Thursday, August 31, 2017

To Top It All Off


August slammed me with an inauspicious start. Just when I was ready to begin work on the exterior of Villa del Vigneto, I lost my workroom. Or, more accurately, my workroom lost me and the villa. It was my own fault. Just over a year ago, in July of 2016, I was putting up the living room walls on the villa's lower level when I discovered that I had made a mistake in my design measurements. After much stressful maneuvering, I managed to "fix" the problem, and I thought that all was well. 

But a year later, on one of the first few days of August, I was planning the back exterior wall of the villa - the wall that will cover all the electrical wiring. The "false" wall needs to extend out about an inch and a half beyond the "real" wall, in order to clear all the wires. (There are a LOT of wires!) And a sudden, dreadful realization burst upon me. (That sounds very melodramatic, but it was a very melodramatic moment.) That extra inch and a half was NOT planned for when the villa's plywood base was carried in through the door of my new workroom. I had full confidence in the fact that the base, with completed villa on it, could be carried out again with the same ease. 

After measuring again and again, (no mistake this time) I knew that there was no way the wider villa was ever going out again through that door. Robert, for some reason, refused to contemplate cutting the doorway wider or removing the windows. My only recourse was to move the villa out of the room before I added on that extra one and a half inches. So that's what I did. I admit to feeling somewhat ill-used, all because of one - ONE! - mistake made all those months ago. 

I keep thinking how appropriate is my favorite old proverb: "The mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small."




 This sad photo shows the space that my work table used to occupy in my small workroom.



 And this even sadder photo shows the work table in its new location in the family room, where it stands smack in the way of everything. I also feel guilty if I don't clean the area after every work session!



The sad tale doesn't end yet. I have stuccoed (with joint compound) all the upper level exterior walls - and now they have to be sanded and sanded and sanded. Where do you think all that white sanding dust goes? I've blocked the wide openings of the villa with newspaper and paper towels in order to keep out the worst of the dust. I should have newspapered the entire family room. 



But there was a reprieve of sorts. I had made a good start on the sanding when I realized that I really should put the roof on before sanding further, because the roof installation involves more joint compound that requires still more sanding.


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Trying the roof sections on for size. I also constructed a "tower," which was actually a dovecote in the original farm house. The farmer's access to the dovecote was through an opening in the ceiling of the stair landing, reached by a ladder. That opening, as well as the pigeons' entrance, was walled up during the first renovation, but the tower structure was left in place.



All the main roof pieces are loosely attached, and they all fit.



Another view, showing the support blocks on which the roof pieces rest. You can also see, in the background, our shrouded piano. Yikes! But so far, it's dust free.



All the end pieces of the roof are in place. This is the west end of the villa...



...and here is a view of the east end.



I've attached the tower roof.



All the styrofoam roof and tower pieces have been stuccoed over.



The styrofoam pieces for the two chimney stacks have been put together...



...and stuccoed over...


...and sanded...



...and secured in place. This is the west chimney, over the master bedroom and the living room.



This chimney is on the east end, over the kitchen and the smallest bedroom.



A front view of the villa with the tower and chimney stacks in place.



Sanding has been completed on the west end and the front of the villa.



Then I moved to the east end, where I immediately sanded into the only wire that runs down the wall instead of up through the ceiling. OOPs! What have I told you about my jinx on all things electrical? Yep, broken off right at the wall. This is the wire to the pretty little wall light in the small bedroom - the light that caused all the trouble that I described in my last post.



Robert the electrician wasn't home at the time, and I was sorely tempted to try to mend the wire myself quick before he returned. But we all know how that would have turned out.



The break was too close to the wall to allow a simple splice, so Robert had to remove the broken wire and replace it.



He also had to remove the light, of course, leaving holes in the wall, inside and out.



But the repair was successful, the pretty light works, the holes in the wall were easily mended, and I sanded again - ever so cautiously. I am, as always, thankful that STYROFOAM IS SO FORGIVING! Robert, however, may not have been so forgiving. In fact, he was practically downright grumpy. Strange.



I've started applying a base coat of dark paint to the villa. The paint is not as dark as it looks in the photo. In fact, it appears different in every photo I took. But since this isn't the final color, maybe it doesn't matter.



Almost finished painting the walls.



I also applied a brick red paint to the roof, so that the white styrofoam won't show through when I lay the roof tiles. The wall color here looks a little lighter than it actually is.



This is the darkest paint color of all! But it shows the tower roof somewhat better, so I included it anyway.


At last - the structure is beginning to resemble a villa-fattoria, even though there's a great deal of work remaining to be done, and even more fun remaining to be had! I'm looking forward to the change of pace as I continue working on the exterior of the villa. September is going to be chock full of activities that compete with villa time, but surely some progress will be made.

I wish you a kind and gentle September.

18 comments:

  1. Todo un triunfo el traslado de tu Villa, es un proyecto impresionante, cuando la termines se te olvidará todo ese polvo de lijado y que tuviste que tapar hasta el piano.Los avances son muy notables y te está quedando genial.Feliz septiembre también para ti.Besos:-)

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Rosa Maria. I'm glad that you took time to stop by the villa!
      Marjorie

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  2. OH NO!!! Was there some anti-mini vibe in the air in August that gave us all mini-issues?!?!? You had quite a terrible time of it this month -- but I have to say you are darn lucky to have realized the villa wouldn't fit out the door BEFORE you finished it! Can you imagine how you would have felt if you'd finished it to THEN discover it didn't fit thru the doorway? And, so glad Robert could fix the wire! It was worth it to put up with Mr. Grump for such a pretty light to be working again -- you couldn't just leave a broken wire!
    -Lori K

