Friday, June 1, 2018

A History, A Tour, and a Flowery Finale

This post will mark the completion of Villa del Vigneto, which I started building on Oct. 13, 2015, and completed on May 23, 2018. This is a very long post, for which I apologize in advance. I will use as few words as possible and let the photographs speak for themselves as I take you on a tour of the completed villa. (You know I love tours!) Those of you who may have followed my blogposts from the beginning will already have seen all the rooms that are included in the tour; I hope that you won't mind the repetition.

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF VILLA DEL VIGNETO

The villa was originally a farmhouse, built in 1750, with living quarters above a barn. There was also a storeroom in the barn and a dovecote on the roof. The farm was sold in 1850 to Leonardo Gabriele, a Venetian banker who remodeled the house and barn, turning them into a country house, or villa-fattoria, for his family. Leonardo dreamed of growing a vineyard and perhaps converting one end of the barn into a winery. He christened the retreat "Villa del Vigneto," - the villa of the vineyard. He incorporated a grapevine motif into various areas of the villa and planted a grape arbor outside the kitchen door. For various reasons, the vineyard was a dismal failure, but the villa's name, the grapevine motif, and the grape arbor remain. 

Now, in 1910, Leonardo's grandson, Leopoldo Gabriele, has inherited Villa del Vigneto and visits there as often as possible from his home in Venice. Leopoldo has undertaken more remodeling, and the villa now boasts electricity and indoor plumbing. Leopoldo's wife and daughter, along with his older spinster sister, spend every summer at the villa, and Leopoldo takes frequent breaks from his work to join them.

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AN INTERIOR TOUR



Our tour begins in the kitchen, because this was the first room that I completed in the villa.
Magda, the cook, has been preparing a board of sausage and cheese to take out to the terrazza beneath the grape arbor, where it will be enjoyed by Liliana and Leopoldo Gabriele, the owners of the villa. Magda has made herself a cup of coffee to drink as she begins dinner preparations but is letting it cool while she slips around to gather herbs from the garden at the back of the villa.


The beautiful toweling fabric with red and green striped trim was a gift from Elizabeth, along with the perfect red tomatoes, the carrots, sausage, and - way back on the counter - a jar of pasta. Thank you again, Elizabeth. That box of treasures goes on and on! 


Our tour takes us through this door that leads from the kitchen into the dining room.





The beautiful plates are from A Lavender Dilly.


 This arched opening is between the dining room and the entrance hall; we'll go through it later. 




If we go through the door on the right, we'll find ourselves on the terrazza, where Liliana and Leopoldo are still enjoying wine and waiting for dinner. But for now, let's cross the dining room, go through the arched doorway and into the entrance hall.



We're greeted here by Guido, the handsome Bloodhound created by Karl Blindheim. 



After crossing the entrance hall and bypassing the stairs, we'll walk through a second arched doorway into the living room, where we'll make a counter-clockwise circuit of the room.


As we pass by the doorway, we have a glimpse back through the entrance hall into the dining room. Guido has left his post for more interesting pursuits.










And we're back at the chair that the oboist has left for a moment. (Or maybe for more than a moment - Leopoldo plays the oboe, and he's ensconced on the terrazza with Liliana and a glass of wine.) We'll take this opportunity to go back through the arched door and up the stairs that you see through the opening.


Guido has returned to his post and will see us safely up the stairs.


The bathroom, which is located at the back west corner of the villa, was the first upstairs room to be finished. The door opens to a short hallway that leads back to the stair landing on the left or to the master bedroom straight ahead.


This bedroom belongs to Liliana and Leopoldo. Through the doorway, you can see the short hallway leading to the bathroom. The bedroom is at the front of the villa.



The door also offers a glimpse through to the stair landing.


The stair landing.


A view from the landing, through the arched opening to the hallway and into the bathroom.
There is an identical arched door on the opposite side of the landing that leads to two more hallways and two bedrooms on the east side of the villa.


