there day-to-day along with a team of talented volunteers, so the LEGO hobby is a good chunk of my life now! 
    As a fan, I enjoy piecing together sets with the instructions and also building my own models. Both are focused activities that entertain or challenge me in different ways: assembling teaches me techniques and lets me know there is an end, while building gives me opportunities to apply what I’ve learned and allows me to forever tweak. 
    Then I get to play again and take photos! It’s a lot of fun to bring the models to life in a photo.
  7. What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
    I really love the Fantasy Era of Castle. I generally love anything high fantasy across different genres. Hidden Side was cool; it’s refreshing to see a darker theme break up the often bright and colourful LEGO portfolio.
  8. What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
    Tough one, but I have to say it’s the Medieval Blacksmith. The build is beautiful, and there are lots of storytelling possibilities with the characters in it. The forge with the Light Brick is fun, and I like how you can take off the roof easily to see inside.

  9. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    Just looking at what is displayed on my shelves right now and it seems to be dominated by Mike Psiaki’s work: Downtown Diner, Volkswagen Beetle, Orchid, Galaxy Explorer, and Lion Knights’ Castle. There are a lot of other LEGO designers whose models I’ve built and have smiled at their ingenuity as well, for sure though.  
    And as someone obsessed with minifigures, I admire Tara Wike, Austin Carlson, and everyone else who works on those! I’d love to learn more about them and that process.
  10. Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by? 
    I’m just a bit biased, but I always visit BrickCentral! But my favourite LEGO blog is New Elementary. I love seeing the new parts that TLG comes up with and how the NE team makes MOCs out of official sets. They’re super clever. The writing is fun too. 
    BrickNerd is great to read when I want to see how other fans enjoy LEGO bricks.  Good vibes. 
    Jay’s Brick Blog gives me my BaM and minifig fix.



  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    I play Stardew Valley a lot when I’m not taking photos. There was a gaming theme going on in our LEGO toy photography community that I wanted to join in on, so I just looked at what I was currently playing and Stardew Valley was right there! 
    I thought the starter farmhouse would be iconic and make for a great photo so I started building that. 

  2. How long was the process of making the project, and what did you have to research as well? What kind of prep, research and design phases did you go through to produce your creation?
    I didn’t really have to research too much since I’ve got almost 200 hours logged into the game and that farmhouse is where I spend a ton of that time! But since Stardew Valley is in 2D pixel art and you only ever see the front, I had to use some imagination and find inspiration as to how the sides of the farmhouse might look. 

    The game is extremely popular– often landing in 'top 10' gaming charts and best communities lists over the past several years – and there’s a lot of fan art out there. So I looked at amazing illustrations and renders that other artists had made of the farmhouse. That’s where I got the idea for the windows on the sides with shutters. 
    The farmhouse took me several days to complete. I did it in BrickLink Studio which I’m not very proficient in so there’s that learning curve to factor in. It’s only maybe the 4th or 5th time I’ve used the program. I’d probably use it more if it were on my handheld console or tablet – wink wink!
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    I think lining up the chimney from the wall to the roof was the most challenging! In the game, the chimney is flush against the back wall but from outside, it’s not. So I worked on that part quite a bit, even though you can’t really even see the chimney brickwork in the roof area from the inside! It’s just one of those things that you want to get right anyway for yourself. 

    I also had to take some creative liberties with the interior. In the game, the farmhouse is pretty much a box-shaped room but I had to add a little space to include the TV set. I think it’s a small concession to make to include all the elements of the starter house.  

    The other challenge was that siding of the farmhouse is prominently vertical timber, which meant that I needed to build sideways or use long vertical tiles. Both meant using SNOT techniques. I ended up tiling the sides which made the walls thicker and upped the piece count, but probably more stable.

