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