Sunday, July 31, 2016

Loggia Floor, Doors, Bookcase, and Front Arches

The lower-level interior rooms of the Tuscan Villa-Fattoria are nearing completion. I've also done some work on the loggia and applied a coat of primer to the exterior. I think I'm dragging my feet a little, because the upper level of the villa is going to be much harder to build than the ground level; it needs a slow and sure approach.

The "slow" part will be helped along by the fact that we're doing some remodeling in our real-life kitchen, and all the long folding tables that I need for cutting big pieces of styrofoam are now being used in the garage to hold every single item from all our kitchen cupboards and the pantry. So I have neither a work surface nor garage space for the villa project for at least three more weeks. 

Meanwhile, I do still have various things to finish up on the ground level, so I'm trying not to think too far ahead to all the hard work that awaits. (But what am I saying? This can't be Hard Work! This is Having Fun! I forgot myself for a minute there.)

This will be the loggia, which opens into both the kitchen and the dining room. I needed to lay the loggia floor before I could hang the doors for those rooms. I made the flagstone floor from painted and torn pieces of cork, just as I made the kitchen floor, which was shown in my last post. This photo was taken before I added sand to fill the spaces between stones.

Apparently, nothing in my villa meets any standard measurements, so I needed to construct the two doors that lead from the dining room into the kitchen and loggia. Robert, who sadly lacks confidence in my math and measuring skills, volunteered (much too eagerly) to cut the doors and the trim pieces that I wanted.

The Master Measurer smugly at work.

While I waited for the doors to be built, I painted the brass hardware black...

...followed by a few dabs of Russet to add a slightly rusty finish.

The kitchen side of one door gets a coat of creamy white paint.

I added some sage green paint to the kitchen door to highlight the trim pieces. The door on the right belongs in the dining room.

I found a stencil just the right size and stenciled both dining room doors; I also added a little wear and tear to all the doors.

All the hinges got the same paint treatment as the door knobs and backplates.

The door on the left will lead from the outdoor loggia to the dining room.
I attached the hinges on the doors easily by following the instructions on Lori's blog, "Works in Progress." Her hinge tutorial is entitled "Small Hinges for Doors." Thanks, Lori. (Sorry, but I haven't figured out how to create a link to another site. My computer skills are right up there with my math and measuring skills.)

The two dining room doors are ready to hang. We will none of us point out to Robert that the panels on the doors are not the same size. He is, after all, the Master Measurer; we're possibly only imagining the measurement discrepancy. 

The doors are hung; I had to wait for the glue on the hinges to dry before I inserted the nails.

The view from the kitchen into the dining room and out to the loggia.

The exterior loggia door is closed, but I left the kitchen door slightly ajar.

A view of the doors from the dining room side.

Time for one of my improvised "makeovers." I need a wide bookcase for the end wall of the living room. I gathered some moldings and trim pieces and embellishments to add to the unfinished bookcases that I bought.  

 I could not find any parts that I could use for the top of the twisted wood trim pieces that hold the bookcases together.  So, as usual, I turned to Sculpey and made some things that are the right size; that's about all I can say about them. But they work.

 Except that I failed to foresee that the flame-shaped Sculpey pieces would make the wood pieces resemble giant birthday candles! 

I stained the bookcase with a coat of walnut gel stain.

And added a second coat...

...then a final third coat, applied very liberally to the candle flames!

After I filled the shelves with books and other objects, I placed the bookcase against the back living room wall and felt very pleased with myself for remembering to get it in place before the front arch and the ceiling are installed. But then - after all the self-congratulations, and after the front arch was put on, I discovered that the bookcase actually fits just fine going in or out through the arched opening that I was sure would be too small. And then I finally remembered that ages ago, when I first planned the bookcase, there were going to be FOUR shelf units instead of three, so that the entire wall would be filled. And four shelf units did not fit through the front arched opening.

But I also want a piano in the living room, and the only place for it is in the corner where the fourth shelf unit would have been. So - I sacrificed the fourth shelf unit for the piano space. And now I must find a safe place to store the bookcase for who knows how long? There are some dusty, messy projects ahead in the villa, and I definitely don't want the bookcase in the living room getting shaken and dusty now that it isn't necessary!

Speaking of the front arch, here it is, installed and sealed up with a spackling compound.

The front entrance arch received the same treatment... did the dining room...

...and finally the kitchen. 

All the arches are ready for a final layer of joint compound and a light sanding...

...followed by a coat of primer, which I applied to the two end walls as well.
So - I'm making some forward progress, and the villa is beginning to look like a potential home. Now, if I can give the villa a name soon, I'll feel that I'm really movin' on!  

This photo was taken on the deck of our Nebraska Sandhills home, which does have a name - we call it Bison Hill. Since our kitchen in Lincoln is torn asunder for the time being, we took our grandchildren, Junior, Sophia, and Leo, there so that we could get away from the remodeling dust and noise. They're all singing "Sun Go Down" to celebrate another gorgeous Sandhills sunset. 

I wish each of you a carefree August and many beautiful summer sunsets.


