We are in full Carnival time, a short period of the year to be licentious until Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) when all will end. This joyful celebration inspires me to create some Venetian interior. In decorating a home interior we can choose from so many styles: French, Asian, American, English, contemporary, antique, just to name a few, or we can have a theme like beach, country, eclectic, Bohemian, shabby chic and so on. If celebrations inspire us for instance we can decorate in the mood and colors of 4th of July, Thanksgiving or Christmas. However a lot of the styles I mentioned are seasonal, Venetian style is a timeless style and not only for Mardi Gras. Have you seen Joan River’s home?
To understand a particular style it is important to know the history of that period to gain some insight of what shaped a particular style and why people accepted it.
The story of a Venetian style happened many centuries ago when Venice was a very wealthy republic, peaceful and productive. Venice’s name was La Serenissima meaning the Very Serene, because Venetians were financially stable, politically powerful and did not fight with neighboring countries. Instead Venetians people traded goods with foreign countries and the Far East, especially after Marco Polo went to China through the Silk Road and brought back to Venice a new way of decorating with silk fabrics for interiors, Oriental vases and potteries, new spices to enhance food and new fabric for both men and women fashion.
The result of Venetians being peaceful and wealthy people was that they embrace lavish parties, hence the introduction of dressing up with elaborate costumes and masks at Carnival time.
The homes of wealthy Venetian Republic were highly luxurious decorated with valuable material and furniture. One of the items that still goes strong is a particular red marble called Rosso Verona used for flooring. It grows in the area and it has been largely used through the years in monuments, churches and museums. Venice sits on water, the colors of a Venetian interior reflect all the colors of the water, blues, light greens, aqua and as the sun rises or falls the warm sunrays reflect on the water, which at time becomes light pink, light purple or light blue and even light grey.
Fashion had a lot of influence on the interiors as well. The silk fabrics that Marco Polo brought back were also used for the upholstery. Men and women used the same colors. It was common to see a man with a light pink jerkin, yellow silk stockings and cream ruffled shirt, as much as it was common to see a woman in a purple dress with Chartreuse shoes.
Venice is mostly a grey foggy and cold town, to counterbalance the grey colors of the outside a traditional Venetian interior is cheerful but delicate, it reflects the colors of the water, delicate pastels, mix of floral and a lot of cream colors.
A traditional Venetian interior is not complete without bombe’ and hand-painted type of furniture, heavy upholstery in burgundy colors to echo the wines Venetians drink and gold accessories and home trimmings to echo the gold of the jewelry they once traded on. Fabrics are usually brocade, damask, silk and velvet. Flooring is often a very dark hardwood, or a very common Rosso Verona marble, or checkered designs and heavily composition of mosaics. The windows are always embellished with panes of stained glass.
In modern Venetians interiors, the décor changes dramatically. We might still see a beautiful decorate marble floor, but with modern, industrial lighting, light-colored walls, colorful seating and contrasting color pillows, rug and accessories. Another modern decor might be an all white interior with silver-grey faux finished walls with pastel accessories and colorful paintings on the walls, artistic masks and oversized Venetian blown glass here and there. Let’s not forget Venice is the capital of extraordinary blown glass creations. The modern Venetian curtains might be made of sheer material in pastel colors or totally white.
Even though time in Venice has remained still, the interiors have evolved. A Venetian interior today can have the features of Venice like the light colors and pastels, the fabulous floor of marble work and stunning blown glass without the heavy velvet, damask and brocade fabrics.
Transforming a space in a period style or in a particular theme takes knowledge. The first step in any design project is gathering inspiration. How can you know which elements to choose for your space if you do not know history?
Happy Mardi Gras. Ciao,
Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is a trained
in business since 1990. She is the owner and principal designer of her company: Valentina Interiors & Designs. Being Italian born and raised, Valentina’s design work has been influenced by Classicism and timeless style. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away a comfortable living. Find Valentina’s three books on