Thursday, February 1, 2018

Tiles and Tribulations


Finally! The long-awaited laying of the Roman tile roof for Villa del Vigneto is at hand. In fact, the tile work will be at hand for weeks to come! It's a slow, tedious job that alternates between being really boring and being really tense. And in spite of my efforts to make enough tiles beforehand to finish the roof, I'm still far behind the number of tiles needed. That may not be all bad, though - shaping and baking tiles as I go does afford a break from laying all those rows and rows and rows of tiles. I also broke up the monotony of the tiles in January by working on the villa's bathroom. I think that if I alternate working on the roof with working on the furnishings of various rooms, the entire villa, inside and out, may be finished at about the same time. That thought presents my usual dilemma: I can hardly wait to see the finished villa, but I can hardly bear to have it finished!  



GETTING STARTED



 I have boxes of tiles and lots of glue ready to go. You'll notice that I've made tiles from both white and terracotta colored clay. I used Sculpey for the tiles, and I started with the terracotta color but found that it seems softer than the white and is harder to roll out and cut. I switched to the white. The finished roof will be painted to resemble aged terracotta.  



Robert, who is much taller than I am and doesn't have to stand on a stool for this sort of thing, drew guide lines on the roof to help prevent the tiles from wandering crookedly. The lines are faint, but they serve their purpose.



 I started laying the tiles on the back portion of the roof. This photo shows a row of lipped tiles at the roof's back edge, several rows of flat tiles, and curved tiles that fit over the flat tiles. (In real life, all the flat tiles are lipped to properly channel the water, but I skipped that part because the flat tiles won't be visible - and I hope they won't have to channel any water!)



 I'm making progress, moving along slow row by slow row. I have to stand on a small stool to reach the roof at a comfortable work height - very tedious, since my range of motion is limited to the stool. I'm using the piano, just an arm's reach from the villa, as my work table. It's a good height for holding the tiles and the glue that I need to reach without stepping off the stool. I use both hot glue and tacky glue for the curved tiles and tacky glue alone for the flat ones, which hold their position much more readily.



OOPS! GETTING RESTARTED



I've only been studying photos of Roman-style tiled roofs for about two years. So why did I not realize until JUST NOW that the outer edge of the roof needs a flat lipped tile instead of a curved tile? I tried to tell myself that maybe it wouldn't matter that I started with a curved row. But it did matter. I "slept" on the problem for a couple of days. It still mattered. So I worked out a solution that didn't require ripping up all the tiles I'd put down. I removed only the row of curved tiles from the edge, as you can see above. I also damaged some other tiles in the process, but they weren't too hard to replace.



I made new lipped "half" tiles to fit the narrow space at the roof's edge. While I was at it, I also made new lipped tiles for the opposite edge of the roof. 



I glued on the lipped half-tiles to replace the curved tiles at the edge of the roof.



I added a new row of curved tiles that I squeezed in over the half tiles and the next row of flat tiles. The alignment isn't great - the edge tiles are too narrow, and the first row of curved tiles is too close to the second row - but at least the tiles are in the proper sequence. It's a patched-up piece of work, but I think the roof will look fine in the end. (The end being after all the painting and aging is done.)



This photo shows the opposite edge of the roof with the lipped tiles laid as they should be.



All the tiles are glued down on the end and back edges of the roof.



This much was accomplished on the roof in January - but the work goes on!



PREPARING THE VILLA'S BATHROOM



These are some of the furnishings that I considered using in the bathroom of Villa del Vigneto. As you'll see, the bathroom didn't have space for everything accumulated here, but I managed to fit in most things. Some of the pieces needed a bit of refurbishing or a complete makeover, as shown in the photos below.



REBUILDING THE BIDET



I had a hard time locating a bidet for the villa's bathroom. I finally found this one by Henry Bart, but it was only the basic form with no hardware. It was also 5/8" shorter than the toilet.



I shaped a chunk of Sculpey to raise the bidet to the right height. (Although it looks too high in this photo.)



I drew the shape of the bottom of the bidet onto the Sculpey form...



 ...then cut out the shape with a knife. (A rough cut!) I baked the Sculpey cut-out.




The new base was glued onto the bidet - now the bidet and the toilet are the same height!



I sanded the new base smooth so that it blends with the original shape of the bidet.



I fashioned some faucets from beads and painted them a metallic gold, then gave the bidet a couple of coats of Magnolia White paint and a coat of satin varnish. I painted a thin strip of tape the same metallic gold for the trim on the base. All done!



