This page is split into three sections: Architecture, which tours Themblise buildings; Infrastructure, which explores Themblise roads, bridges, and sewer systems; and Furniture and Decor, which gives a few examples of popular furniture and decor styles.
Themblise architecture changes a little depending on where one is visiting, however, there are common structural designs that are prevalent across the kingdoms. The vast majority of Themblise architecture is made out of stone, with brick and wood being rare but not entirely unheard of. Some buildings’ walls are smoothed with stucco, which is formed out of lime (a type of mineral, not the fruit) and sand, although this tends to be more common near the coastline, particularly in Croon. Due to the inhabitants, the size of buildings differ greatly, from ten-storied but ten feet high rat apartments, to a singular, warehouse-sized home for a Lambrose dragon. However, most businesses and houses are about ten feet tall floor-to-ceiling to allow for a wide range of guests. Dragons are sometimes discriminated against for their height, as the average Lambrose dragon tops off at about 13-15 feet in height. Architecture often shows the wealth of the individual.
Sometimes, wooden beams are used to strengthen portions of walls, or used for window frame or doorways. However, wood is most often used for doors and shutters. Shutters are incredibly common as glass, while increasingly more common, is still expensive. Those who cannot afford or do not wish to purchase glass windows will oftentimes pin linen to the window frame to allow light in (unlike shutters) but block insects from coming into the room. Wealthier individuals may choose to use carved wooden screens, such as mashrabiyas, to allow light in in a pleasing and artistic fashion. Stained glass, while known of, is not particularly common, nor fashionable, except in small accents in the corners of windows.
Doorways tend to be rectangular, and made out of stone or wood. Some are arched, although this tends to be a fashion for the wealthy. Doors themselves are made out of wood, typically oak, although pine can be found up in the foothills. Doorknobs are horizontally shaped, not spherical or vertical, so that a wider degree of creatures can use them. Sometimes, doors will have a little window in them with a carved metal or wood screen, although this is uncommon. Double doors are common for larger creatures. Doors are not often used inside of a house unless the owner is wealthy. Instead, embroidered curtains or heavier tapestries are hung.
A cathedral or shed style ceiling is the most common type of ceiling, with sometimes a flat, regular ceiling put in to create a small attic for storage. Wealthier individuals, such as merchants, members of the court, and royalty, lean towards groin and barrel vaulted ceilings. Palaces will often have incredibly tall ceilings, tall enough for dragons to full expand their wings comfortably. Some areas of a palace or mansion will have flat ceilings for more variety in appearances.
The vast majority of roofs are shingled. Rounded terracotta tiles are most often used for these shingles. As snow is uncommon, but there is the seasonal winter rains, roofs are low pitched. Mono-pitched and gable roofs are used extensively, although gambrel and half-hip roofs are also common, depending on the size of the creature living inside, or the use of the building. Clerestory shaped roofs are used occasionally for town halls or in other large public places, but they are rare for houses.
In poorer houses, the floor may be dirt, but most commonly the floors are tile or stone. Carpets and rugs are used by the more wealthy to provide cushion, as well as quiet the sound of hooves.
Inside of a building, walls are used to portion off rooms, with large archways leading between them. For privacy, embroidered curtains or heavier tapestries are hung over these archways, although sometimes doors are used, if the owner is wealthy enough. The number of rooms also changes depending on the owner’s wealth. In a typical home, there are usually two rooms, sometimes separated by a curtain, sometimes existing of two separate buildings, connected together in an L shape and accessible through outer doors. One room with be used entirely for sleeping quarters, with a hearth in one corner to be used for the winter.
Mansions and palaces may have their many rooms connected with hallways that feature large glass-less windows or veranda-like structures to encourage air movement as well as provide light and scenery.
Due to the harshness of the summer heat, the kitchen is placed in its own room or building to keep the sleeping quarters away from added heat. This also reduces smoke inhalation, and leads to less respiratory issues. If the family are herbivores, then there still is likely to be a hearth, used to create barley soups and such, as well as wheat breads, not to mention tea. Themblise food comes in a wide amount of varieties, and a hearth can create more options for creatures to explore. Equally as common as hearths are metal grills of various sizes, used to create surfaces easy cooking with pans and pots. The kitchen also may have a small clay oven used especially for breads.
