Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Let There Be Light - PLEASE!

Well, I have to tell you that installing miniature electric lights is nothing short of an electrifying experience, if not a downright terrifying one. The lights on the first level have been done for some time, but I have no memory of that project being such a struggle. Robert says my memory has malfunctioned. My husband, Robert, is my official electrician, and he sort of teaches himself as he goes. My abilities don't stretch to that, but he has taken me on as his apprentice, and I'm learning. Although I'm mostly learning to be afraid to touch anything in the villa that's electrical. If it works and I touch it, then it mysteriously stops working. And if it doesn't work and I touch it, then it's most likely jinxed forever and has only a slim chance of ever working. Robert sometimes asks me to please leave the workroom when he's exercising his electrical magic .     

The Villa del Vigneto has many electric lights, and I'm wishing that I had left it in some pre-electricity era, as I was content to do with the adobe house and the French farmhouse. But that's all behind me now, because thanks to Robert's patience and diligence and, in my opinion, sheer genius, all the lights on the second level are also in place and working. Until I forget and touch something.

These are the original chandeliers for the Master Bedroom (left) and the Center Bedroom (right). I added the medallions. And, as usual, I wasn't happy with the brassy brightness, so I did a makeover.

Here are the same chandeliers after I added some Burnt Umber, Black, Brown, and Gold paint.

The Master Bedroom chandelier has been attached to the ceiling...

...and the ceiling has been attached to the walls. The wiring is complete. And it WORKS!

The Master Bedroom also has a light in the fireplace -

and a table lamp. They both WORK!

The Center Bedroom chandelier has likewise been attached to the ceiling.

The ceiling is on, the wiring is connected - and the chandelier WORKS!

I planned to install two chandeliers in the bathroom. I forgot to take photos before I started painting over the brass, but the lower part shows the original finish. I first applied a white base coat.

The final creamy white coat of paint was enhanced by a metallic gold trim.

Both chandeliers were fully functional when I attached them to the ceiling. But when it was time to attach the ceiling to the bathroom walls, one light on one chandelier refused to come on. While Robert was looking for the problem, he broke the fragile glass globe over the bulb.  (He doesn't ALWAYS have a magic touch!) Bummer. I didn't want to postpone the completion of the project while I tried to find a source for another globe, so I opted to use only one chandelier.

I had to detach the chandeliers and patch, sand, and repaint the spots where the wires had gone through the ceiling.

The lone remaining chandelier is ready to hang - again.

All strung up and hung up and - it WORKS! Both lights!

The bathroom wall sconces have also been wired in - and they both WORK!

This chandelier hangs in the stairwell, but I forgot to take a photo before hanging it. This is one of my favorite chandeliers, from J. Getzan. I didn't do any makeovers on my Getzan chandeliers - they are perfect AS IS! The chandeliers in the living room and dining room on the lower level were also made by J. Getzan.

The WORKING chandelier - all lit up!

This little beauty is destined for the small East Bedroom, which belongs to the youngest daughter of the villa. I would introduce you, but I don't know her name yet! The only extra touch I made to this chandelier was to dull down the bright silver on the long chain. I also needed a medallion for the ceiling, for which I found a pretty button that I painted to coordinate with the chandelier.

That gorgeous color doesn't show up as well in this photo - but you can see that this chandelier actually WORKS!

 This is another of my favorite lights that belongs in the youngest daughter's small bedroom. This pretty little sconce has a heart-breaking tale to tell: It was in perfect working condition after it was all wired into the wall. But suddenly it decided not to work at all, and no amount of fiddling with it, rewiring it, or changing its plug made it come alive again. I was so sad. But Robert came to the rescue! He glued a tiny WORKING light bulb to the far side of the sconce. (You can see just a bit of it when it's turned off.)

When the sconce light is on, it's very hard to tell that the light doesn't originate inside the glass chimney. I was happy again, and so relieved that the light now WORKS1

This small ceiling light in the short hallway will probably never be seen, unless that sliver of a back window is accessible. (I took this photo through that window.) But it does light up the hallway, whether seen or not, because it's a WORKING light!

You've seen these sconces in a previous post; they light up the long back hallway - and they still WORK!

The Villa del Vigneto with the lights turned off.

And the villa with all the lights turned on.


And speaking of light, the Villa del Vigneto was visited by two of the grandchildren who light up my life!

Ruby peeks from the villa's Central Bedroom opening and through the short hallway toward the sliver of a window in the long back hallway. 

Leo peeks through the villa's Master Bedroom opening toward the bedroom window.

And to my blogger friends - Thank You for the encouragement that also adds light to my life. I hope that August will be an absolutely radiant month for you all!


