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! 


  1. Que bonito ha quedado el dormitorio,la chimenea es perfecta,los colores combinan y se funden agradablemente!! La adición de la ventana en el pequeño pasillo,ha sido un acierto,da más luminosidad y queda perfecto!!!

    1. Hello, Pilar - Thanks for taking the time to visit the Villa del Vigneto and for making such lovely and encouraging comments. I always appreciate hearing from you.

  2. Hello Marjorie,
    That bedroom is beautiful. It is a great size and the fireplace is perfect in the space. I also must say I love the over mantel. you chose the perfect artwork. The sliver of a window was indeed a great idea. It draws attention and lights an area that might have been overlooked or not very noticeable. The last wall already! I don't want this to end!!!
    Don't worry about a construction schedule. My due date for finishing the manor was 2014! Artwork cannot be rushed. I laughed when you mentioned Robert thinks you have an overactive imagination...I see the Atlantic sea and rose gardens outside my dollhouse windows ;)
    Keep up the amazing work!
    Big hug

    1. Hi, Giac - Thank you once more for your encouragement; I always value your opinion. At this point, I especially appreciate your opinion that I shouldn't worry about a construction schedule!I I do need to plan ahead carefully so that I don't do the wrong thing at the wrong time. (Or the right thing at the wrong time?) But I won't hurry, because I don't want this to end either. I'll try to develop more of your patience. 2014? Really? Then I have lots of time! It's good to know that I'm not the only one "seeing things" through windows. Your Atlantic view sounds beautiful, and I'm definitely hoping that I'll be seeing a rose garden soon!

  3. Great post - I like to seeing progress and your thought processes. Great job on the kit bash - I am guilty of that on many projects too. I like the stencils too. I'm also glad to see a little light in that hallway! Keep up the good work.

    1. Hi, Troy - Thanks for stopping by the Villa del Vigneto. I appreciate your comments and am glad that you like the stenciling. And of course, it was in part your question about a window (or lack thereof) that inspired the hallway window. For that, I thank you very much!

  4. I love your bedroom and I will come back for a visit, I too hope June is a long and lazy month cause I've got a few projects of my own to finish

    Marisa :)

    1. Hello, Marisa - I'm glad you like the way the bedroom turned out. I'm looking forward to getting all the rooms furnished - that's the really fun part! But it'll be a while before I reach that point. Meanwhile, thanks for visiting the Villa del Vigneto again. I hope you make good progress with your own projects.

  5. Los proyectos y más el tuyo que es una Villa impresionante, lleva un trabajo de titanes, así que con calma seguro que la terminarás a tu gusto. El aspecto de la ventana me encanta, me recuerdan a las casas castellanas de mi tierra. La chimenea preciosa y el suelo perfecto ; te deseo un feliz fin de semana .Besos:-)

    1. Hello, RosaMaria - Thank you for visiting the Villa del Vigneto. I appreciate your encouraging comments about the villa's bedroom. I especially like that the windows remind you of Castilian houses - that's a nice compliment!

  6. WHoo Hooo!!!! I am soooo Glad that you "defied tradition" and had the Venetian banker listen to his sensible wife regarding the "sliver of a window" in the hall because what a Positive difference it makes to that long view down the hall; it is so much more interesting light and inviting and offers the viewer even more of an opportunity to peek inside!
    Your master bedroom is taking on the aspect of a cool and relaxing retreat. Your fireplace is of the right proportions and the touch of golden brown really warms it up without taking away from the coolness of the stone. The painting of the "Virgin of the Grapes" is absolutely IDEAL- she was meant to be there! ( I'm glad that you tried the slurry idea because it really looks good! :D )
    I think that your Villa del Vigneto is turning into a hot vacation spot for MANY miniaturists who are looking for a place to mentally escape to and relax!
    Bravissima! :D


    1. Hi, Elizabeth - I'm happy, too, that the hallway window "happened." It does make such a difference. I agree that "The Virgin of the Grapes" was just meant to be over the fireplace; it thrilled my heart to find that painting! And thank you for the slurry idea; I know I'll find many uses for that technique. The Villa del Vigneto will happily welcome any and all visitors who need a bit of relaxation - just as soon as the chaos of construction is over. (By then, I'll need a long vacation myself - and I know just the spot!) Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth, and thanks for your encouragement and your great ideas.

  7. I love your imagination! The Villa would not exist if it weren't for that overactive imagination!
    The bedroom looks wonderful and you got a lot done this month! So exciting!

  8. Thanks, Lori. My imagination does tend to run wild on occasion, but that usually generates a lot of fun. And what a hum-drum time miniaturists, especially, would have without that added spark of our imaginings! I appreciate, as always, your taking time to stop by the Villa del Vigneto to see what's happening.

  9. As always, your blog is a delight to read... and I do think the "sliver of a window" was a wonderful idea. I am amazed by the amount of detail in every house you build.

  10. Thanks, Meghan - I appreciate your taking time to read my blog and leave a comment, especially when I know that you took some of your homework/study time to do it. I'm glad that you like the new window; I'm sort of partial to it myself!
    Your mom...

  11. Dear Marjorie, I am sorry to be so late to come visit all the marvelous additions to the Villa! And I am thrilled to have been able to inspire your sliver of a window! :) It does make a wonderful addition to the tantalizing glimpses into the house! I might have suggested, but you have chosen the spot and worked up the details! I LOVE it ALL!!! The fireplace in the Master bedroom is beautiful and intimate in right for the bedroom! I think the layout of the rooms in this Villa is part of what is so wonderful about this house... not only is there a well thought out history, but there are intricate passages and glimpses into and through the rooms. I think we all love to look into those windows and imagine being there! Your progress has been excellent and I'm glad to hear it is "ahead of schedule"! Keep up the great work! I can't wait to see more!

  12. Hi, Betsy - I always appreciate your comments, whenever they may come! I hope your wrist will soon be back to full strength and dexterity; I've missed your varied and inspiring posts. Thank you for stopping by the Villa del Vigneto to view my progress. I had a good time building the fireplace and putting in that back window, which seems to have earned unanimous approval - so I appreciate your input. I'm still having fun this month, so please visit again and see the next new thing!

  13. Love the look of your Master bedroom...especially that fireplace!

    1. I'm so glad that you stopped by the Villa del Vigneto! I had such fun building that fireplace; it's a little more ornate than ones I've made before - but I thought it needed some extra "oomph" since it's quite small. I appreciate your comments, and I hope you'll visit again.

  14. I really appreciate your professional approach.These are pieces of very useful information that will be of great use for me in future.



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