You can barely see the doorway that leads from the landing. The short hallway here opens into the tranquil bedroom of Sophia Gabriele, Leopoldo's older sister. Zia Sophia has gone for an early evening walk with her niece, Gianna.




The short hallway makes a right turn into a long, long, hallway that leads to Gianna's small east bedroom or, farther along, to a door that opens to a small balcony on the east side of the villa.


We will enter Giana's bedroom here. Gianna is the fifteen-year-old daughter of the villa. This was the last room completed in Villa del Vigneto.





This concludes our tour of the interior rooms of the villa, and soon we'll continue the tour around the exterior premises. But first, I'll take this opportunity to interject some photos and information about the flowers, vines, and other landscaping elements that I've used in completing the villa.

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CREATING  GERANIUMS

I've never made a miniature flower before; I've only contrived flowers or arrangements from real-size fake flowers and leaves, which turn out to be of some vague generic variety. But I needed geraniums for the villa, and geraniums have such a distinctive look that I couldn't contrive a substitute. I bit the bullet and looked up a tutorial by Kris Compas - an excellent tutorial that was actually fun to do. Lacking Kris' expertise, I muddled my way through and was happy with the resulting geraniums, although there is much room for improvement if I make them again.


The tutorial said that the little spherical bases for the petals should not have folds. That was beyond my ability. Count the folds.


Stems have been added to the bases.


These are among the hundreds of geranium petals that I made. Each geranium consists of 15 petals glued onto the spherical base. 


Punching out geranium leaves from painted paper.


Leaves have been glued to flower stems, and I've made extra stems of leaves.


I didn't have orange paper for the geraniums, so I used red paper and painted the red flowers orange.


I did have to contrive some geraniums buds from a plastic stem of small pods.



The finished orange geraniums - Thank you, Kris!

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CONTRIVING POTTED FLOWERS



I filled many pots with contrived "generic" flowers. I also added the pink geraniums that I made to the pots of mixed flowers.


I was having a hard time getting the flowers to stay in place in the pots. After I tried several methods unsuccessfully, Robert suggested that I try a mixture of used coffee grounds and glue, stirred together to a doughy consistency. I tried that, and it worked like magic, gripping and holding each flower stem as I inserted it into the arrangement - and the mixture dried to a stable, hard consistency that looks like soil.


Additional planters and other landscaping elements. I forgot to take a photo of the original benches and the cherub. This photo shows them with a coat of joint compound brushed on.


This aged bench and cherub will be used in the villa's entrance courtyard. The second bench will live on the terrazza.


These are some of the flower makings for the two wall planters and the urn in this photo.







Just when I thought I was all finished potting flowers, I decided that I really needed more. I started all over again with more bits and pieces from real-size flowers.


The wild-looking vines in the two long planters will grow through the balcony railings, and I'll add flowers to the restrained vines.


Now that the pots of flowers and other landscaping elements are in place, we're ready to continue our tour of the villa's exterior.

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THE BALCONIES



The west balcony off the master bedroom.




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The balcony off Zia Sophia's bedroom.



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The balcony at the end of the long hallway at the back corner of the villa.


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THE TERRAZZA



We've worked our way from west to east on the upper level, so now we'll come down to the terrazza just outside the kitchen. The near door that you see in this photo opens into the dining room. Liliana and Leopoldo have left their chairs for a short time while they stroll down the drive to meet Gianna and Zia Sophia as they return from their leisurely walk. You may just glimpse Momi the Mouser inside the kitchen door near the chair.



Tosca, another of the villa cats, is watching and waiting - but for what or for whom only she knows.


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THE ENTRANCE COURTYARD




Luca, the Brittany Spaniel, is also watching and waiting and may decide to run to meet Gianna, his favorite family member.






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OVERALL EXTERIOR VIEWS











Here is the back of Villa del Vigneto, partially covered with creeping vines. 

