Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Another Unreachable Wall

Construction on the Villa del Vigneto is moving along, but it's moving along slowly - thus another short post. But I did accomplish a few things. I've moved from the kitchen into the dining room, where the "unreachable" back wall presents the same problem that I had in the kitchen. Furnishing that back wall before the ceiling goes on has been my focus. 

These glass-fronted cabinets have been packed away for a long time, but they still look very new.  Too new. They need to grow much older in a short time.

I aged the cabinets with fine sandpaper and dark stain in select spots. I didn't want them to look shabby - just well used. Then I had fun filling the shelves with an assorted collection of objects. 

These ornate pedestals were in a box of things that I found at an estate sale; I'm not sure of their original purpose. They may have been intended for use as plant stands.

However, I had a different purpose in mind, but I needed to shorten them and cut out the center dowels. The pedestals will show up a little later in their repurposed form.

This is a 6" square of loosely-pressed cork. I was searching for something that I could use to contrive a marble tabletop; this seemed to have potential.

I cut the cork into a rectangular shape, then rounded off the corners.

I painted on an overall base coat of Antique White and pounced on Frosted Cranapple and Light Cinnamon. (That sounds very autumny and good to eat!)

I used plain white paint for the veining, following some of the natural lines in the cork.

The top seemed a bit plain, so I found a beaded chain and painted on a thick coat of bronze.

After I glued the beading around the edges of the tabletop, I sprayed the whole thing with several coats of polyurethane. 

The final step was to glue the tabletop to the pedestals, which have become (voila!) the new table base. I did, of course, forget to take a picture of the right-side-up version.

For a long time, I had been looking for two urns to place on the tops of the two dining room cabinets. I hadn't come across just the right thing, but I wasn't concerned; after all, there was lots of time before I would be ready to furnish the dining room. Then suddenly, there wasn't any time left - I needed those urns now! That unreachable back wall had to be finished. So off I went to Hobby Lobby, where I found two drawer pulls that might possibly resemble pottery or porcelain and were the right size and shape. I bought them and came home to look around for something that would serve as the lids, since I had my heart set on lidded urns. And amazingly, I remembered that I had seen two things a week or so before that I couldn't identify, and when I asked Robert what they were, he said they had been left behind by one of the men working on our new kitchen. He didn't know what they were for. I saved them in a plastic bag. 

So the two mystery things have become (voila!) the lids for the urns.

I painted the urns and lids a deep green and added gold and white to highlight the pattern...

...and the lidded urns are ready for the dining room cabinets.

After I added a lamp to the table, the back wall was finished! (Except for One Other Thing that I need for the table, but I have a little more time to find that Thing.)

Another view of the dining room back wall.

I did find some time to continue cutting the walls (and doors, windows, and arched openings) for the villa's upper level. I feel as though I'm in a race against the onset of cold weather. I do NOT want to work in the garage in the cold! But I still have all the stuccoing to do, which requires much drying time. And of course MUCH SANDING! Will the mild weather hold? Will I be out there turning blue and numb with cold? Will I shelve the whole villa project until next spring? Stay tuned.

One of the things that delayed progress on the villa this month was a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Robert was enrolled in a three-day cooking class. He is now well versed in the art of cooking red chiles, green chiles, corn tortillas, and chile rellenos. YUM!

Our visit happened to coincide with Albuquerque's annual Hot Air Balloon Festival, so we enjoyed the sight of hundreds of balloons floating high over the Rio Grande Valley, watched over by the Sandia Mountains to the east of Albuquerque. 

The blue, blue sky made a perfect backdrop for the colorful balloons

We brought back a souvenir - also colorful. We found this windmill at an Albuquerque antique shop. It's now anchored firmly in Robert's small garden at our Sandhills home.  We're hopeful that the rapid whirling motion of the blades will help deter all the critters who want first dibs on our garden vegetables. (I know, I know; wishful thinking!) But it's a fun thing to have, anyway.

I hope you all have a Happy November.


  1. Hi Marjorie! I love the cork "marble" you made! It really has that mottled look that some marble has! And the colors you chose work really well in your dining room! I think it is always so fascinating what things people find to "convert" into minis! Your little urns are a great example! And I have taken note about your technique for aging the cabinets.... I have yet to try to age any furniture... and I have some pieces that need it! You have given me courage because yours have turned out so well!
    I am glad you had such a good visit to the Southwest... I was passing through Albuquerque too on my way to and from my Mom's in September!
    I sure hope the weather keeps warm for you so you don't have to shelve the project 'til spring! I look forward to seeing the next pieces come together!