The kitchen also typically has a table for preparations and eating, and the rest of the room is used for food storage, with herbs and cuts of meat (if omnivore/carnivore) hanging from the ceiling. There are few realistic and common methods for refrigeration, except leaving items in the deeper parts of a body of water and hope they don’t get stolen. A thermokinetic may be able to create ice by freezing water, but few thermokinetics are magically strong enough for that in Themble.
A popular third room is one for entertaining and hosting guests, if the family can afford the add-on. Those who are wealthy may have separate bedrooms with doors (and those bedrooms might have closets instead of chests!), as well as rooms for entertaining, storage, and servants.
In the case of a business, there are also typically two rooms, the store and the stockroom. However, the interior of businesses and shops vary highly depending on what the business is, and what its needs require.
The height and length of stairs changes depending on whose house one is in, due to the size of the occupants. However, in businesses and other public buildings, stair steps are generally seven inches tall and two feet long each, width, to the side of the stairs, a miniature set of stairs for rodents and other small animals. Each step on these miniature stairs are typically 1/4 inch in height and half and inch in length. Stairs are typically made out of stone to hold the weight of larger creatures, however, in a private residence, stairs may be made out of wood if the occupants are light weight enough. Stairs are sometimes built onto the outside of a building, to increase interior space. Ladders are unpopular due to the inaccessibility to many creatures.
Outside, there are often a veranda, where the family can finish chores, relax, and eat. There may be a low stone wall or railing enclosing part of the veranda. The veranda is usually situated over the door, and its floor slightly slanted, discouraging water from leaking into the house. It also prevents harsh sunlight from heating up the house during the summer. The veranda connects the kitchen and the sleeping quarters if the two buildings are separate. Verandas are popular hang-out areas for neighbors, and it is not uncommon to find a group of neighbors sharing food and singing under the candlelight while relaxing under a veranda during the summertime. Verandas can be found attached to all types of buildings, be it home, business, or temple.
If the building has more than one story, it may have a little balcony. However, more popular than balconies are when part of a wall is completely removed and replaced with columns and a railing. It does not stick out like a balcony and serves as a little outdoor patio. There may be a wall inside of this covered area that separates the little area from the interior of the house. These are used for resting and relaxation, although some chose to have little potted gardens!
For the lower class, the yard is a place for a little useful garden, filled with herbs and vegetables and maybe a fruit or olive tree. It is a place to dry laundry, to have an outhouse or designated area for a bathroom, and to finish chores. It is typically walled on two sides, with the other two sides coming to meet the house and kitchen, although a yard may be entirely encapsulated by the house. In the city, this enclosed yard or garden may be shared by multiple families.
For the wealthier, the yard is replaced by more structured patios, which are more entertainment-focused than function-focused. They are often tiled, and have potted plants or a garden. Some may have a decorative pool of water, or even a fully functional fountain! These may be surrounded one all four sides by a veranda, or only on one or two sides, the rest expanding to the rest of the land.
Architecture often takes advantage of the terrain, and in the mountainous and hilly coastal cities, it is common to find a type of pergola. These pergolas with railings back up to the veranda or are connected to the patio, but the pergola acts as a type of balcony overlooking the rest of the city or another fine view. Often inside of the pergola is a low, 1-2 foot tall stone platform (which may have a couple of low stairs for easy access). On top of this platform large cushions and pillows are placed, and here a lazy day can easily be spent reading, eating, or chatting with friends. These pergolas are often decorated with linen drapes or grape or flower vines.
Magical charms are used for a variety of purposes in architecture. Charms are often carved into the doorways and the window frames to encourage insects from getting into the building. Flea charms are an excellent and popular investment. Hiring a charmcaster can be expensive for such complex charms, but it is generally seen as worth it to avoid the diseases fleas can carry. Charms can also be used to ward the building against water, fire, and other damage, as well as designed to alert a homeowner to invaders.
