Congratulations to Andrea aka Norton74 and his first 10K Club creation A-Frame Cabin! His latest project is a part of the series of rural houses that look very impressive thanks to the variety of colors used and many details. No wonder, building with LEGO bricks is an art he says, but he will tell you more himself.
- Who are you?
My name is Andrea Lattanzio, aka Norton 74 in the AFOL community.
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
I’m 47, I was born the 4th of May of 1974, yes the Star Wars Day…"May the fourth be with you"
- What do you study or do for a living?
I’m a Corporate Fundraiser Manager for an important Italian Non-Profit Organization. I had the pleasure and the honor to collaborate with The LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation due to my job as they are engaged to support NPO that help people in need.
- What hobbies do you have?
I'm a so-called car guy, I especially like classic cars and motorbikes. But with a full-time job and a family to take care of, I have little free time and I'm mostly into LEGO bricks.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
Yes of course! In the last ten years, I have built many MOCs and my works are very well known and appreciated worldwide. My social pages have helped me in this:
My website: www.norton74.com
- 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?
To be honest over the last few years I have built a lot of MOCs that I am proud of and it's hard to pick just one. Probably my series of rural houses that I have built in the last couple of years are my favorite ones now (the A-Frame Cabin is part of this series).
I really like the subjects, the color palette, the techniques, the parts usage, the atmospheres, and the photography of this kind of MOCs. They perfectly represent my style developed in 10 years career as a builder. Below you can see a few of them, in order: The Blue Cottage, The General Store, Joe’s Cottage, Into the Wild.
- How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
Like most AFOLs, I grew up with LEGO bricks. From a very young age I used to play with my older brother's Technic and Classic Space sets, that was the spark that started my passion for LEGO bricks.
- What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games or 'just' watch the cartoons.
To me, LEGO is a medium to express my creativity and ideas. It's like playing music or painting a picture; building can sometimes be considered an art form. Over the past decade, LEGO has meant a lot to me and It’s definitively part of my life now. I mostly build MOCs.
The biggest goals I achieved in my builder career were displaying my creations at the LEGO House Masterpiece Gallery (2018/2019) and being named LEGO Builder of the Year by The Brothers Brick (2019), really good memories. In the picture below you can see Mr. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen and me close to my creations at the LEGO House (September 2018).
Thanks to the AFOL community I had the chance to get in touch with a lot of awesome people from all over the world, and some of them I can now call friends. That’s great!
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
Classic Castle theme has a special place in my charts (take a look at the next question). Back in the eighties, I was also fond of the 12V train theme, I had the chance to get a bunch of them and they are still in my collection. Model Team series and then Creator Expert line-up has influenced and inspired me, especially a few years ago when I built my garages (picture below) that boosted my reputation in the LEGO community all over the world.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
The set I'm most fond of is definitely the Yellow Castle (set No. 375). I have many good memories of that set. It was my first big set and my parents gave it to me for my 6th birthday (May 4th 1980). Take a look at the photos and you will understand...
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
From the beginning, I have always liked smooth surfaces which is why I have a predilection for tiles. I think tiles allow you to build creations that don't look like they are made of LEGO bricks, it's almost magic.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
There are so many skilled builders out there that it's hard to pick one. I spend a lot of time browsing Flickr and always find a lot of inspiration.
As for the official designers I have to say they are off the charts. I’ve recently built the Ford Mustang set and the Harley Davidson Fat Boy set and I was amazed how well designed and built they were. Really “hat off” to official LEGO designers.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO-related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
I regularly visit the main LEGO-related blogs and I am very fond of them because in the last ten years they have featured my works. From time to time I really enjoy rereading articles about my MOCs and stepping back into the past. At this link, you can see all the blog articles of my creations from the beginning and find out the blogs themselves: https://norton74.com/blog/
I also love spotting bricks on Bricklink and I spent hours and hours there.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
As I said before, I have built a lot of rural houses over the past two years. The first one was Sheriff Hoppers' shack from the Stranger Things TV series. Last year I was looking for something new and I came across a coffee-table book with many strange houses from all over the world. I discovered the A-Frame houses and it was love at first sight. While doing research I discovered that they are highly sought after and fashionable in the United States and that there are dozens of Instagram pages about A-Frame houses with hundreds of thousands of followers. A-Frame cabins are very popular nowadays!
- How long was the process of making the project did, 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?
It all started with a sketch on paper about what I was going to build, and then in about 10 days, the project was ready. I had clear ideas about both shapes and colors: a big “A” as a shape and reddish-brown for the roof, medium nougat for the facade, and light bluish gray for the base. And the outcome rocks. I also used my past experiences in building rural houses for creating the A-F/C and this made everything easier and faster. Photography also played a very important role in giving a touching atmosphere to the whole diorama.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The entire designing process was quite fast, as I mentioned before if you have clear ideas in your mind everything is easier. Plus if you have references to inspire your work from it's even better, and there are so many A-Frame Cabins all around. The most difficult part was probably spotting the right proportions of the cabin. I tried different sizes of the roof and then I found the right and balanced one. I also spent a lot of time searching for the right details for the diorama.
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him/her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
If I could talk to him, I'd say to him: "Hey Andrea, is everything ready? Are all the photos ready? Are the interiors ready before you start? Have you planned the milestone updates?" As you can understand not everything was ready and it was very difficult, e.g., building the interiors on the way rather than thinking and shooting the updates. But now it’s gone.
- 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?
I built the model in about ten days, and when I say 10 days I mean 3/4 hours in the evening since I work during the day, and a couple of weekends.
About the promotion of the project, I worked hard all the time needed to reach the coveted 10,000 supporters. Probably it was easier to build it than to promote it.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It was both magical and liberating at the same time. It was fun to promote the project but also tiring and in the end, I was happy to have finished the promotion. It all started on March 29th and ended on May 9th: 42 days.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
More or less I think I used 2.000 bricks.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I think the most interesting part is the A-shape of the house. It's very original and people like it a lot. Everyone has dreamed of sleeping in that kind of house at least one night, and if they can't do it for real they can build it. Even the colour combo is very charming.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I didn’t build it digitally.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I used only original LEGO bricks.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
“Pop” and IP/movie-based creation have more chances of reaching 10,000 votes, I suppose. Fandoms can help a lot in that case. And that's exactly what I didn't do.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I mainly used my Instagram, Facebook, and Flickr pages in addition to direct messages to friends and family.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
My favorite LEGO Ideas Products are the Tree House and the Old Fishing Store. My A-Frame Cabin would be perfect to complete this line-up of weird houses.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I love that it's a worldwide platform with builders’ submissions from all over the world, and it's officially approved by LEGO. And of course the possibility of making a dream come true. About the tips look at answer No. 1 of this section and answer No. 2 of the “About your project” section.
- Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint of what that might be?
At the moment I don't.
- 10k club
- 10k club interview
- product idea