    1. Hi Betsy - Thanks for taking the time to post your nice comments. I hope you'll decide to try aging your furniture pieces - it's fun, and there are so many different ways you can do it that you almost can't go wrong. (I say "almost" because I have gone wrong!) But even mistakes can be corrected, so just go ahead with impunity! So far, our mild weather is staying with us - I had a good long session with styrofoam yesterday, and all the villa pieces are now cut and ready for joint compound. I may win this race yet!

  2. Preciosas las vitrinas y me encanta la idea de formar una mesa tan original y elegante con el corcho,ha quedado preciosa!!!
    Espero que no haga demasiado frío y puedas seguir adelante con el proyecto de la casa!!

    1. Hello, Pilar - Thank you for your lovely comments on my villa furniture pieces! As always, I had such a good time trying to make "something from nothing." I'm making some progress on the upper-level walls, and the weather is still warm, so I'm a little more confident that I can get this part of the project done before it's too cold. (If I hurry!)

  3. I like your cabinets (and the distressing technique) Great job on the transition from cork to marble too. The space is looking great. Keep up the good work - Troy

    1. Hi, Troy - Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your nice comments. I'm glad you like the "marble" table. I've discovered that cork is such a versatile material; I'm sure I'll be using it for other purposes as well.

  4. I can't wait to see "The One Other Thing" that will go on the sideboard with the lamp! It all looks great! I want to shrink down and move in (once the ceiling is on to keep out the cold :) ).

  5. Hi, Lori - You'll be very welcome to move right in, although that ceiling is encountering one delay after another, so it may be a while before the villa is ready for an occupant! Today I found a Thing that may well be The One Other Thing for the sideboard; not completely sure yet, but the Thing has potential. Look for it next time! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. !Que bonitas las dos vitrinas¡ y la pared del fondo me encanta la decoración con la parra. El resultado de la mesa ha sido fantástico con esa patas, muy bien acopladas.
    El viaje a Santa Fe estupendo con las cosas que vieron y esas suculentas comidas ,supongo que Robert las pondrá en práctica.
    El molino hace muy bien en su jardín , espero como tu proteja vuestro jardín . Besos:-)

  7. Hello, RosaMaria - Thanks for your nice comments about the villa dining room. I've enjoyed putting some finishing touches on that back wall. Yes, Robert has definitely made good use of the things he learned at the Santa Fe School of Cooking! The chile rellenos that he made for us were the best that I've ever eaten! Delicious! He has also made lots of red chile, which is one of my favorite things - almost anything is good covered in red chile! Yum!

  8. Hi Marjorie!
    I didn't realize that I had missed a posting of yours but I am glad that I checked and VERY glad to be here! :D
    I know all too well the 'UNREACHABLE " spaces which will become IMPOSSIBLE spaces once the walls go up. I completely understand the Imperative, and I commend you on the way in which you have aged the two china cabinets.
    You have given them just enough of an appearance of regular usage without them looking derelict; and your cabinets look Perfect! Love the shape of them with the bowed bases which to me looks very European.
    I also like the way in which you have filled each of the shelves with a Realistic collection of china, silver, and glassware, and the vases atop of each cabinet pick up the green in your hand-painted grape vine fresco on the wall, another terrific transformation. :D
    Your solution for the marble topped table is again Ingenious! I would have never thought that you could work such magic with cork but you are indeed the Alchemist, transforming it into solid marble which looks AMAZINGLY realistic!

    Reading about your husbands cooking lessons and the red chile he has made, has made my mouth water and now it's all I can think about- red chile -
    YUM! :D


  9. Hi, Elizabeth - I almost missed this very nice comment on my last post! I've been racing against time every day and find myself dashing from one thing to another - but I apparently didn't make any mad dashes to review my blogpost. I do appreciate your input on the work I've done on the villa's dining room; you have a wonderful way of saying just the right thing to increase my confidence and to spur me on to the next thing that waits. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and for leaving such encouraging comments.

  10. Hello Marjorie,
    I just realized I missed this post. The cabinets are beautiful...the ageing really does add to the realism, and they are beautifully filled. Your idea for the marble table top is inspired and the finished piece of furniture is just wonderful. Very well done and the urns also came out fantastic! I just love your work.
    Don't worry, I will be around. Renovations knocked the stuffing out of me, but they are done and I am back!
    Big hug


I'd love to hear your comments!