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Lori. I agree about all the bad vibes in the air! But since it could have been worse - having the villa trapped in the workroom for all eternity would have been worse - and having Robert leave me to my own electrical skills would have been worse - I think that Lady Luck was shining on me! I just hope that my next projects are sort of humdrum/ho-hum...
      Marjorie

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  3. Hello Marjory,
    I am sorry you had to go through all that mess and that you lost your wonderful workroom. I also have my house in my living room and can understand the pain of always having to tidy up the room after each work session and the trouble of keeping the rest of the room clean...but remember the work is only temporary and when the house will be mostly complete what better place to display such a wonderful masterpiece.
    The house looks incredible with the painted exterior. It really bring the house to life and the tower and chimneys are fantastic. they add so much wonderful detail and architectural interest. Grumpy or not, Robert is sweet to help you as he does. I am comfortable with miniature electrification, but swear each time none the less. I cannot wait to see your next post. the house is taking shape fast and is truly a masterpiece. I love your work!
    Big hug,
    Giac

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    1. I appreciate your comments, Giac. It's comforting and encouraging to hear that the problems I encounter aren't really unique - that others have gone through the same trials and tribulations. And in spite of an occasional lapse into grumpiness, Robert is really extremely encouraging and supportive (and forbearing) of my miniature endeavors. I'm looking forward to the next steps forward in the villa construction; there will be some challenges, but I'm ready to take them on! Thanks for stopping by the villa.
      Marjorie

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  4. Thank you Marjorie!!!
    Ohhhhhhh.....your house looks great. I can not wait until it's done!
    Oh my god.....how beautiful!

    mini hug
    Sigrid

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    1. Hello, Sigrid - Welcome to my blog! I'm happy to include you as one of my followers, and I hope to hear from you again. Thank you for stopping by Villa del Vigneto - I appreciate your nice comments.
      Marjorie

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  5. Marjorie,lamento esos momentos de frustración que te has llevado al tener que trasladar de lugar tu fantástica casa,pero sé seguro,que cuando esté acabada,darás por compensadas todas las molestias,el trastorno,el polvo,la incomodidad...Tu casa se ve impresionante con los tejados y la pintura exterior!!!!
    Besos.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words, Pilar. It does help, in times of frustration, to remember that things will get better - and all the inconvenience will be forgotten in time. I appreciate your stopping by the villa.
      Marjorie

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  6. Wow, you have gotten a lot done since I last checked in. The house is looking great. I like the dark terracotta color. What are you going to use for your roof tiles? Looking forward to your next post.

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    1. Hi, Troy - Thanks for stopping by the villa. Yes, construction is moving along satisfactorily. There's a lot of exterior work to be done next, including the roof tiles. I've been making clay roof tiles for quite some time, using Sculpey, an oven-baked clay. I have many more to go before I'll have enough. I'm making Roman tiles, which are similar to the canal tiles that I used on the French Farmhouse. But instead of all curved tiles, the Roman tiles consist of flat tiles laid in between the curved tiles. That will be a challenge - but laying the tiles won't happen any time soon. I appreciate your interest.
      Marjorie

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  7. Dear Marjorie, At least you figured it out BEFORE you built the final wall and then tried to carry it out of the room!!! It is what always surprises me, how these "little rooms" become so HUGE when all attached together... not to mention heavy when made of wood and plaster and tiles...!!! I think you have made great progress in spite of the new location challenges. I have always "wet sanded" plaster... my brother taught me that and you never have the dust problem. You have to place it on plastic to protect the surfaces from water, but you just use a damp sponge to gently smooth the surface. It softens the top layer of the plaster enough to rub off the rough parts and even out the surface. You rinse the sponge in a bucket of water but do not pour it down your drains! Pour it outside in the garden in a corner where the extra lime will not matter! I know how difficult it is to get color to look right in photos... but your villa really is starting to look just like an old painted stucco villa in Italy! I look forward to seeing the next steps with this wonderful project!!!

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    1. Betsy, I always appreciate your comments and your helpful suggestions. Why did I not think of wet sanding??? I know about it, but it just never, ever occurred to me to use that method on the villa, in spite of the awful mess of dry sanding all that joint compound! But I'll be working on that "false" back wall next, and I'll certainly follow your tips for wet sanding! I'm very curious about the effect that wet sanding will have on the stuccoed finish. Thank you for the timely input! I'm so glad that you stopped by the villa.
      Marjorie

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  8. This is a good idea thank for sharing on the website
    ดูหนังฝรั่ง

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  9. I feel your pain Marjorie but Villa del Vigneto is looking SPLENDID!
    The roof and the walls and the chimneys have made your house look EVEN MORE like an Italian Country home and seeing what you've done has once again inspired me to get back to work.
    Betsy's hint re: wet sanding is Excellent and I hope it helps keep down the dust when it comes time to add that extra inch.
    Regarding the snapped wiring, I had that same thing happen to me with a wall sconce this past July and today I was speaking to a good friend of mine who was relating a similar story to yours, regarding an already installed fixture so perhaps it is related to something in the air? :( Whatever it may be, having the wiring go KAPUT is never fun but at least you ( aka Robert) were able to repair the broken connections invisibly so-
    All's Well, that Ends Well! ;D

    elizabeth

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    1. Hi, Elizabeth - and thanks for sharing some mutual frustrations! It does help diminish the pain when I know that I'm not the only one to endure these things. I just tried the wet sanding method on the false back wall of the villa, and it was incredibly fast and effective - and not even as messy as I had expected. That is a big wall, so I'm especially pleased that the wet sanding worked so well. I've been dreading having to deal with that wall since I started the villa; I'm so happy that it's almost over and done! I appreciate your nice comments - and, as always, your encouragement.
      Marjorie

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I'd love to hear your comments!