Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Last Back Wall - and Beyond!


And so I've reached the last back wall of the Villa del Vigneto; at least, it's the last back wall on the lower level. Although there was some delay (not my fault) and some procrastination (entirely my fault) the completion of the villa's lower level could not have been timed better. Now I'll start a new level of the villa as I begin a new year. There's a sort of rhythmic beauty at work here! 





This bookcase for the living room was the first intimation I had that the hard-to-reach back walls of the villa might pose a problem, although at the time, I was more concerned that the bookcase might not fit through the living room's front arch after the ceiling was installed. (See the July 31, 2016 blog post.)  I didn't realize the full extent of the problem until much later, when I was ready to install the kitchen ceiling. At any rate, the "contrived" bookcase was the first piece of furniture that I had ready for the villa living room.



I chose this settee and chair for the living room and later decided that I didn't like the light wood finish on the settee; I darkened the finish with a black/brown color wash so that it would match the chair. (I had refinished half the piece before I remembered to take a photo.) As you will see in a later photograph, I also refinished the piano in a darker color; I simply could not like that light finish! 



The final dark finish on the settee.



After all that refinishing, I changed my mind! I found these two pieces that seemed a better fit for the villa. (I'll find space for the discarded chair and settee in another room or another house.) Of course, I had to do a makeover. The barrel chair sat so low that it looked distinctly odd, and the metallic gold upholstery fabric had much too high an opinion of itself. However, the loveseat required no attention at all - a very rare occurrence!  



I needed to add height to the chair, so I started with the feet. I found an assortment of beads that I stacked and glued to the chair legs.



I added varying sizes of beads until the chair seat looked level with the loveseat.



I painted the chair upholstery with Yellow Ochre, but that was much too yellow...



...so I added some Cinnamon to darken it - much better. I painted the "bead work" on the legs with a Walnut Gel Stain, which covered the beads nicely. I was feeling quite satisfied with the chair's makeover - until Robert expressed his opinion that the chair looks as though it's wearing those thick "leg warmers" that were popular in the 1980s or 90s! 



So maybe the chair still looks a bit odd - but it's a better odd than before! And it is the right height.



The light wood finish on the piano is gone, gone, gone; it's now a sort of brownish black. Mostly black. I painted the stool to match. The upholstered cushion on the stool was a very dark burgundy velvet, but it didn't look quite right - too much purple.



So I painted the cushion with a combination of Frosted Cranberry and Heritage Brick. There's only a subtle difference, but at least I got the purple out.

As I think I've mentioned before, I seem to always change each piece of furniture or accessory in some way; sometimes the change is a major one, sometimes small and subtle. Robert was visiting me in my basement workroom (which he sometimes does if I've been missing for an inordinately long time and he needs to communicate with me.) After watching my efforts as I sanded, distressed, and aged various pieces, he asked plaintively, "Can't they have anything nice?"

Well, nice maybe. But not new.



A COUNTER-CLOCKWISE TOUR OF THE VILLA LIVING ROOM



The tour begins just to the right of the villa's front window. The entrance hall is visible through the arched doorway.



Someone has been practicing the oboe - did we interrupt?



As we approach the desk, we have another view of the entrance hall and through to the dining room.



The desk is conveniently near the bookcase; important correspondence and research is sometimes required - even in a country retreat.



And even at night.









Beethoven is a silent observer of this musical family.






The fireplace and wall sconces create a cozy ambiance.



A longer view of the living room. (Note the odd chair with the warm legs.)



Another long view. The stone stairway in the entrance hall can be seen through the arched doorway.



And we're right back where we started from!

You may have noticed that, as in the other lower-level rooms, I DID NOT STOP with finishing the back wall; I did the WHOLE THING! When I put the ceilings on, which is the NEXT THING, I'll very likely need to undo everything I've done. Except, of course, the BACK WALL. That will mean much more time and effort - but so be it. I've had a lot of fun; and re-doing everything after the ceilings are on will mean that I get to have a lot MORE fun! That's what it's all about!



MEANWHILE



 Moving forward into the New Year, this is a task that is always waiting for me - Roman roof tiles for the Villa del Vigneto. I make the tiles from Sculpey and work on them sporadically, but sporadically needs to happen more often in 2017 if I'm to have enough tiles by the time the villa is ready for its roof.



