Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Master Bedroom - Top to Bottom

The walls of the Villa del Vigneto keep going up, as construction moves forward faster than I imagined it would. The only thing NOT going fast is work on the clay roof tiles that I'll be needing in the near future. I think. I admit that I haven't established a construction schedule for the villa beyond completion of the second-level rooms. Ceilings are needed; more electric lights are needed; a roof is needed; chimneys have to be erected; three balconies are waiting to be built; the windows have to be trimmed; the entire exterior has to be stuccoed and painted; a grape arbor must be grown on the loggia; a wall or a fence is needed around the boundary; and landscaping has to be completed. Whew! If laying the roof tiles is done last, I may have them ready in time. The tiles are simple to make, but the process is very time consuming. If I don't remember a pressing reason for the roof to be tiled sooner, then I'll definitely plan to wait for later!


This is the west end of the villa - and the last area to need walls. The dark color is the space for the master bedroom and a short hallway. The white area at the back will be the bathroom. Before the renovation of the original farmhouse into a villa, the entire area was used as both kitchen and living space. During the first renovation, the back area was turned into a small bedroom that also served as a nursery over the years. When the time eventually came to install plumbing, the small bedroom was an obvious place for the villa's new bathroom. 

 The master bedroom has one window on the west wall. As usual, I had to do some "bashing" to get the window that I wanted.

 I used a clear, medium-weight plastic for the window panes and filled gaps in the frame with a spackling compound.

The window pulls are identical to those that I used on the east bedroom window - drawer pulls turned sideways. They make ideal pulls for the window. I was intrigued by the "view" from this window; the wall is free-standing on my work table, but I see a body of water, a rocky shore, a rise of low hills in the background, and possibly a flock of birds flying high in the upper right hand corner. I have no idea what objects were on the other side of the window to create such a scene. A mystery! (Robert thinks that my imagination is way overactive.)

The master bedroom  has a small fireplace - a reduced remnant of the original kitchen fireplace that was for many years the only means for preparing meals for the farm family. This photo shows my first step in building the fireplace: I cut a firebox into the thick styrofoam wall and applied a layer of joint compound (or drywall compound.)

The next step was to cut the basic components of the fireplace from styrofoam.

More joint compound was applied over the entire structure and firebrick was "carved" into the joint compound after it set up a bit.

I added an overmantel that received the same treatment.

This is an assortment of "embellishments" that I found to add to the fireplace surround. I coated all the pieces lightly with joint compound.

The layers of joint compound have been sanded, and I outlined the front with a "twist" detail.

Pierre Mignard's "The Virgin of the Grapes" seemed ideal for the overmantel decoration.

Before framing the print, I faded it with a thin slurry of water and joint compound. (An idea from Elizabeth from Studio E. Thanks, Elizabeth!) 

All the embellishments are in place, and I've drilled a hole in the back of the firebox for a lightbulb that will create a "fire."

I've applied a base coat of dark gray to the fireplace structure. 

I wanted the fireplace to be similar to the wall color, with minimal contrast. The bed will need to be very close to the fireplace, so I hope that the crowding will be less obvious if the fireplace blends in with the wall. I painted over the gray with an off-white color, then wiped off just enough of the white to allow a bare minimum of gray to show. Not quite right.

I brushed on a creamier white and the barest bit of Golden Brown. Better.

After dry-brushing on more Golden Brown, I was satisfied that the fireplace and the bed can live together peaceably.

I needed a stencil for the bedroom walls, but really did NOT want to cut my own; I feel blurry-eyed for hours after cutting those teensy things! Fortunately, I found a ready-cut stencil that was a perfect pattern. Unfortunately, I wanted only a small portion of the whole thing.

I taped off just the portion of the pattern that I wanted to use.

I started my stenciling with the fireplace wall...

...and continued with four more.

As an afterthought, I added a bit more detail to the stenciled pattern.

And FINALLY, the first master bedroom wall is ready to secure in place.

The second wall, which separates the bedroom from the bathroom, is also in place, and I've run a bead of spackling down the corner, being oh so careful not to mess up the stenciled area. The lamp on the floor is wired in, so must be worked around as it patiently awaits its own table.

Two more walls are up! (I built the short wall and the doorway wall as one unit, so I count it as only one wall.) 

All the bedroom walls are up except the front one - now it's time to touch up the paint in all the spackled corners. Then I'll begin laying the tile floor.

I laid tile in the short hallway first, working from both the front and the back. I used more of the smaller tiles left over from the downstairs floors and the long back hallway.

But I had to paint and cut more 1" squares from cork coasters for the bedroom, using the same technique that I used for the downstairs floors and for the other two bedrooms. 

Cutting and cutting and cutting. The cork cuts very easily, thankfully.

Most of the tiles are down...

...and all are down.

Some aging has been done, and I applied a light coat of satin varnish. Finished!

Working on two more doors - one for the bedroom and one for the bathroom.

The bedroom door is hung, and there's a glimpse of the stair landing through the door and around the corner.

The bedroom's front wall is up! 

There will be a long balcony outside this bedroom, just as the center bedroom will have.

The master bedroom is situated just above the living room.
How dark the living room is when the lights are off!


I did an about-face regarding a window for the long back hallway! Traditionally, there wouldn't likely have been a north window in the original farmhouse, because of the necessity to keep the house cool in the summer and to conserve heat in the winter. In addition, glass panes for the windows were exorbitantly expensive. When a Venetian banker bought and renovated the farmhouse, he was content to leave the hallway dark and windowless; but he was vehemently overruled by his wife and three young children, who took an immediate dislike to that long, gloomy space. The banker reluctantly gave in to their wishes, but he compromised by having only a sliver of a window cut in the thick stone wall. In a later renovation, a glass-paned door was cut into the east end of the long passage, and electric lighting was installed, making the hallway much more pleasing. But the sliver of a window remained untouched. 

The Villa del Vigneto has Troy, from Tulsa Tiny Stuff and Betsy, from Daydreamer, to thank for the new window in the back hallway. Both had questions and comments about a lack of windows, which made me start thinking seriously and belatedly about installing one. That window side will be against a wall, which is a drawback, and all my electrical wiring will be on that north wall, which is a second drawback. Nevertheless, I persisted in thinking about that "sliver of a window" (Betsy's inspiring words) and finally decided to just do it!

After I made the decision to cut, I was so eager that I forgot to put down a "dropcloth," and I didn't even move the urn from the floor! That was a mess to clean up! (Thanks, Troy and Betsy!)

The sliver of a window is small, but enough light enters to brighten the short hallway that leads to the center bedroom, as well as providing more light for the long back hallway.

The window frame and two panes have been installed, and I created a window pull from some odds and ends. This view looks out the window from the doorway of the center bedroom. Now that the window is in, I love it and am so glad that I did it. Defying tradition can be a good thing!


You may remember seeing this photo in a previous post, when all these walls for the upper level of the villa were stacked up and ready to install. 

And now - this is the LAST WALL remaining to be installed. I am making progress! Please come visit the Villa del Vigneto next month to see what happens to this lone, last wall.

I hope the month of June will be long and lazy for all of us!