Friday, 28 April 2017

The Morning Room/ Villa Leone

 THE above photo is the current "Morning Room" in Villa Leone.  Right now is all free-standing, in that NONE of the interior walls, floors, columns, windows, door, or stairs are secured and/or glued into their permanent position.  
It is good thing too, because I am not finished with the stairs or the entry hall, and to add all of the required finishing trims would be impossible if the walls were glued in place.  So therefore, what you're seeing in the photos is, temporary!
  This will be a rather long post primarily because of the pictorial demonstrations which I've included for the purpose of further clarification.

        The Morning Room of Villa Leone.

This room began with my finding 2 sheets of gold embossed scrapbook paper which changed my mind regarding the original direction of the dining room. 

Because the walls were not glued in to place, I cut the paper to the size of the panels and let it free stand against them to see if I actually liked it or not. 

it had One Tiny Problem which I hadn't foreseen

As soon as direct light hits it, 
it looked like molten gold running down the walls. 
Not good and not pretty.
I was disappointed because it looked cheap and Angry that now I was going to have to look for a replacement.
Upon giving it some further thought, I decided to try to see if I could salvage it.  

I glued the paper onto the wall panels and then coated the surfaces with MATT MOD PODGE hoping that it would flatten down the gold.
If you compare the photo above with the one below, you can see that it did work at cutting down some of the shine, 

and if it still wasn't GREAT, at least it was Better.
I took a picture to see how the light reacted with it and discovered that it although the gold paper looked okay, the aqua paper on the wall in the entry looked as dull as dishwater. 

I wanted the entry to look old but, when positioned  behind the gold, it looked derelict.
After much auditioning of other wallpaper possibilities, I spotted the jacket cover on a book of Italian Art which looked intriguing.
I photocopied it and held it up agains the wall.
This is the jacket from
"The Book of Art"
Volume 2- Italian Art to 1850
the cover detail depicts Botticelli's
"The Allegory of Spring"  

perfectly appropriate for an Italian villa 
I glued it to some cardstock which I sealed with
Matte Mod Podge
I cut out the door opening and glued the print over top of the old wallpaper, secured it with spring loaded clips and let it dry overnight.
This solution was in keeping with the theme of the villa and it was much more interesting to look at than the solid color.
But with every plus there comes a minus, and perhaps you'll spot the problem sooner than I did. 

The left side of the door looks just as I had hoped it would.  I decided to make it look more plaster-like and brushed on a slurry solution to soften the colors and give the paper some additional texture.  
Below you can see both sides of the muted mural. 

And here's the problem
The original print has 3 nymphs dancing together, but by eliminating the 2 in the center to accommodate the door, I now had One Nymph with 2 arms, 

with a third arm sprouting from her ribcage!

This was, 
as Jodi of My Miniature Madness, called it a
"rookie mistake"
I'm still uncertain if I am going to attempt to correct it by overlaying it with another panel, 

leave it be and put something in front of it.
For the time being, I'm leaving it be, because I've run out of Mojo.

Meanwhile, I decided to see if the slurry method would work for the gold wallpaper too.
So I brushed on a thin coat of drywall compound mixed with enough water to make it soupy.
The mix is white-ish when it's first applied, then dries to a hazy transparency.
To set it, I sprayed the panels with hair spray.

Once the panels were dry, I re-positioned them inside to form the room.
The walls no longer appear as if they're sweating gold bullion.

such a relief!
I hung the carved gilt mirror by attaching it to a cord hung over a nail.  This'll keep the mirror from continuously falling off the wall.

The room was morphing from the more masculine dining room/ study which I had originally intended, and was looking increasingly more feminine, so 
I removed the credenza and rethought the furniture placement.
  I decided to play around with some furniture I had on hand and see if I could come up with something more satisfying. 
I found a print of a Persian rug which was the right colors, size and shape.  Later, I will be transferring the rug print onto fabric.
The carved fireplace I've had for a few years, but I painted it dark, and wanted an over-mantle which extended to the ceiling so I had to construct one.

I made the base from heavy card stock glued to a wood frame, as well as thin cardboard and an old window frame from some past Greenleaf kit.