  4. If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell them? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
    Well, I wish I knew I was going to submit it as a LEGO Ideas project in the first place! It wasn’t my intention at all when I started building it. I just wanted to make a nice gaming-inspired farmhouse facade for a photo and then I got carried away! It was just fun to recreate as a complete building that I could turn around. 
    So if I knew I was going to create the Stardew Valley Farmhouse for LEGO Ideas, I’d probably teach myself about minifig design more. That was my first time making custom minifigs in BrickLink Studio so I just looked at what was in the inventory and then edited them a bit in Photoshop. Maybe I’d learn some Illustrator basics and do my own designs. But I also know that what I would make for LEGO Ideas is just a concept– a starting off point for professionals to work with, so I would still make sure that whatever new knowledge I had to acquire was fun for me to do.  

    I would probably underscore that more too for people who aren’t very familiar with LEGO Ideas and how it works: your project is just a first iteration and a proposal. You don’t want people not voting for it simply because you used the wrong torso and they think that your design is the final one that will end up on retail shelves. 
  5. How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time? And how did the build time compare to the time you spent promoting your Product Idea to reach 10,000 supporters? 
    It took about a week for the farmhouse, which was my main focus, and then a few more days for the minifigs.  
    The build time was about three times longer than the time I spent creating promo materials and spreading the word. Not including render time… that’s a different thing. I played around with BrickLink to get a simple 8-second rotating model animation and I think that took 18 hours! 
    There was also a lot of waiting time since I asked permission from admins and mods to post in a handful of Stardew Valley communities and that’s not always a quick turnaround.  
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take? 
    The Stardew Valley communities are amazing! The hardest and longest (about 10 days) was probably the first 1,000 votes because you don’t have “social proof”. But after that, it went relatively fast. Then after 5k, it really sped through. 

    And that happened because a member of a smaller Stardew Valley group shared the 5k milestone with a huge community, and they closed the gap in hours. That was remarkable because it meant to me that people loved the project enough to share it on their own and rally others to support it. 
    I think the Stardew Valley communities that pushed the project through also felt the same energy I felt when it hit 10K. A lot of people were online updating the threads with the count as votes were cast. As soon as the project achieved support, I took a screenshot and shared it with those communities before nodding off to sleep. It was pretty exciting but exhausting!  

  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model? 
    The whole model not including the minifigures is just about 1300 bricks.
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    Definitely the bale of hay with the frog on it that activates the LightBrick in the fireplace! I was toying with the idea of pressing down on the whole chimney to light it too but I couldn’t figure it out.

  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    BrickLink Studio.
  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
    I used what was already in the BrickLink Studio library and then edited them in Photoshop to customise them. I used PartDesigner to add those designs back into BrickLink.



  1. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
    I took my idea directly to fan communities: the people who are currently playing Stardew Valley, sharing their tips with others or just their in-game wins. The Stardew Valley communities on Facebook and Reddit were really kind and threw their support behind my project. I also reached out to the creator of the game, ConcernedApe, to see if he even wanted to see his work immortalised in LEGO form. He did and that gave my project a lot of credibility among fans. 
    I spent most of my time in the comments though; reading, replying, and thanking. It was important to me that I not only get feedback from Stardew Valley fans about the spirit of my model, but obviously get their vote too. Even if registration on LEGO Ideas is easy, it’s still a friction point for people who aren’t familiar with the platform so it’s very meaningful when someone does it just to support your idea. 
  2. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    Medieval Blacksmith, Tree House, and Old Fishing Store are three of my favourites so far. There are far more that I’d love to see made real.
  3. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
    It’s pretty attractive that we even have this platform! Comments from supporters of my project expressed surprise that LEGO fans have an official way to get product ideas for TLG to consider. 
    My tip would be: Find communities to be a part of (if you’re not already) that are directly or tangentially related to your project and share mindfully. Participate and be present. Read the rules and don’t spam. Nobody likes an intruder with an agenda.
  4. Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint what that might be?
    I might but I don’t know if I could change tack and design something for LEGO Ideas specifically. I’ve had fun so far designing for myself and then later surprising myself with a submission.



  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • product idea
  • stardew valley farmhouse
  • anna bitanga

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