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And so the end of Villa del Vigneto's construction brings us also to the end of this post. I've grown very attached to the villa and its occupants during more than 2 1/2 years of working on it (and playing in it.) I'm sure that you can relate to the mixed emotions of elation and sadness that I feel upon completing this project. I'm happy, though, that the villa will continue to live in my home so that I can visit often. The doors are always open, the occupants are always welcoming, and the wine is always ready to pour - so please join me at Villa del Vigneto at any time!


I'll be returning soon with a post that will introduce my next project (how fickle is that?!) which will be much smaller than the villa but will be challenging, nevertheless. Meanwhile, June is "bustin' out all over," and it's time to go out and enjoy the summer sun!






















































24 comments:

  1. Wow! Congratulations on completing this wonderful project, the detail is incredible.
    Already looking forward to seeing your next project...

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    1. Hello, Simon - Thank you for visiting Villa del Vigneto and leaving your nice comments. I admit that I'm very impatient to begin my next project but am trying hard to take a break! Fortunately, research is always a good stopgap measure, and I have plenty of that to do in preparation for the next step.
      Marjorie
      Marjorie

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  2. Wooo Marjarie ha sido un placer disfrutar del recorrido que nos has ofrecido,cada rincón, cada detalle es encantador. Se percibe la emoción en tu entrada y por supuesto que entraré más de una vez para disfrutarla de nuevo.
    Seguro que tu nuevo proyecto estará con muchas cosas preciosas y dignas de ver.
    Feliz fin de semana,besos:-)

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    1. Hi, Rosa Maria - I'm so happy that you enjoyed the tour of Villa del Vigneto, and I hope you will have a chance to visit the villa again. I appreciate all your nice comments - thank you!
      Marjorie

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  3. Me siento un poco como tú,emocionada de ver la impresionante villa terminada y con un punto de tristeza por no descubrir sus avances cada vez que publicabas una nueva entrada.
    Tu trabajo de estos dos años y medio,se ha visto recompensado al hacer este recorrido virtual,con emocionante historia,de cada una de sus habitaciones y el exterior maravilloso y tan lleno de color con esas plantas y flores,que tan bellamente decoran la magnífica Villa!!!
    Gran trabajo Marjorie y esperando con ansia tu nuevo proyecto!!!
    Besos.

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    1. Hello, Pilar - I'm glad that you had a chance to take the tour of Villa del Vigneto. I've had such a good time from the very beginning of this project, so it's nice to know that you've enjoyed this final post about the villa. Thank you for visiting! I hope you'll follow along on the next project.
      Marjorie

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  4. This is wonderful Marjorie. What a labour of love. The background to the villa is so interesting and perfect to 'set the scene'. Then your room by room tour is fantastic. You really have captured the spirit of an Italian villa perfectly. I have to congratulate you too on your flower-making. Your geraniums in particular are gorgeous. So thank you for the lovely tour and now I hope you take a well deserved break while planning your next project. Impressive!

    Kind regards, Carol x

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    1. Hi, Carol - I'm so happy that you enjoyed the tour of the completed villa. Thanks for your kind words about the flowers - that was mostly a trial-and-error undertaking, although a fun one. And yes, I'm trying to take a break, but project plans just keep buzzing around my head, as I'm sure you know they will do! I'm glad you stopped by.
      Marjorie

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  5. Oh Marjorie! I know exactly what you are feeling now that the villa is "finished". It's like saying goodbye to a friend that you share so many inside jokes, secrets and ideas with. Through you know she'll be right downstairs any time you want to chat, that uniquely special time of magical collaboration is ending.
    You must feel such a sense of fulfillment in bringing this idea to incredible life! The layout, the finishes, the lighting and furnishings are so inspiring. I love how you've brought out the best in every little element, and I love how I literally move my head around while looking at the photos, as though I am in the villa and want to just peek around the next corner!
    Seeing how you've creatively solved challenges along the way has made following along so delightfully interesting, and I am soooo happy that I found your blog! Villa Del Vigneto is an incredible place, and I am just so excited to be along for the new journey you're beginning!

