Travel Theme: Foliage | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


From Ailsa’s travel theme: Foliage
She says: “anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all”.

This setting, over 100 years old, some described it Spanish, some said it was Tuscan and some called it plain California style, has remained in my memories as the most beautiful place I lived when I first arrived in California from my native Italy.

At night it was magical, we fantasized seeing Humphrey Bogart coming through the gate, or Clark Gable holding one of us in his arms. It was easy to make up these images, the suffuse light emanating from the old street lamps and the smell of the juniper threes, helped us creating romantic imageries.

The stairs to my studio were a set for many weddings’ photography and many painter’s inspirations, who came with empty canvases and left with the interpretation of their imagination imprinted on. Virginia Klassen, a German flamboyant woman, then 83 years old, impenitent single, harpist player in many European orchestras, often sat with me on these stairs to invite me in her memories of a life on the Orient Express, passionate lovers, lavish living and famous theatres of the world.

The gate to a perdition, as I called it. We were all artists of some kind, or musicians living there, all without kids and family. An architect, a designer from Italy (me), an image consultant from Sweden, a chef, a novel writer, a furniture designer, an opera singer, a flute player, a software engineer from Germany, a pottery designer and an expert in custom laws from Mexico. Every day, after 6:00 pm, as we closed our business, we would meet around the fountain with wines, food and music and spent a few hours together, but often we went into the small hours of the night. Conversation around many topics was interesting and enticing, friendship got tighter and tighter as we got to know each other better.

This was my small world away from home, where people welcomed me as their friends and where we all shared our pains, jokes, aspirations, concerns and family matters. Unfortunately, this place doesn’t exist any longer. An architect firm abated it to build high-rise, high-priced office and condos.

In my work as a designer, I often find a way to preserve something with a meaning, or history and incorporate it in the new design. Ciao,

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola, is the principal designer and owner of Valentina Interiors & Designs. She is a trained designer and has been in business since 1990. She works on consultation and produces design concepts for remodeling, upgrading, new homes, décor restyling and home fashion. She also offer on-line consultations through Skype line.  “Vogue” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She also has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15. Check out her books on



11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. josephine
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 07:08:13 … Poor Virginia, she must be turning in her grave! What an interesting person she must have been and her ‘home’ reflected it.



    • Valentina
      Oct 03, 2012 @ 15:49:33

      thank you so much for sending me the link on Virginia Klassen.
      She was an amazing, flamboyant, artistic and very outspoken woman. She often walked by herself in the middle of the small hours of the night with beautiful hats and clothes of a different era.
      I really liked her, but I especially liked to sit with her and listen to the remarkable stories of her life, which have remained so vivid in my memories.
      This piece of article brought back some happy moments with her and made me happy. Thank you,



    • Valentina
      Oct 06, 2012 @ 17:12:22

      Virginia Klassen, was an interesting person, full of colorful life stories and adventures. She slept in the morning and walked mostly in the small hours of the night wearing clothes from a different era.
      Thank you for sending the link, I relived quite beautiful memories. (BTW, I thought to have sent this message, my apologies if you received it twice).



  2. Amy
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 17:49:54

    It’s a special talent that be able to preserve something with a meaning, or history and incorporate it in the new design! It’s so sad to know the place is gone…



    • Valentina
      Oct 03, 2012 @ 18:12:33

      it was a great experience while I lived there in all senses, people, environment and camaraderie.
      It was just as great pleasure to have a studio in a lush greenery and working while warbling from the opera singer, or the rehearsal of the flute player came through the windows.
      Yes, too bad the place is gone, but it’s well recorded with pictures and memories.



  3. Jeff Sinon
    Oct 06, 2012 @ 09:28:25

    The story and the imagery make me feel as if I was there. It sounds like it was wonderful.

    I must single out the second to last photograph as my favorite. The depth of field, the light on the fountain, and the composition, are all beautifully captured. It makes me want to be on the other side of the gate to see to fountain up close.



    • Valentina
      Oct 06, 2012 @ 16:02:28

      Thank you Jeff, I am learning how to do better photography and I have a long way to go, but coming from you a professional photographer, makes me feel really good.
      The place where I lived then, was like being in a film set. I am glad you felt the vibrations.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment.



  4. TBM
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 11:26:47

    That’s a shame it isn’t gone. At least you still have memories, but what a shame.



  5. Zen and Genki
    Oct 10, 2012 @ 04:19:38

    That gate is so lovely…



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


"La flamme des cuisines."

Teagan's Books

Now available: "Three Things Serial, a Little 1920s Story"


Any old world uncovered by new writing

The Love of History

Another site/blog for loving history

La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin

Life is too short to drink bad wine

Badfish and Chips Cafe

Travel photos, memoirs & letters home...from anywhere in the world


a journey of discovery with my camera...


Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure

Chasing Destino

I'll be outside of the mosh pit . . . waiting with bandaids and kleenex . . . I can also work magic with an ace bandage. Just sayin' . . .

this man's journey

Each journey has a story to tell. Each story has the possibility to bring about change, hope, joy, comfort, healing.

LEANNE COLE Photography

Fine Art Photographer ~ Daring to be Different

Through Harold's Lens

Harold Green Photography

HarsH ReaLiTy

A Good Blog is Hard to Find

The Punchy Lands!

Embrace Your PUNCHY Nature

In Bruttium

Uncovering Calabria & The Mezzogiorno, One Toe At A Time. | By Adam Underhill

Design Secrets

fulfill your craving for a beautiful home

Decorating by Donna • Color Expert

A Virtual Color Expert who is highly specialized in designing color for your home.

Green Door Hospitality

Adventures in Everyday Entertaining


These letters are written to remind you just how much you matter, just how important you are, and just how beautiful the gift of life as a human is.


Tanaman, Alam Semulajadi Dan Yang Berkaitan

Architecture, Design & Innovation

Construction Industry News & Views

Critique Collective

Critique Collective is your source for information and interviews about emerging and established contemporary artists.

The Dragon Blog

Fantasy Author Raani York's voice

Oh, the Places We See . . .

Honey, grab the GPS.

Zeebra Designs & Destinations

An Artist's Eyes Never Rest


amy begun saab ~life as i see it. a Vermonter deeply entrenched in Alabama i planted flowers.

I see beauty all around by rob paine

Pro Photographer Rob Paine's (of stories behind his photos along with helpful photo tips

%d bloggers like this: