At last! I have found a name for my Tuscan villa-fattoria. I was reviewing some photographs of a table setting that I assembled for a dinner party last spring, and suddenly all those grapes and vines made a clamorous bid for attention. I realized that I had overlooked the obvious; the villa has a grape motif on the living room fireplace, and there's a grapevine fresco on the dining room wall. A grape arbor shades the loggia, although at present the arbor is invisible except in my mind's eye. In the natural order of things, it seemed only fitting that the Villa del Vigneto, the villa of the vineyard, should be the official name of this farmhouse-turned-country retreat. So thus it is.
During all the days of August, I've accomplished only two things on the villa: I did some simulated "repair" work on the exterior stucco walls, and I made a stone path from the front entrance gate to the front door. This is, as a result, my briefest blogpost ever. Possibly in September, our kitchen remodeling will be Finally Finished, I'll reclaim my garage work space, and I can begin work on the second level of the villa. (If I can remember what I'm supposed to be doing!)
In one of my storage bins, I found these rectangles made from Sculpey for some abandoned project and decided that I could use them for the border stones in the courtyard pathway. I cut the rectangles into individual stones.
I experimented with several stone patterns for the pathway. You can see some of the repair work that I made on the stucco walls. The pedestals and the birdbath shown here will probably not be used in the finished courtyard.
When I knew that the border stones would work to outline the courtyard path, I applied some joint compound to make the pieces look more stone-like.
The white border stones are ready to paint with a darker finish. The cork coasters, prepared with joint compound and various paint colors, will be cut into rough squares and rectangles and used for the flat stones on the courtyard path.
The white Sculpey border stones have been painted to resemble real stones.
I practiced laying the square and rectangular flat stones so that I could get a sense of how they would fit together. It was necessary to cut some of them to fit in awkward spaces.
The border stones have been laid and glued down in my chosen pattern. I started laying the flat stones from the entrance gate forward to the front door, using Elmer's glue lavishly.
Laying and glueing more flat stones, working around the circle.
The stone path is in place.
I used a sponge brush and eye shadow to darken and age the stones.
Using a toothpick, I applied glue in some of the cracks between stones, then spread model railroad landscaping material, "coarse turf," liberally over the glue. After patting the turf down firmly, I waited for the glue to dry.
When the glue had dried, I used a soft brush to sweep up the excess "moss" from the cracks and continued sweeping carefully until just the right amount of moss remained between the stones.
Finally, I aged the stones a bit more, using different paint colors.
More model railroad landscaping material, "fine gravel," was used for the courtyard. I spread a generous layer of glue onto the courtyard, then spread the gravel evenly and pressed it down firmly.
The courtyard is finished, and I have repainted the stucco "repairs" with the same color of paint that I originally used for the exterior walls. I have a vague plan to use other paint colors on the walls and simulate more repair work until I achieve the look of aged and layered stucco. (More experimentation!)
I placed the remaining border stones along the right edge of the loggia to outline the trunks of the grape vines that will grow there, up and over the arbor, providing a pleasant, cool shade for dining al fresco.(You can see the vines if you close your eyes tightly and VISUALIZE, VISUALIZE, VISUALIZE.)
During a long lull in Project Kitchen, and to avoid the necessity of washing EVEN ONE MORE dish in the bathroom sink or making EVEN ONE MORE micro-wave meal, we escaped for ten days to Bison Hill, our Nebraska Sandhills home, which comes with a FULLY FUNCTIONAL kitchen!
From the east deck of Bison Hill, we watched the moon rise over the Calamus Reservoir.
And the moon was just setting in the west the next morning, almost in time for sunrise.
The cattle on the ranch to the west of Bison Hill show no interest in either the moon or the sun. Their
only interest is the green, green grass of their Sandhills home.
May all your September days be good ones - from sunrise to sunset; from moonrise to moonset.
