Monday, May 1, 2017

Halls, Walls, Floors, and Doors

 As I have noted previously, the Villa del Vigneto was originally a farm house. The living quarters were located above the barn and various storerooms. When a banker from Venice bought the farmhouse and turned it into a country retreat for his family, the renovation included some major changes, mostly on the lower level. The second story changes were kept to a minimum, since the original space already included the living areas. Years later, the banker's son inherited the villa, and further renovation included installing a bathroom and electric lights, but the rustic simplicity of the rooms remained unchanged.


I accomplished a few more steps of construction in April. Perhaps you remember that a previous post showed the door that I made for the smallest bedroom. Here it is, hanging on its hinges just as it should be. The door opens into the back hallway.  

The small bedroom is located at the east (right) end of the villa and contains one of the few upstairs windows.

The last step in completing this room (except for the ceiling) was to mount the front wall. The large opening, as in all my houses, is for viewing purposes only. In reality, there is a solid wall that includes a second small window.

I also made a door, nearly identical to the first, for the center bedroom. This door opens into a shorter hallway that leads to the back hallway or to the stair landing on the left.

Another front wall is up! I secured the front walls with toothpicks and glue and applied spackling over the wall seams. This is a solid front wall as well, but instead of a window, it contains a door that opens onto a balcony.

Here are the two bedrooms shown in relation to the lower level rooms. The kitchen is on the east, and the dining room is beneath the center bedroom.


I realized, way too late, that I neglected to take a "before" photo of the shelf niche that I embedded in the back wall of the stairwell. You can sort of see the niche in the center of the above photo. The niche - I can't remember where it came from - was originally white plaster that I painted. It is about an inch deep, so it is a good fit in the 1 1/2" thick styrofoam wall. There is a flanged edge that finishes it off nicely.

The back stairwell wall - niche included - is mounted.

Here is a close-up of the shelf niche with a collection of "Venetian" glass.

This long wall separates the stair landing from another short hallway that leads to the master bedroom and the bathroom. The front half of the wall extends over the exterior courtyard.

This view shows the bedroom side of the long wall. The light isn't good, but you can just see the niche in the landing wall through the arched doorway.

Another view from the bedroom side of the wall, through the arched doorways on either side of the landing. 

The tile floor is going in on the stair landing. I've completed the edging around the four sides. I've also added a clock and a wall hanging (a rug) to the stairwell wall to keep the niche company. I bought the rug to use on one of the floors, but later decided that I'd prefer to keep all the floors bare. I think I like the rug better as a wall hanging anyway.

The tile floor on the landing is finished. I used the same size tiles as on the entrance floor below.

This is the last viewing through the two arched doorways on the landing. The wall that separates the master bedroom from the short hallway will block this view. Bummer. I really like this perspective. That framed print that hangs on the other short hallway wall will never be seen head-on again, either. I feel sort of like the Master of the Universe. Scary. 

Now that the landing floor is in, the next step is to build the remainder of the stair banister. I've measured for correct spacing and drilled holes for the spiral-twist nails. The nail heads still have to be cut off with a bolt cutter. 

The stair railing is complete, including the bead trim at the base of the balusters.

The third front wall is mounted! And I see a crack in the back corner that wasn't there before! Good Grief! It'll be easy to repair; would have been easier without that front wall. I'll need to patch it from the top.

This shows the entire stairwell from the ground-floor entrance to the landing. That bright white speck on the entrance floor is a fleck of styrofoam. Can't get rid of all that stuff! I'll need to damp-mop the whole house when it's finished.

Here is the entire villa in its present stage of construction.

And a second view.


Here is the back hallway without the back wall. It turns the corner at the end into the short hallway that leads to the center bedroom. The door on the left goes into the small east bedroom.

The LONG BACK WALL is up! The hallway suddenly became darker.

The wall mirror with a shelf was mounted in place before the wall was up, as were the two sconce lights. The seam showing near the front arched doorway still needs a treatment of spackling.

A longer view of the mirror and sconces.

I changed my mind about the placement of the paintings that I mentioned in my last post. I like the long panel better at the end of the hallway instead of on the wall near the bedroom. I also placed the urn on the floor instead of on a pedestal as I had planned. 

A better view of the smallest painting near the arched doorway.

The sconce lighting definitely helps brighten the confined space of the hallway.

This is a view of the wall mirror as seen through the doorway of the small east bedroom...

...and here you can see the side of the long panel and the urn against the back wall. This view is from the doorway of the center bedroom. You can also see, on the right near the door, the only view that will ever be possible of the tall print that you saw through the two arches earlier.

And so construction continues as I move on to the master bedroom on the west end of the villa. But that's a project for another post.


 Robert flew out to Port Townsend, Washington, (near Seattle) last month to attend a wooden boat class, where he finished the basic construction of a 14' wooden kayak. He left the boat at his brother's house in Port Townsend. Later in the month, Robert and a friend drove our pickup truck back to Port Townsend to transport the kayak to our garage in Lincoln. (That was a LOT of driving!) The photo shows Robert busy sanding on the boat in preparation for many applications of epoxy, fiber glass, and varnish. Then he'll add woodwork around the opening - and it'll be ready for the water. He's a novice at kayaking - so I'll have to leave the villa long enough to stand guard as he embarks on the maiden voyage. Thank goodness the kayak has just one seat; Robert can't invite me to join him!