I spent a lot of time on Help Island when I was first rezzed, waiting for a better graphics board to arrive, so I went through the building tutorials several times. Still, when I'm just practising, doing drills as it were, I don't learn as well as when I'm working on a real project. And I had never done more than basic linking of prims.
So deciding to construct an entire building for my office was taking on a lot. However, there was no deadline, and if you make a mistake in Second Life, it's not too hard either to fix it or just start over.
Before I got started, my dear friend tree (tree, like some in SL, is not big on typing capital letters) gave me several textures that she had for clear glass and for some beautiful stained glass. Textures are how you change the basic plywood look of a default prim into something you actually want to look at. She also showed me something I'm sure I had learned but had forgotten, which is how to apply a texture to only one side of a prim. This is how you can make a totally cool thing—one-way glass. Create a prim, turn it into a wall, put glass on the inside and an opaque texture on the outside, and voilà, a skybox with a view but complete privacy! The glass in that picture works as glass only from the inside.
I started by building the floor, two 10m by 10m and one 10m by 7.5m (0.1m deep) prims linked together. I put a wood texture on the rear floor (I have a nice rug for it), a Spanish tile texture on the middle one, and a different tile texture on the smaller front one, the landing pad (outside the walls). The landing pad is where a teleporter will go, so people can beam up to the office but not be inside.
I then started building exterior walls, 10m by 5m by 0.1m panels, and put them in place around the floor. On most of them, I put slightly frosted glass on the inside and a peeling paint texture on the outside, which I later changed to granite. On the front wall, facing the landing pad, I put stained glass on both sides.
I did this work in stages, mainly at one particular public sandbox. A sandbox is a large, flat, open area where you can work on building projects. Most clean themselves up periodically. I chose one that allows objects to persist for six hours. The first time I took the partially finished house into my inventory, I learned that I had to figure out a better way to link prims! I thought I had linked all the floor and wall pieces, but it broke in two, necessitating a tedious refit the next time. I learned that it's possible to link prims in sub-assemblies so that you don't have try to click on each individual prim in series, an impossible task with something like a house.