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Skyrim Hearthfire Guide Part 1: Introduction
By chronodev (Ron)
Published on 08/28/2012
First part of walkthrough/guide for the Skyrim Hearthfire add-on. Includes basic tutorial on how to build your own house and adopt children.

Skyrim Hearthfire is the second official expansion (after Dawnguard) to the game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The Hearthfire DLC lets you place a permanent mark on the world of Skyrim by designing, building, and maintaining your own home.

How to build a house in Skyrim Hearthfire
(Note: This is just an outline of the player housing system. In the next parts of the Skyrim Hearthfire walkthrough we will go over these steps in more details)

Step 1: Purchase a plot of land.

Obtain a deed
Possible locations include:  Hjaalmarch, The Pale, Falkreath
See: How to buy a plot of land in Skyrim Hearthfire

Step 2: Use Drafting Table and Carpenter's Workbench
Use new crafting station: Drafting Table, Carpenter's Workbench to turn raw materials into your dream house room by room. In the drafting table, first choose an item to create such as Small House Layout (under MISC). Building materials for your house include locks, nails, iron fittings, and hinges.

See: How to build a House in Skyrim Hearthfire

Step 3: Room Building - Base Rooms
Build some simple rooms such as a kitchen, bedroom or library

Step 4: Room Bulding: Advanced Rooms
You can also structures such as a greenhouse, enchantress tower, or alchemy lab so that you can grow and craft your own items in your house.

Step 5: Furnish Rooms
Use the interior workbench to furnish each room with a large variety of craftable objects. You can showcase your treasures with simple display cases, and impress your friends with elaborate trophies, and even melted mud crabs, in your trophy room.

Step 6: Exterior
Fill out your backyard with a garden, fish hatchery, apiary (Bee hive) and other useful additions.

Hiring a Steward
To save time, hire a Steward, such as Rayya or Valdimar, to simply buy materials, and equip your household with furnishings. Stewarts can also provide several transportation options and your own personal bard. With your home completed, move in your spouse

How to make your spouse move into your house
After completing your house, talk to your wife and husband. You should see the following dialog option:
We could live in my house in Hjaalmarch.

Select this option to make your spouse move into your new home.

How to Adopt a Child
Skyrim Hearthfire includes an adoption system.When you talk to children, for example Lucia or Gralnach, you will see the following option:
"I could adopt you, if you want"

For more details on adopting a child, see: Skyrim Hearthfire Child Adoption Guide

Choose that option if you are interested in adopting the child. Once adopted, you can play games with them and allow them to have pets. Talk to the kids in your home and get options such as:
I've got something for you, Gralnach
Let's play a game
Go play outside, Gralnach
Go do your chores, Gralnach