The Roman tiles consist of a "hip" pantile and a "flat" pantile. I cut the clay from a pattern that I made from Sculpey. The clay for the hip pantiles is wrapped around a finger-shaped mold (also made from Sculppey) before I bake the tiles. I use both white and terra cotta Sculpey, but I've found that the white clay is easier to work with; the terra cotta becomes too soft and pliable and doesn't hold its shape as well as the white. Strange.



When I lay the tiles on the roof, they will look like this. The flat tiles, in Real Life, have a lip on both long sides; but since forming the lip would be very time consuming for something that won't be seen, I will form the lip only on the front row of tiles.

I currently have 169 hip pantiles and 151 flat pantiles. I estimate that I'll need between 1500 and 2000 total tiles to complete the roof.

"AND MILES TO GO BEFORE I SLEEP."
                                                                                            -Robert Frost 



I wish each of you a HEALTHY and HAPPY 2017, filled with Peace and Love and Kindness.




18 comments:

  1. So admire the work that you have done on the living room for a musical family...so worth it to have changed the colour on the furniture from light to dark. You have changed the ordinary into the extraordinary that perfectly fit the character of the home! Thank you for sharing....Cheers, Alayne

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to send such nice comments about my villa living room! This has been such a satisfying project - so far. I admit that it's going to be harder from this point; there are many more walls for the upper level, not to mention the doors and the hallways. YIKES! We'll see what transpires! I hope you'll check in again to see what's happening.
      Marjorie

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  2. Has avanzado mucho en la decoración del piso de abajo y ha tenido su recompensa,todo ha quedado precioso y perfectamente armónico con el estilo de la casa.
    Se ve tan relajante y hogareño!!!
    Besos.

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    1. Thank you, Pilar, for your nice comments about the Villa del Vigneto living room. I've been working on furnishing and decorating the lower-level rooms for so long that it's going to be hard to get back to the actual construction process. But now it's time to get busy and build that upper level. Wish me luck!
      Marjorie

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  3. It is absolutely amazing! I love it! And you must have the patience of a saint to make the roof tiles out of clay individually! And your abilities to stain furniture while the fabric is still on the wood is incredible! I would get the stain all over the place and ruin the fabric.
    And, although I agree with Robert about the chair's leg warmers, in the overall scheme of the room I don't notice it at all because I'm too busy looking at the bookcase, fireplace, piano, desk, etc.! It's all just amazing!
    Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comments, Lori. Making those roof tiles is a major project! I made canal tiles for my French Farmhouse, and that was a big job too. I think I used about 1100 tiles for that roof, and the Villa del Vigneto is even larger, so I need to keep moving along! It'll be a busy 2017 at this rate. But that's all good! Have a Happy and Fulfilling New Year!
      Marjorie

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    2. OOOHHH!!! Where are the pics of the French Farmhouse? I'd love to see that -- is there a blog post about it somewhere in the history?

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    3. Hi, Lori - I'd love to share my French Farmhouse (and the Adobe House) with you! If you go to my blog archive, you'll find the farmhouse posts starting on May 24, 2015, entitled "The French Farmhouse: Farmhouse Rock." The "Adobe Dreams: Part 1" post begins on Saturday, April 11, 2015. I'm so sorry that my computer skills (the lack thereof) won't allow me to create a link for you, which would be so much simpler. Please excuse the inconvenience.
      Marjorie

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  4. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
    I LOVE the tour!!! You are sooooo Lucky to be able to have the room within your living room for a grand piano as well as room to spare!
    I LOVE the look of your cosy arrangement in this space AND the extended views through the arched entry ways which adds Loads of realism inside your villa. Clever Girl!
    But of all of your OUTSTANDING achievements, I am going to give a standing ovation to your handmade roof-tiles! WOW Marjorie!
    Realizing that I am going to be needing a 1/2 ton of them too, I have been sourcing them on various web sites however they are very pricy for the quantity you receive plus postage, so I may have to resort to making them too.- YIKES!
    But what made you choose Sculpey over paper clay if I might ask? They look Wonderful and I am simply curious regarding your choice.