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    1. Jodi, your comments warm my heart. It's so encouraging to be able to share my feelings about this project and to know that I'm not alone in feeling that I'm parting from a good friend with whom I've shared both good times and hard ones. I wasn't quite so emotional when I finished my French Farmhouse - and it actually took longer to build than the villa. I'm so happy that you enjoyed the tour of the villa and especially glad to know that you'll be along for the next adventure.
      Marjorie

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  6. Congratulations on a job well done! I have enjoyed watching your progress and getting inspired from your work. I like the dogs and especially like all of the landscaping/greenery and flowers. Great photos too! You should find a show/museum/library to display the villa for a while. I am excited to see your next project!

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    1. Hi, Troy - Thank you so much for coming along on the tour of the villa and for your comments. All those flowers, etc. were quite a challenge, but it was also a lot of fun to try something I hadn't done before. It would certainly be exciting to display the villa somewhere besides my basement family room - I'll keep your suggestion in mind! I appreciate your input.
      Marjorie

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  7. A Thoroughly Enjoyable and Magnificent Tour!!!!
    You have captured the slow, hot/ dry atmosphere of a Tuscan Home to PERFECTION!
    The airiness of the high ceilings, the heat-resitant thick, plastered walls with deep window sills, along with the coolness of the clay tiles underfoot; leaves the heat outside, as your Villa welcomes each of its visitors indoors!
    I have ALWAYS loved your kitchen Marjorie and so I am delighted that you have begun our tour there, and may I add that it's satisfying to see that you have been able to make good use of the items I sent-I'm so glad that they fit in! :))
    One of the MANY features which I have found Striking in this room are the 2 large platters proudly displayed above the dresser. The mix in scales adds so much to the entire atmosphere of the room and I imagine that for BIG Family and Friends meals, that the platters are carefully taken down; filled with Magda's assorted antipastos to be eagerly enjoyed by the Gabriele famiglia out on the terrazzo; washed down with some of those delicious homemade wine displayed on the dining room credenza.
    I LOVE the shelving on the back wall, the stone sink and the iron stove which are Perfectly suited as well as perfectly placed within this room
    Your entrance hall, dining and living room ALL speak Italian to me!
    The arrangement of furniture and the placement of accessories give a slightly formal yet relaxed sense of well-being which is entirely consistent with that of an established banking family.
    The second floor has all the accruements and mementos of comfort, stability and affluence, with the long view down the hall making an Incredible Impression!
    The fact that you can see around corners and down or across hall and out to the garden really gives your Villa del Vigneto a depth of field and a sense of Really being inside someone's home!
    Your flower making skills are TOPS Marjorie and I know just how carried away one can become when you are making flowers, so I was not surprised to learn that you needed to make MORE after you thought you had finished! hahaha
    The vibrant mix of colors make a Beautiful Addition to the balconies bring a liveliness to the pots!
    Guido, Luca, Momi and Tosca are IDEAL pet companions for this historic household, and having just met them, I hope that I'll get to see them again the next time you invite me over to your Venerable Villa for a visit! ❤
    Truly a GRANDE Finale Marjorie!

    BRAVISSIMA!!! :D

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    1. Hello, Elizabeth - As usual, thank you for all the compliments. It's interesting that we feel the same way about the villa's kitchen. I've been partial to that room from the beginning - perhaps because it was the "firstborn" of all the rooms in the villa. I remember that I found those green platters during one of the Nebraska Junk Jaunts. I fell in love, and although I knew they were larger than the proper scale, I could not leave them behind, and I'm so glad that I didn't! It makes me happy to know that you like them too. Of course, your beautiful contributions add so much color and realism to the room. I can't tell you how very much I love all the things you sent me - it's so exciting to find that there are many ideal items for different rooms. Be assured that you have a forever, standing invitation to visit Villa del Vigneto - at any time. The animals are waiting impatiently for you to arrive!
      Marjorie

