(Michael Kayne Design)
Ah, Napa Valley! The valley of Californian wines and the place where Bacchus is celebrated every day and every moment of the day is a good time to sip a glass of wine.
Napa is all about a lifestyle made of nature, naturally grown food, relaxation, spa treatments, exercise and living a healthy life with the vice of wines.
This is not a place for a crazy nightlife, late night dinners and dancing until the small hours of the day. It is about a simpler, earthy life, growing food, producing wines, making home-style bread, farming bees for honey and enjoy bucolic scenes.
However, there is nothing simple about the homes of this wine country. Homes in the valley might be modest and unpretentious, but driving up Napa Valley hills and getting lost among the tall vegetation and lush terrace vineyards, one can see fantastic villas, some of them revolving around the entire hill-top. These large homes, large almost as small castles are intended for entertaining large parties, dinner events and musical gathering.
One of the people in my circle, hosted an Opera Night for sixty people sitting around bistro tables, all gathered in the Italianate courtyard. This place will be featured in the filming of the T.V. show I am hosting entitled Dreaming California, which will air in Italy towards the end of the 2011. I selected it because it projects that feeling of the Italian courtyard life of my past, so very familiar to me. Growing up in the South of Italy, I spent my childhood playing in so many courts and courtyards of my family and friends while the adults canned food for the winter, or made wines. And the memory is sweet!
Let’s leave for a moment the huge homes of the high-profile people of Napa Valley. Anyone can reproduce this earthy style with a few refined accents and with not much effort. Second hand stores are a wealth of inspiration and often old findings are real treasure. One thing to keep in mind is nature, which must be present in every space, then natural items from wood species to leather, from fabrics to glass and metals. Old and distressed fit the rusticity of the area. New furniture must look muted and not shiny.
Comfortable but massive seating is a must, possibly covered with the most natural eco-friendly fibers and directed towards the views to add to the comfort. Remember the rustic tables with straw seat chairs? Probably your grandmother had them all her life. They sit so well in any space, not just in the kitchen and if you want to substitute the straw chairs for long benches is even better to get that old farmhouse look.
Vintage wines or farming objects should be appearing every so often in the décor. Keep it rustic. Use recycled and salvaged items when possible, floor, windows and doors are easy to find at architectural salvage yard.
Stack the butler pantry with rustic dishes and drinking vessels. Add all the natural flavors of olive oils, vinegar, a variety of olives, sauces to spread over bruschetta like eggplant caponata and peperonata, natural salts, dry good like truffles and porcini, all the nuts, honey, marmalade and you will feel motivate to cook like a real gourmet chef.
Keep the cooking area modern enough with all the convenient amenities of the modern life, but the perception of the kitchen should be seasoned, reminiscent of simple time gone by.
(Photos courtesy of Napa Style store)
A home decorated in the Napa style doesn’t have to be nested atop a narrow ridge and surrounded by its own lush vineyards. It is just as easy to reproduce it anywhere with patios, courtyards and verandahs decorated with the right elements for relaxation, as well as plants and flowers to enjoy the aromas of nature. Wine is the one and only element that should never be missed.
A man who was fond of wine was offered some grapes at dessert after dinner. ‘Much obliged,’ said he, pushing the dish away from him, ‘but I am not in the habit of taking my wine in pills.’ Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, French gastronome, (1755-1826), “The Physiology of Taste”.
I read this book so many times around. It should be part of a Napa style kitchen.
I am here to help you with any challenges you might have with your décor, or to advice you in the making of a particular style. Ciao,
Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is a trained Italian Interior Designer in business since 1990. Being Italian born and raised, Valentina’s design work has been influenced by Classicism and stylish, timeless designs. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away your comfort. She loves to restore old homes, historic dwellings and she focuses on remodeling. She is the author of three books available on