    elizabeth





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    1. Hi, Elizabeth - As usual, I'm so appreciative of your comments on my villa. Thank you. I wish you success on finding/making your roof tiles. I devised my "method" several years ago, when I first began building my miniature French Farmhouse. I knew that I'd need many, many clay roof tiles. I'm not sure if I even found any outside sources for ready-made ones at that time. So, through trial and error, I found a way to make my own. I'd been using Sculpey for various projects since about 1975, so I never even thought of using anything else, and I never explored other possibilities. In fact, I don't remember seeing or hearing about paper clay until I read a recent blog post, (it may have been yours) and my curiosity was aroused. And what a coincidence that you asked me about my choice of Sculpey over paper clay! I started researching paper clay, and it sounds great - much lighter weight than Sculpey, and weight is a major factor on a roof as large as the Villa del Vigneto will have. So today I ordered some online and can't wait to try it and see how it compares with Sculpey for the roof tiles. I usually buy most of my supplies from Hobby Lobby, because that store is so much closer to home than Michael's. But I don't remember ever noticing any paper clay - perhaps because I just wasn't looking for it. I do have a couple of concerns about the paper clay tiles. Storage might be a problem; I work on them willy-nilly as the mood strikes and time allows, so the tiles need to be packed away carefully in containers until I'm ready to use them. I'll need to make sure the tiles are sturdy and durable enough to withstand being stacked in layers for storage. I'll also need to determine whether the dried paper clay tiles will be easy to remove from the finger-shaped mold without breaking. I don't foresee any other difficulties with the paper clay, and I'm excited to start experimenting. I'll be reporting my progress. Thanks for inspiring this new experience!
      Marjorie

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  5. Hi Marjorie! Happy New Year! I'm sorry I am so late to come comment..... ! It is perfect timing for you to be done with the first floor of the Villa! I agree with you that there is beauty in that rhythm! And there is plenty of Beauty in the make-overs you have accomplished! You are so right to make the furniture a darker color! I LOVE how the pieces look in the Living Room... even the chair with the sock feet!!! :) Especially the chair with the sock feet....!!! LOL! Because I think it looks like a much older chair that would have been hand fashioned by an older relation a long time ago and is Completely original in design! Practical and beautiful and now a treasured heirloom! :) The gracious and serene feel of this room is wonderful! And I love all the musical instruments... obviously this family knows how to make music together! The Hearth looks fantastic with that warm fire and the elegant settee! I just love the care and thought you have put into the entire room's arrangement and what would be needed by the family living here!
    And the roof tiles you are making are Awesome!!! Wow! I admire that level of dedication to the correct style of building materials! Keep up the Great work! I can't wait to see more! :)

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    1. Hi, Betsy - And thank you for your lovely comments on the Villa del Vigneto living room. I love your creative background for the "sock feet" chair; I appreciate that chair so much more now that I know what a unique and treasured heirloom it is! The family is making its own demands, apart from any plans of my own - as evidenced by the musical instruments. I play no instruments and can hardly carry a tune, although I do go about singing constantly (and quietly.) There is also a violinist in the Villa del Vigneto family, but she prefers practicing in solitude in her bedroom. Have a Wonderful and Creative New Year!
      Marjorie

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  6. I love your living room. The darker color looks wonderful. The piano looks amazing and it's hadt to believe its the same one :). I love the chair and I think it fits in perfect with the rest of the furniture. Wow making so many tiles I am tired even thinking about it lol. Wishing you a wonderful Happy creative 2017.
    Hugs Maria

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    1. Hi, Maria. Your comments are very welcome, and so encouraging. I'm glad that you like the painted piano - it was a little scary to think about, but I just really wanted it to be darker. My hand was shaking when I first started to paint! But it was much easier than I had expected, so all was well after all. Thank you for taking the time to stop by. I hope that your 2017 will be wonderful as well, and that you'll spend it in good health.
      Marjorie

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  7. Hello Marjorie,
    What a spectacular living room! You re-finishing of the furniture is fantastic. Everything is just perfect now! I love the corner picture with the desk and the bookcase. It is such a cozy room. The fireplace is divine...everything is just gorgeous!!! I must also comment on your roof tiles, they look very realistic and I can't wait to see the roof once it is all done.
    Big hug
    Giac

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  8. Hello, Giac - Thank you for your comments on the Villa del Vigneto living room. I had a thoroughly good time putting this room together, so I really appreciate the positive feedback! I admit that making the roof tiles is more chore than fun, but I find it relaxing rather than taxing - just a hypnotic sort of repetition. The tile pile is growing verrrry slowly!
    Marjorie

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