Sculpting With The Light | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Is the sparkle of a chandelier the only light you imagine yourself being enveloped in?
Fortunately, a central light mounted in the middle of the ceiling as the only fixture that illuminates the entire room is passé and so are all the track light systems. These fixtures attract attention to themselves and detract attention from people, often-casting shadows on people’s faces.

Modern lighting is a visual phenomenon, it’s made inviting and creates a mood. Light is life and people congregate in rooms well-lit. In fact, the eyes need highlights and shadows to rest. A bright blasting light only blinds people, gives headache and leaves everything flat with no dimension.

In planning an efficient lighting system, we must first think of people and how good they will feel in our home when the light is right. We don’t want our family members or guests to look sick with bags under their eyes.
We should think of the type of tasks we do daily. These areas will receive a brighter light to fulfill our tasks.
We must create ambient light, which is perfect for conversing, for the comfort of the soul and to relax the mind.
Finally, we must accent everything of value, artworks, sculptures, glass art, photographs and interesting piece of furniture.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Sculpting with lights

Sculpting with lights

I see a good lighting system as a “layering effect”, sort of like painting and sculpting with lighting. The fixtures come in the second order and the light plays the main role. Don’t get me wrong, fixtures add style to a room, and we can admire their beauty during the day when the lights are turned off. However, lighting is one of the elements of design that must agree with human eyes, colors and shapes and the one element that visually enlarges or shrinks spaces. As in a theatre performance we never see the light source, we see highlighted only people and the important details of the plays, the same principle applies to home lighting.

A light effect from a lamp

A light effect from a lamp

Have a corner you can call yours, a place just for you and layer lights for harmony and coziness.

Cozy light ambiance for a private corner

Cozy light ambiance for a private corner

I like to create silhouettes, contrasts of shadows and light for different areas of the same space. I will never leave a corner in the dark and often I put lights behind furniture to create a glow on the wall. If I have an empty vase, most likely I will fill it with a light and if I decorate with flowers, artificial or not, somehow I will illuminate that arrangement indirectly.

I hope these small examples help you to look at your spaces in a different “light”. I do offer online consultations via Skype or Zoom. The world has become smaller and distances do not exist anymore. Ciao,

Day 3 – I am part of Facebook 30 days blog challenge organized by Paul Taubman

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


It’s my hope that through my writing and my stories I am enriching your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style and inspiring you to live in beauty. I love to encourage my clients to show their personality through their home décor, or the clothes they wear. I have loved my profession as an interior-fashion designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need. Check out one of my books on the subject of colors, ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, the third in line of my book collection


Hanging It In The Sun | Valentina Cirasola | Author & Designer

Growing up in Italy in my Italian family, I had to learn to do things in a certain way. We were respectful of the environment due to lack of space and lack of technology, hence we reused and recycled many items, other than using our hands to do the work of appliances and machines we didn’t have. We also learned to use our hands to make things, clothes, food, and items for the house. Depleting the environment was not a common notion back then and I am not talking about the Dark Ages either, it was just the way of life.

The building I lived as a child was a circular shape, with an atrium open to the sky as the main entrance to the building, closed with a heavy iron door that needed 2 people to close it and a terrace on the top of the building. People leaving there used the atrium to socialize, eat together especially on Sundays, gossip, playing cards, help each other in case of necessity, kids played safely indoor and breathed fresh air. It felt almost like the film “Rear Window” with James Stewart and Grace Kelly. The terrace was the place for hanging laundry, for drying food or making preserved food and sauces to keep for the winter.




Laundry time was really fun for the kids, a lot less for women doing the laundry. Did you know that in the ’60s when in America women already used the washing machine in the comfort of their laundry room, in Italy part of the country was still washing clothes with the ashes from burned wood? The process of ashes filtration happened through a simple white cloth with the aid of boiling water to extract the sodium carbonates present in the ash. This operation was practiced up to the ’60s to wash and whiten the laundry, also to peel legumes. It was hard work for the women who did it at least once a week.

Kids didn’t have the chore of the laundry, we watched the juicy romance that was taking place between the sheets hanging in the sun. In Italy love is everywhere, it’s just the air of the country that makes anyone fall in love. We played kids’ game on the terrace, but when the laundry was up drying, we mostly enjoyed watching grown-up lovers and teenagers at their first love experience making out between the sheets hanging in the sun. They used them as a shield to hide, smooch, kiss and talk romance. Sometimes we received a few cents to keep an eye at the door of the terrace and prevent anyone unwanted from coming in. The memory of the terrace is still grant. Some of us girls got the first kiss between the sheets on the terrace.



Today, I have a washing machine, I always had one, and no, I have not washed my laundry with ashes, but I never had a dryer in my entire life. I like my laundry to smell fresh as nature without the chemical of softener. Drying laundry in the air is bucolic and saves electricity. I keep it away from direct sunlight to avoid discoloration and not to get it as dry as Norwegian stockfish. However, I am a big believer in recycling or reusing and I teach others to do the same. One cannot possibly understand how much I recycle. Yes, I do have time to do manual things, it’s all about priority and how one organizes life.