  1. Hello Marjorie,
    You have such beautiful grandchildren! I do hope the kitchen renovation will not take too long...I hate renovating my real never ends.
    The floor is gorgeous. The colors of the stone are really nice. The doors are also beautifully painted and very unique. It adds so much character to your project and looks really authentic. The bookcase came out very well and I'm glad it fits just right. You are really doing an amazing job on this project and I look forward to each new post.
    Big hug

    1. Hello Giac,
      Well, you're right about the renovation - it may never end! The completion date keeps getting changed, so I know it'll take longer than the original estimate, which was long enough. But it will be worth the wait. We hope!
      I really enjoyed this phase of my miniature construction; next will be just tying up some loose ends and waiting until I have my work space again.
      Thanks for your comments; I appreciate them, as always.

  2. Dear Marjorie,
    Do so enjoy seeing how this miniature house is the doors and how they were painted different colours on the two sides. What a lucky break to find a stencil that fit into the space available! The bookcases look as if they were made for the space and all the books look amazing. The colours used throughout the house for the walls and flooring are lovely. Enjoy those sunsets and lucky you to be having a kitchen will be worth the wait! Cheers, Alayne

    1. Hello Alayne,
      It's so nice to hear from you again! Thank you for your lovely comments. These were all fun projects, so I had a good time.
      Thanks too for your encouraging words about the kitchen renovation; actually, my husband is having a harder time than I am, since he's the family cook and can hardly bear having to "make do" with his invaded space. Of course, my clean-up tasks aren't convenient either, but we will get through it all!

  3. Hi Marjorie,I love your house the doors are amazing the stencil really makes them special. I love the bookcases they look wonderful.I am looking forward to seeing more of this wonderful house. Your grandchildren are beautiful. I am sure that once the kitchen is done you will forget about all the mess it took to get there lol. Enjoy your August.
    Hugs Maria

    1. Hi Maria,
      I'm so glad that you like the door stencils. That was something that I wanted to do from the very first plans that I made for the villa, so I'm very happy that it worked out the way I hoped! The bookcase wasn't so well planned, but it turned out okay after all, which was a relief!
      We, too, are counting on forgetting about the inconvenience of the kitchen remodeling once it's completed and we can stop feeling like campers in our own home.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Hi Marjorie! I have to commend you and your hubby on the making of and installation of your new doors. I love the way they look and it was sure nice of your hubby to help you get them made. :D
    Also LOVE the Loggia floor and the extra trims on your bookshelves. All of these added details really bring the character of the Italian countryside, home!


    1. Hi Elizabeth - Thanks for looking in on my villa. I was happy that there was something for my husband to help with. He's always so accepting of all the hours I spend with this project; it's nice now and then to be able to share the fun! I appreciate your comments; they mean a lot to me.

  5. Hi Marjorie! Sorry I am so late to comment! I am so very impressed with your hinges and doors!!! I must find that tutorial.... it looks like the hinges are placed the way door hinges actually are placed in RL.... between the door and the wall rather than flush on the surface (an older fashioned method!) I think the doors look wonderful (despite the measurement irregularities!) and could be "explained" by the householders re-purposing doors from different sources when they "expanded" their dining room! :) The work you did on the bookshelves is also just right for this house.... refined but not over the top! I also think the "front" walls you are building are very interesting! I have similar arched openings on the front walls of my Castle Dollhouse... (at least on the rooms that are done!) and I find it very intriguing how much they contribute to a sense of the room having a fourth wall! I think it is those front "corners" and having to actually look inside them to see the details of the room that somehow makes it feel more real and intimate. Anyway, you have made a huge amount of progress... from the floors on up, and it really is making the house "take shape"! Keep up the great work! I can't wait to see the next floors!

    1. Hello, Betsy - You may have been late with your comment, but not as late as I am in replying! Where does the time go? I had to chuckle a little at your remark about the repurposing of the doors. That was my thought exactly! I do like building "older" houses with a varied history; so many irregularities can be explained away! All the houses that I've built have only front openings and a solid back, so the arched openings just seemed a natural way to handle the front of the villa where there are only implied doors and windows. Thanks for stopping by and for all your thoughtful comments.

  6. I really like how this project is coming along - the loggia floor is great. Good job on the doors too! - It reminded me of an architectural client I was working with a few years ago. The office almost had the floor plans done for her house. She came back from a vacation in Mexico with a whole shipment of doors - all styles and all sizes. We had to re-work the plans to accommodate all of the doors. The book case came out really nice too. Looking forward to seeing your progress. Troy

    1. Hi, Troy - I almost missed this nice note! Thanks for stopping by to look at the villa. I enjoyed the "door" story - I'd like to have a whole shipment of miniature doors from which to choose! I appreciate your comments, as always.

  7. I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. cheap sonoma oak bookcase

  8. Really impressed! Everything is very open and very clear clarification of issues. It contains truly facts. Your website is very valuable. Thanks for sharing. sash windows

  9. I just found this blog and have high hopes for it to continue. Keep up the great work, its hard to find good ones. I have added to my favorites. Thank You. best zero gravity chair with canopy

  10. Great job for publishing such a beneficial web site. Your web log isn’t only useful but it is additionally really creative too. There tend to be not many people who can certainly write not so simple posts that artistically. Continue the nice writing Aegean College

  11. Need professional WordPress Web Design Services? We're experts in developing attractive mobile-friendly WordPress websites for businesses. Contact us today!


I'd love to hear your comments!