I don't really like to build block houses out of wood and stone; I just prefer to dig into the side of a hill, add a door and the entrance, and I'm happy. It makes it a bit harder to find but it looks better.
Did the 1.4 update fix the snow? It better have, or I'm going to have to threaten notch with a diamond sword
EDIT: Mobs killed by the sun now drop the items that correspond to them, like feathers for zombies. I'm pretty sure that in previous versions if they are burned by the sun they didn't drop them. This'll make wolf-taming much easier (provided I can find some) because bones are now dropped without the risk of being shot at! Also some creepers exploded near my house, but the newly-refurbished cobblestone reinforcements prevented the worst of it. I'll share some pics of the aftermath and my new lava-fall as soon as photobucket starts cooperating