This is the woman architect that has single-handedly designed and built more than 80 houses – despite having no formal qualifications – as all of the houses she is paid to build are being created in the virtual world of The Sims.
The young German woman has played ‘The Sims’ videogame since she was a child, and admits she never dreamed when she was younger that she would eventually be earning money to fund her studies from building virtual houses for clients around the world.
Katharina Dahringer, 25, from the city of Bruchsal in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, designs all her houses in the virtual world of the video game series ‘The Sims’ for up to EUR 250 (GBP 213) per house, and says the business is growing.
The 25-year-old woman, who studied art therapy and currently works in a children’s home, told Newsflash: “I’ve been playing Sims since the second grade with my best friend who showed it to me back then. It’s been a part of my life ever since.”
She explained that she is saving the money for her postgraduate studies: “This is an important additional income to my daily job, but I would never have thought that I would earn money from it!”
‘The Sims’ is a series of life simulation virtual realities which has sold nearly 200 million copies worldwide, and it is considered one of the best-selling game series of all time.
It has a concept based on a ‘virtual doll house’, according to its designer Will Wright, and has been on the market for over 21 years after its release on 4th February 2000.
Katharina said that she loved designing from an early age and added: “I loved building and creating. I built houses out of cardboard boxes and duct tape, and I even designed furniture out of wine corks and scraps of fabric.”
She then explained how it all began: “My friend started playing Sims and streaming on Twitch last January, so I offered to build a house for her. When people saw this they were interested where the house came from, so I opened an Instagram account to post my designs.”
Shortly after, in October and November, Katharina got her first clients who were reportedly from the US and requested that she designs their virtual houses for payment.
She has since built over 80 houses, villas, bars and cinemas which have earned her an additional EUR 400 to 900 (GBP 340 to 770) per month with the amounts increasing all the time.
According to the young woman, one of her US clients paid her EUR 200 (GBP 170) for a villa that took four days to complete, and additionally gave her a EUR 50 (GBP 42) tip.
Katharina explained that it takes her about 60 hours to build a house: “I spend 30 to 55 hours a week building Sims houses. The hourly wage is currently still very low, but I’m getting faster and faster.
I hope my small business ‘Katesimblr’ continues to grow. It’s always important to me to not just build a house, but build a real home where you feel comfortable and secure.”
Gamers can order Katharina’s living art concepts via the online platform Patreon where a house costs EUR 7.95 (GBP 6.79), while a four-house package costs EUR 25 (GBP 21.36).
The online designer, who enjoys cooking and cosy evenings on the couch with her fiancee who she is marrying in September, said: “The goal is to get more customers. The number of possibilities is infinite.”
The 25-year-old woman also stands against cyber bullying which she said she experienced after starting her business: “I have received some very disturbing messages like ‘I hope you die miserably’, ‘you are a f*cking Nazi’, and ‘I hope you get cancer’. I cannot understand how people can carry so much hatred and bitterness in their hearts.”
However, despite the negative comments, she mentioned she has received a lot of support as well and that she finds her job comforting and therapeutic.
Katharina is currently working on her own real-world dream home, where she wants to spend time with her fiancee in the coming years.