Themblise roads are broad, with at least enough room for two wagons to pass side-by-side. The greatest roads are more than double this width. In materials, the roads differ widely depending on where they are built. Country roads are often no more than leveled dirt, and may be much narrower than a proper Themblise road. Better maintained roads are leveled dirt surfaced with gravel, and paving stones may be placed on top of this gravel. However, the best roads, such as the city roads and highways, have five levels to them. First, the planned road is dug down to the firmest earth, and then rammed to provide a solid base. Then, fist-sized stones are placed down next, followed by a mixture of broken stones and lime. Pounded potshards and lime are the fourth level, and it is finished with paving stones. These paving stones are often sloped in the center of the road to encourage water drainage. Sidewalks are typically only seen in the cities, and even then, they are not common.
Themblise bridges are made out of stone, and are arched in design. They vary widely in size, depending on whether they are a pedestrian bridge or meant for the transportation of wagons full of goods. Longer and larger the bridge, more arches it will have. Some bridges feature carved statues or fire pits for lighting, and some are simply ornate. Most of the time, however, bridges are simply a manner of getting to point A to point B, and are plain and boring to look upon.
In the country, shadufs are used to draw water with ease. These counterpoise lifts make it easy for an individual person to draw water up hills and is surprisingly efficient. Sakias are used to draw large amount of water out of a well or a body of standing water through the power of creatures. Typically, a couple of hired horses or cows are used to power the water wheel of the sakia. Norias are akin to the sakias, except they use the motion of a river to power the wheel, and draw water up. Norias are often combined with little canals or aqueducts to transport the water into towns and cities. Aqueducts often run underneath a bridge, and a bridge/aqueduct combination can usually be recognized by its double layer of arches (although some will have more layers of arches, if it is larger). City wells, fountains, pools, and bathhouses are filled with water collected from these aqueducts and norias.
Plumbing is practically unheard of in the countryside, and sewage is typically dumped into a cesspool or into a nearby river. In cities, sewage is better maintained through terracotta pipes and underground canals. The waste water from the bathhouses are used to flush sewage from the public latrines and private residences (only the very wealthy can afford plumbing). Sewage is collected through public latrines which have special canals for dumping household waste in addition to public restrooms. All of this sewage is then flushed into the nearest river.
Themblise very rarely have beds raised on bed frames. Instead, the mattresses, filled with hay, are placed directly on the floor. This practice stems from the fact that many Themblise citizens are too heavy to be supported on a bed frame. Beds are sometimes placed on a raised dais in one corner of a room with a ramp or stairs leading up to it, but this is more of a stylistic choice than anything. Charms are often placed around the bed to discourage fleas, bed bugs, and other unwanted insects.
Cushions are a popular choice of relaxation among the citizens of Themble. However, chairs, benches, and couches also provide an excellent resting spot for shorter creatures who need a bit of a lift to have a pleasant conversation with towering others. Certain animals, like horses, cannot lay down for a long period of time, and prefer resting while standing. However, a good horse host will always supply a stool or bench for their guest, so that the guest can be more relaxed. Other creatures, like humans and cupidines, prefer chairs and couches because they are more comfortable to their anatomy. Themblise couches are wooden with cushions and pillows placed on top of them, and they commonly are rather wide.
The height and size of Themblise tables changes depending on who owns them and what their needs are. In public areas, tables usually come to the hip or waist of the average human, with a bench or stool next to it for those who need a boost to reach the surface. This allows the table to be useful to the widest amount of creatures.
Common decor are painted pots full of a wide variety of plants, large and small. Painting or having a mosaic installed on the lower third of a wall or walls is very popular, as are placing them around windows and doors. Painting and carving furniture is used to brighten an otherwise dull room, even if it is a little bit of an accent than a full statement piece. Rugs, including braided rugs made out of rags and scraps, are an excellent way to bring warmth to a room. Embroidered curtains are cherished by the poor, while the wealthy may hang yards of fabric for a bold splash of color. More colorful and ornate the decor, more wealthy the owner is likely to be.