CREATING A NEW OLD CHAIR



This chair came from my stash. I like the "countrified" shape, but I didn't want it too rustic - just old.



I gave the chair a coat of Oyster White paint, then sanded off some of the new paint for a bit of wear and tear. I made a cushion and tied it on with gold cord. 



A SANTINI STATUE



Even though I didn't include this piece in the above photo of potential furnishings, I really wanted to use this miniature copy of Santini's "Nude Woman Bathing" statue in the bathroom. It was a bit shorter than I liked, so I made a plinth from a square of wood and a square of Sculpey glued together. I layered on some joint compound and painted the plinth as close to the statue's color as I could manage.



 Glued to the plinth, the statue is now just the right height!



THE COMPLETED BATHROOM



The villa's bathroom viewed from the arched opening on the west end.
The bathroom fixtures are from SP Miniatures "Estate and Vintage" listings.



A closer view. The linen cabinet by S. Gustavian was a Christmas gift from Robert soon after I began construction on Villa del Vigneto.




And a view to the right. The wall unit was an unfinished piece to which I added a few touches of paint. I can't find my source for the pretty brass towel stand, unfortunately.



 GIFTS FROM ELIZABETH!



Elizabeth, from Studio E,  sent a box of treasures. These are just a few of the many lovely and useful gifts that were included. 



These are also items that were included in the gift box. There are other wonderful things from Elizabeth that I will show you as I'm ready to use them in various rooms in the villa.



Some of Elizabeth's pretty gifts help to fill this etagere by Roberta Solari that I've placed in the villa's bathroom. Other gifts are on top of the bathroom linen cabinet and on the soap racks in the bathtub. Can you see them?

THANK YOU SO MUCH, ELIZABETH!


And so January, 2018, comes to a close - and I'm ready to celebrate that fact! January is my least favorite of all the months, and I impatiently count each one of its long, long thirty-one days. I'm more than eager to welcome February - the month of Love, the month of valentines and lacy hearts and dimpled cupids and CHOCOLATES. 

Welcome, February!

And LOVE to all of you out there in Blogland.




















22 comments:

  1. You did a fabulous job on the bidet!!! It's incredible!
    I know it was frustrating to have to rip up that column of roof tiles, but you know it would have always bugged you if you hadn't! Now it looks right and authentic! -Lori K

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    1. Hi Lori - You are so right! If I had left the roof as it was, I would never have been happy with it - and although it isn't quite right now, at least I can live with it happily. Thanks for your encouragement!
      Marjorie

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  2. Desde un principio Marjie me ha parecido un trabajo impresionante el de tu Villa, cada paso que das se ven los progresos y los pequeños errores los subsanas muy bien, te quedará perfecto el tejado. Precioso cuarto de baño y con los regalos de Elisabeth realzaran cualquier rincón, son muy bonitos. Ánimo ya te queda menos,besos:-)

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    1. Hello, Rosa Maria - Thank you for your encouraging comments on the villa roof. I admit that I wasn't sure for a while whether I'd be able to correct that big mistake! But it worked out all right, thankfully. I had a lot of fun working on the bathroom; that sort of made up for the struggles with the roof!
      Marjorie

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  3. Wow! Marjorie, your roof tiles are Awesome!!! Not just in the sheer number of them needed, but in your dedication to making them just like the real ones!!! I am so impressed with the way the roof is looking... row upon row.... all carefully overlapped! That is a really authentic looking roof!!! I am glad you solved your mis-step with the edge tiles... but Ii am sure nobody will ever notice the different spacing! They will just be blown away by the awesome roof!!! I admire your sticking with the project.... it took me several years to complete the tiles for my Castle Hall floor... so I understand what you are working on! Keep up the great work! And having the extra decor projects going on at the same time is called "sanity"! LOL! I think the bathroom looks amazing! And Elizabeth's accessories are always Treasures!!! I can't wait to see more!