Once I got this far, I left it alone until I knew how to finish the rest. 
 I found a sofa which I had buried in a drawer.  I had reupholstered this piece 20 years ago but never had a place to put it. 
It turned out to be A Perfect Fit, inside the window alcove where the credenza used to be.
I chose 2 of Linda Park's Fabulous needlepoint cushions 

and later I added a laser cut linen doily from 
to the back of the sofa

I took more photos to see how things were working together  

Initially I used the Adorable little barley twist table which I'd won from Pepper's Mitchymoo Miniatures Giveaway
and I was going to leave it at that
because the resulting room was looking very peaceful.
"Serenity Now"

thinking that the room arrangement was 
I got back to work on finishing the fireplace.  
I found a medallion which I'd painted to look like stone which Janine had given me way back in the 1990's.  I have been wanting to use it for the longest time and the fireplace over-mantle provided an ideal location.
The medallion gave me the idea of how to finish the rest of the fireplace.

I wanted to make it look heavily carved, so I went to my storage boxes of metal bits and bobs.
I have a large collection of cherubs and angels which I find periodically in the jewelry section at second hand stores.  I found a pair of cherubs facing each other that would work along with 4 smaller single ones and glued them into position above the medallion and then added metal beads and bits of wood trims; building up the design until I was satisfied.  

I used a cluster of three angels on either side of the panel.

Beads and metal filigree were added to the top and bottom, as well as extra wood trims.
First I sprayed the panel white and then grey.
When it was nearly dry, I covered the entire panel with a chocolate brown water-based acrylic paint.

I adde a layer of Antique Brown oil-based stain with a brush and sponged off the excess with a tissue.

 this is the results.
I would have left it at this stage except that I needed the panel to match the fireplace so it had to be darkened further.

I painted over the oil stain with a water-based BLACK gel stain, sponged it off and touched up any areas with additional color.
To speed up the drying I went over it with my crafter's heat tool.

 I've used this technique of mixing layers of oil stains on top of wet water based paints, for many years. Each time I do it, the results will vary depending on the paints and stains I've used and how wet or dry each layer is before the next one is applied.  For this project, I also used Gold and Silver metal pulvers made by
Eberharb Faber
these are Very Messy powders, especially if you happen to spill some, but they added a fine metallic highlight to this project.

Below is the installed panel

 I chose a pair of blue and white (bead) jars and and Janine-made lacquered blue vase.  These tied in nicely with Linda's embroidered cushions on the sofa.
The orange tulips I made from dried plant materials. The orange repeats the color of the fabric on the sofa.
The trumpet was formerly a broach pin. 

This gives you an idea of how all of it will look with an  LED fire blazing inside.  
A close up of the tulips

To use the"Morning Room"as a dining room, I cobbled this table together by using the cloth covered top from the patio table, and placed it on a night stand.  I've got an HOM round table of the same diameter which I'll assemble as a future replacement.
I set the table for a light breakfast of croissants and coffee.  
I had a plastic violin as well as a cello which wouldn't fit anywhere in the room except behind the table.  I found some sheet music which I placed on the tabletop with the food.
(obviously one of the occupants of the villa is a musician)

Eventually, I would like to scale down sheet music from Vivaldi's " The Four Seasons" but I already had these mini scores in a drawer, and they'll do fine for now.

the foot warmer came from my friend Bettie Smith

This is the table set for morning coffee, 
laser cut linen doilies as place mats

 Time for tea! featuring Linda Park's gift
of a Wonderful needlepoint blue & white tea cosy!

The teacups are Bespaq and the Chinese teapot is by a Seattle artisan from the early 1990's 
Lori O'Halleran 
Dressing the hall table
 with urns
Contented Cat by Sarah Hendry
overview of the unfinished entry

In conclusion, I hadn't expected that
this room would turn out to be as formal as it has.
I'm not unhappy about it either, other than I think I'll need to find a way to Age It Gracefully so that it's consistent with the story.

Still undecided on what to do with the ceilings.
I would LOVE to do a sky painted ceiling such as what Betsy at About My Dollhouses, has done in the living room of her 'Folly', but painted beamed ceilings are also on my list of ceiling possibilities.
ah decisions decisions...

This room has already gone through a number of major transition from what my original intent for it was. 

Below is how the dining room was originally going to look

And this is what it currently looks like

I hope you've enjoyed seeing the changes in the villa. 

Wishing everyone a Terrific Weekend
The 3 armed nymph is also waving you goodbye

ciao for now