  1. Hi Marjorie,
    Having just gone through the same kinds of electrical challenges of the lights not working on cue in my villa, I can fully appreciate what you've experienced regarding their fickle and iffy cooperation in Villa del Vigneto.
    Even so, I want to Congratulate you and your hubby for pressing through their head-strong resistance and gettin'er done anyway, because your lights look FANTASTIC!!!
    I love the way you have adjusted each of the fixtures to suit the space and even though you had to cancel one hanging chandelier in the bathroom it still looks Wonderful and the new creamy finish over the shiny brass has produced an Amazing Transformation!
    All of your lovely fixtures have made this villa come alive and I KNOW that you must be doing a happy dance about that! :D
    Well Done Marjorie and Robert and thank you for sharing your experiences because it was not only encouraging to read, but seeing how pretty it all looks with the lights all lit is pure Awesome Sauce! ♡

    and the photos of your 2 grandchildren peeking through the Villa windows are the cherry on top! :D

    1. Hi, Elizabeth - Thanks for sharing your own difficulties/frustrations with your miniature electrical system. Those lights are extremely "fickly and iffy" - and its good to know that maybe it isn't entirely due to our inexperience! But for the moment, at least, I am certainly doing a happy dance every time I switch those lights ON. I appreciate your nice comments - as always! Thank you.

  2. Yay! They work! I know it can be "touch and go" with the wiring... I have moments of anxiety about my Tree House wiring as that project keeps growing....! Not to mention the Castle wiring.... and the still incomplete Hardwick Hall! What a good job your husband has done to get them all working! You really have a beautiful collection of lights, and you have improved them with your painting and the ceiling medallions... they look great, every one! The Villa looks so wonderful when lit... I am glad you decided to go for the Light! And seeing the smiling faces of your grandchildren is a treat! This project just keeps getting more beautiful with every well thought out addition!

    1. Hello, Betsy - You have a good point about the way projects seem to "grow." The villa is my first - and last - project of such a size! Imagine all the electrical wires going every which way! It's a jumbled muddle, and I'm sure that there must be a more efficient method, but we haven't discovered it yet. My next projects are going to be way downsized! But for the moment - yes, I am glad that I decided to go with the electric lights, in spite of the frustration. There is something special about seeing the brilliant lights of the villa glowing in a dark room. That makes it all worthwhile! Thank you for your lovely comments and for your encouragement.

  3. Hello Marjorie,
    I am so glad you did choose to electrify the villa. The light really highlights the magnificent details and enhances the charm and beauty of your work. It would have been a shame not to electrify it. Your fixtures are perfectly position and perfectly finished to suit each and every room. The overall effect is so authentic and the rooms of the villa look even more realistic then before. Well done Marjorie and Robert.
    Big hug,
    N.B. Ruby and Leo are beautiful.

    1. Hello, Giac - Thank you once again for your encouraging comments. Now that the harrowing electrical experience is over, I feel very happy that I decided to electrify the villa. I know that I would have regretted not having those lights once the villa is complete. So I'm very happy and so relieved to have it over and done with! Long live the lights!

  4. The lights are looking great. I like the colors and effects that you have used on the fixtures instead of using the factory brass finish. Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi, Troy - Thanks for visiting the Villa del Vigneto and for leaving your nice comments. It was actually lots of fun to refinish the light fixtures, even though there are so many of them. (The fun ended there, of course.) But I'm glad, in retrospect, that I did electrify the villa - it looks very inviting all lit up!

  5. Preciosa y perfecta electrificación! La villa se ve ahora más cálida y auténtica,buen trabajo!!

    1. Hello, Pilar - Thank you for taking time to visit the Villa del Vigneto. Electrifying the villa was no fun, as I'm sure you could tell by my post! But I feel so glad that we persevered - all those lights shining in the villa now seem definitely worth the effort - and the many frustrations! I appreciate your nice comments.

  6. Genial el efecto de la iluminación y tus nietos admirando tu obra.Feliz verano.Besos:-)

  7. Hello, Rosa Maria - Thank you for stopping by the Villa del Vigneto to see it all lit up! That was a nerve-wracking project, and I'm glad that it's finished. But it is nice to have all those lights working. It'll be fun to see the villa all furnished and bright with lights. (Whenever that time comes!)

  8. You've done such a wonderful job personalising your lovely chandeliers. :) Such detailed paint work!.. The look beautiful in place... Your granchildren must find your builds so magical and delightful. So cute to see them peeking their heads through the windows and doors.

  9. I had a good time with all the lighting makeovers. In fact, I seem to always be making over the things I use in my miniature houses. (And in my real life house, come to think of it!) My grandchildren do like to keep up with what's taking place in the villa, but they have always seemed to understand that the miniature houses are "Grandma's toys." They are very careful to look without touching - and they're thrilled when I can find some construction chores that require their help! I'm happy that you took the time to visit the Villa del Vigneto. Thank you for your lovely comments.

  10. I'm really glad you shared your lighting experience(s)! It's nice to know we are all in the same boat! LOL
    What company makes the East Bedroom (youngest no-name-yet daughter's room) light? It's lovely!
    Cute grandkids -- and they are interested in posing for pics with your structure! No wonder they are the light of your life! :)
    Enjoy these last few days of August!

  11. I love the blog post, and you helped me make such a fun card with it!


  12. I really like your new decorative designs! it's beautiful so much and good idea on site.


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