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    1. Hello, Betsy - You're comments are always very welcome - and so encouraging! I thought about your Castle Hall floor tiles while I was struggling away on my roof tiles - it helps to know that I'm not alone in my frustration with this very slow project. But I am thankful that I have those "sanity" projects to fall back on! I'm looking forward to working on the other rooms in the villa as the roof work continues.
      Marjorie

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  4. Hello Marjorie,
    First of all, great work on the tiles. the roof looks amazing. I think no matter how hard we plan something, there are always surprises, but you found a great solution with the half tile for the lip problem. It all looks perfect and well worth the long, boring time spent making tiles (reminds me of cutting pieces for parquet floors). The bathroom is just fantastic! I love your choice of furniture and the room is nice and airy. The color palette is very soothing. I also commend you on the bidet. Wow! It came out wonderfully and I cannot remember a bathroom in Italy that did not have one. Great job. Enjoy those lovely gifts from Elizabeth.
    Big hug
    Giac

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    1. Hi Giac - What lovely comments on the villa! Thank you. Yes, I seem to be surprised pretty often by the unexpected turns in my miniature construction - but I was fortunate this time that I could find a solution that didn't require tearing up tiles and starting all over. I'm so glad that you like the bathroom. I enjoyed working on that room; in fact, it may end up being one of my favorites. I'm excited to be finally working on the decoration and furnishing of the interior of the villa, even as the roof work is ongoing. Thanks for stopping by!
      Marjorie

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  5. You did so great work! The bathroom is very pretty and harmonious!

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting Villa del Vigneto - I'm happy that you like the bathroom, and I appreciate your nice comments.
      Marjorie

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  6. Great job on the roof tiles and the bathroom. I imagine that making all of the tiles is long and tedious work, but I know its going to look great when you are all done.
    The bathroom looks well appointed and all of the accessories add a genuine sense of realism. The gift is lovely! I have found that for me, bathrooms are kind of hard to fill, but with that gift from Elizabeth, you have the whole enchilada! Always a pleasure to read your posts. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Hi, Troy - Thanks for stopping by the villa. Making and laying roof tiles is definitely a tedious task, but there is an element of excitement in knowing that it'll eventually be finished! I think the tiled roof will make a big difference in the appearance of the whole villa, and I'm looking forward to the end result. The bathroom was such fun to do - and you're right - some of those shelves would have been hard to fill without Elizabeth's help!
      Marjorie

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  7. Wow, you've done a lot. It looks stunning!

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    1. Hi, Megan - I appreciate your stopping by Villa del Vigneto. Thanks for your nice comments. The roof is going to take a while, so I'll be plugging away at it for some time to come! I hope you'll come back and see the progress.
      Marjorie

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  8. Sabes que has hecho muy bien quitando esa fila de tejas que te molestaban a la vista,ahora el tejado se ve impresionante!
    El cuarto de baño es increíble,tan bonito,tan acogedor,el trabajo del bidé es perfecto!
    Has trabajado mucho y se ve la recompensa,todo luce maravilloso!
    Besos.

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    1. Hello, Pilar - Thank you for your lovely comments. Even though it wasn't the perfect solution, I'm glad that I did what I could to correct the roof tiles. I feel much better about the roof now. I'm happy that you like the villla's bathroom. Rebuilding the bidet was interesting work - and I'm just glad that it turned out okay! The bathroom was a fun project; I hope the other rooms will come together as easily.
      Marjorie

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

    หนังตลก Comedy

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate your visit and your nice comments. I hope you'll come back again!
      Marjorie

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  10. Hi Marjorie, Your tile making was epic and what a head ache when you first accepted that you needed to produce the flat tiles.... but once again you resolved the problem perfectly.
    Lucky girl indeed to receive the little parcel of linens etc from Elizabeth.
    The bathroom feels very authentic too,
    Regards Janine

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  11. Hello, Janine - Thanks for your visit to Villa del Vigneto! The tile work is still moving along, but rather more slowly than I expected. But there's no hurry, so slow is okay. I had such a good time creating the villa's bathroom; I enjoy the construction process, but the furnishing and decorating of the rooms is just sheer pleasure! I appreciate your comments and hope that you'll visit again.
    Marjorie

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  12. Hello Marjorie......you made my day!
    A few weeks ago I also made roof tiles ...... a terrible job: o)
    Your bathroom has become a dream and the idea with Fimo to increase the bidet .......... terrific!
    Love it!

    Hugs
    Sigrid

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    1. Hello, Sigrid - It's so nice to hear from a fellow tile maker! Yes, a terrible job, but the results are well worth the struggle. (?) The villa roof is the second tile roof that I've made; the French Farmhouse roof was the first, but those were all curved tiles - no flat ones. I think that was easier. I'm so glad that you like the villa's bathroom. That was in the planning stage for a long time, and I must admit that I love it! Thank you for your lovely comments!
      Marjorie

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I'd love to hear your comments!