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  8. Dear Marjorie, Thank you for the amazing tour. So wonderful to see each room all in one post.
    I have been inspired by your work and enthusiasm. I am surprised you will begin another project so soon. I found it very difficult to move on from my French house.
    However ai think that you will keep finding small treasures for the villa.
    All the best and warm congratulations on the completion of a wonderful project.
    Regards Janine

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    1. Hello, Janine - Thank you for taking the tour of the villa; I'm so glad that you enjoyed it. I admit to feeling a bit "down" after completing the work on the villa. I sort of wander around feeling at loose ends. What's my purpose now? (Even though I have MANY neglected real-life projects to catch up on!) But on the other hand, my new project has been on my mind for a long time, so I am impatient to get on with it. I hope you'll follow along as I begin this new venture.
      Marjorie

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  9. How fantastic to get to see all of the Villa at once like this - complete with the history! And your landscaping and flowers are stunning! It's all wonderful! I will miss the updates about it, but am happy there is another project on it's way! And, when I am too stressed or feeling "blah" it is great to know I can pull up any post from 2015 to now and revisit your wonderful home: it always makes me smile and I feel relaxed while staring at the photots!
    Thank you for sharing the journey!
    Lori K.

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    1. Hi, Lori - You've been such an encouraging presence during my work on Villa del Vigneto, so I doubly appreciate your lovely comments. It's very special to me to know that my posts can help in some way to cheer you up when you feeling less than chipper. I'm trying to take some time to attend to a few real-life household duties, but my next miniature project is calling loudly and impatiently - and I'm excited to heed that call! I'm so glad to know that you'll be along for this next scaled-down adventure. Thank you for coming along!
      Marjorie

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  10. Bravo Bravo Bravo!!!! I am so impressed by all those potted plants and climbing vines.... not to mention all the fantastic details in each and every room! I have really enjoyed following along with this build! (You are such a great example of the results that can be achieved by dedication and persistence!!!) I am wowed by the views of the completed house.... all the nooks and the complex layout of rooms which give it so much realism! All those corridors do serve a function after all!! I can really understand your mixed feelings about being "done".... but now you get to visit and admire all the views every day! I particularly love the animals and that everyone is in mid-story.... and you know what that story is! What a wonderful , wonderful achievement this Villa is!!! Thank you so much for sharing it with us followers! :):):)

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    1. Hello, Betsy - I'm so glad that you were able to be a part of this long, long, project; you've been such an encouragement in many ways, at many times, and I've been thankful for your willingness to make suggestions that have helped me solve some of the problems that I've encountered in the construction of the villa. I've enjoyed every aspect of this build - yes, even the problems! - and although I feel a little sad that it's all done, I'm still feeling considerable excitement at beginning the next thing! I hope that you'll continue to follow along; I can foresee more problems coming up that may require some creative solutions from your creative stores!
      Marjorie

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  11. Wow Marjorie congratulations on your finished wonder. It is magnificent I love every part of it. The animals dotted around bring it so much to life. Thank you for the wonderful tour it was a feast for the eyes :) I love all your flowers beautiful work.
    Hugs Maria

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  12. Hello, Maria - Thank you so much for your lovely compliments! I'm so glad that you enjoyed the tour of Villa del Vigneto. I'm definitely going to miss working on the villa, but it's also nice to see the finished results. I hope you'll follow along on my next project.
    Marjorie

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  13. I can't believe what I am seeing here, it is just so AMAZING! I will have to come back to have a better look, too much to take in :-)
    I am glad you found and enjoyed my blog, and I am sorry to taking a time to rely, but life was a bit hectic for a bit, as you can see from latest post - I hope to "see" you there again!
    Take care,
    xx

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    1. Hello, Radka - Thanks so much for visiting Villa del Vigneto and taking the tour. I've had such a good time - for a LONG time - working on this project; it's hard to believe that it's finished. Now - time for the next thing, and I hope you'll follow along.
      Marjorie

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I'd love to hear your comments!