Hi Marjorie! I think the work you got done looks Wonderful! And the name is Perfect! It is funny how those ideas sometimes seem to elude us until something random triggers the AHA moment... and then we can't imagine why we didn't think of it sooner! At any rate it is the Perfect name! Your courtyard looks so inviting... and I need to get the "moss" growing between all my bricks sometime soon, so I will be taking some cues from you! I am glad you had somewhere to get away to.... the last kitchen I rebuilt ran into an extra three weeks waiting for the sink.... and I had nowhere else to go and two young boys to feed! Your photos are gorgeous!!! I look forward to seeing more!ReplyDelete
Hello Betsy - You're right about that elusive name - and there it was, in plain sight, all the time! But I am happy that the villa now has a name; it does simplify things a little. I do admire your endurance in going through a delayed kitchen remodel with young children! We sometimes had to feed our grandchildren, but not often. Robert and I are both very patient with understandable delays, but even our patience wears thin after a while. But it's almost over! Just a couple of minor details left to go! I'm excited to get back to the Villa del Vigneto in earnest! I've had enough "vacation!" Thanks for your comments, Betsy. It's always so nice to hear from you.ReplyDelete
Villa del Vigneto- what a GREAT NAME Marjorie! Isn't it funny how the name was right there all along and only needed a bit of a wake up to see how perfectly natural it was! It is always such a great pleasure as well as an education when I visit your blog and I have to agree with Betsy that the stones with the moss at the entrance gate looks Terrific! I like your mix of hard surfaces especially the gravel, and I can already imagine the look of the grapevine over the loggia! :DReplyDelete
I'm sure that you needed the time away to keep your sanity when it came to your kitchen renos but I'm glad that your back to work on your Villa because you in turn inspire and keep me motivated too! :D
Hello, Elizabeth - Thank you for your positive comments on the Villa del Vigneto. Even though August was a mostly unproductive month, I was happy to be able to accomplish something! I'm so glad that you like the villa's name; you were one of the motivating factors that kept me searching for a name. Otherwise, I could well have dawdled indefinitely. But after seeing Villa Leone, named so promptly and so aptly, I had to keep moving! I'm eager to resume work on the villa, although September is one week gone already, and I've done nothing except work at reassembling my real life kitchen. But Villa del Vigneto is making impatient noises from my workroom; I'll be back down there soon!Delete
That name rolls on the tongue so beautifully. It is simple but works so well and sounds incredibly elegant. Great choice! The entrance is just stunning. Your shaping and painting of the stone was beautiful to begin with, but the moss really elevated it to a new level. It is incredibly realistic and just fits perfectly. I visualized the al fresco dining and I'll be there...I'll bring cannoli!
I despise real life renovations and am glad you were able to get away. It is hell, but it will all be worth it when it is done. Hang in there!
Hello, Giac - What beautiful comments you made on my villa's name! Now I like "Villa del Vigneto" even more. Thank you. Thanks as well for commenting so favorably on the entrance path; I thoroughly enjoyed working on that. I am looking forward to having that loggia finished - complete with grape vines. Looking forward especially to that cannoli! Bring lots! Our real life kitchen is usable now, although not quite finished; but we rejoice!Delete
Fantastic name and just perfect for your villa. I love your court-yard it is gorgeous and looks so real. The bricks and flat stones are amazing. Thank you so much for all your wonderful sharing. Enjoy your new kitchen when its finished :)ReplyDelete
Hello, Maria - I'm so glad that you stopped by to view Villa del Vigneto and am happy that you like the name and the courtyard. That was a fun project. And it kept my mind off the kitchen remodeling! Which, by the way, is almost finished, and we're loving it. Thanks for your very welcome comments!Delete
I love the walkway! It looks lovely! And I can't wait to see the grape vines growing up around the loggia...I want to visit and spend an evening with a glass of wine, sitting there watching the sunset at Villa del Vigneto! When can you shrink me down?!?!? LolReplyDelete
Hi, Lori - Thanks for your imaginative comments. I've been working on that shrinking-down process for a long time; it's sure to be perfected by the time the construction of Villa del Vigneto is complete. I'm looking forward to your sunset visit!Delete
Retomar de nuevo tu proyecto de Villa del Vigneto con el camino de piedra te ha quedado perfecto, el color muy natural y la hierva una idea fantástica; así que estaré esperando la remodelación de la cocina.ReplyDelete
Las fotos de su estancia en Nebraska invita al descanso, tiene que ser un placer estar en esos parajes que transmiten paz y sosiego.
Hello, Rosa Maria - Thank you for stopping by Villa del Vigneto! I appreciate your comments about the stone pathway in the courtyard. And yes, the Nebraska Sandhills provide much peace and tranquility; we love going there to relax. (Especially while our kitchen was in pieces!) I hope to post a few photos of the finished remodeling project.Delete