Picture the plastic bags we get free at a grocery shop to put our vegetables in. I wash and reuse them.
I use soap and loofah for bath and shower, no bubble bath in plastic bottles.
To clean bath and kitchen fixtures, I use a lot of lemons from my tree, vinegar and newspaper to clean windows.
In my studio, I reuse the other side of the paper already written on one side.
I use a limited amount of home cleaning agents, one for the floor, one for the dishes and one for the clothes.
Never buy food in cardboard boxes or canned, nor drinks in plastic bottles.
I don’t eat or drink in plastic vessels. I use ceramic and glass, when they break, I use them as decorative items in the garden.
This list is only the beginning of things I don’t do. It is part of my cultural heritage and beliefs I grew up with that followed me everywhere I went in the world.
Being environmentally clean is my goal in my life and in my designs.

If you want to become an environmentally conscious person start in your home, there are a lot of opportunities to start a clean life. I can help as well if you need it. Ciao,

Day 2 – I am part of Facebook 30 days blog challenge organized by Paul Taubman

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is a storyteller by nature. Stories are very important to her design career to convey ideas because making someone’s home or personal images is not only about building around shapes, lines, forms, and colors. It is about the story one can create around their spaces and how they want to appear to others. She is the author of four books, all available on

The latest book just published is The Road To Top Of The World –

An Organized Life Starts With Food | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Sunday is a day for rest and self-care, dedicated to the family if there is one, and seeing or call friends. My Sunday starts with video calls with my family in Italy and friends in the world. In the midst of my Sunday relaxation practice, I include exercise and food planning for the entire week. Although it is pleasant at times to go out to eat, be served and get to know international food, I hardly eat in restaurants for a variety of reasons, the most important one is that I cannot control my fat, salt, and sugar intake. Some restaurants totally corrupt ethnic food to cater to the American palate, e.g. making pasta soft and not “al dente” as Italian would eat it, just to give you a small example. Ethnic restaurants only make food that is commercially well-known. In the case of Italian food, restaurants make the usual lasagna, veal parmigiana, spaghetti meatballs and leave out an entire selection of interesting food in the Italian cuisine repertoire. I eat so much better in my home, I see no point going out to eat and this is the same for any type of restaurants, not just Italian. I have noticed the same trend in other ethnic restaurants, the food is never as good as it would be in the original homeland country.

Weekly menu – On Sunday, I make the list of the weekly menu and I stick to it. I buy fresh food once or twice a week and never have frozen food to rely on. On Sunday, I cook a few specialties for the week that can stay in the fridge for two-three days, the rest will be cooked as the week progresses. Some Sundays are devoting to making bread and pasta varieties, the only type of food I keep in my freezer.

(Click on each photo to view it larger)


Pens-Book-Lemons by ©Valentina Cirasola

Make cooking a fun moment – Cooking is not beneath me, it’s not a chore and I consider it a relaxing activity. I put my favorite music on, or my favorite TV program, pour me a glass of wine or prosecco and fly around food like a dragonfly, happy to extract the best out of raw food, just like a dragonfly sucks the sweetness out of the flowers. In the kitchen, I am the orchestra maestro composing “allegro” food and making sure the “alti e bassi” chromatic colors mix well with all the flavors. Leaving this beautiful creativity to restaurants and prepackaged food is like giving up the power of being healthy and allow someone else to decide for you. Cooking simple, colorful and satisfying meals daily is not that hard. Use a lot of colorful food, the eyes thrive on colors.
Clean up the kitchen as you go along, make it a new clean canvas for the next day.

Eating In the Rainbow Board by ©Valentina Cirasola

Eating In the Rainbow Board by ©Valentina Cirasola


Organized shopping – As a designer, I create people’s spaces, by doing that their lives get organized and the quality improves. However, my abilities go beyond designing. Just like everybody else, I have a hectic life, but the food is my first priority. Knowing how to organize our life is important to eliminate stress. Between my appointments, I run errands and shop for food wherever I am. I look for small grocery shops, family-owned stores or street markets near or around my client’s places and shop for food in the hole of time I have on my agenda. We cannot manage time, time will run no matter what we do, but we can manage activities, that is exactly what I do and teach others. If something in the list was forgotten, it was not important for that day, don’t stress.

Don’t skip meals – At dinner time, I have always something ready, that feeling of coming home with hunger in my eyes and raid the refrigerator is not a feeling I know. Never skip meals due to lack of time. If there is no time to take care of your food and health, what is there time for? Our stomach requires attention, it is the center of all happenings in the brain and heart. Most people think cooking is a waste of time, I can assure you, often, I make a four-course meal in forty-five minutes. It all depends on what kind of nutrition one wants to follow, mine is simple, nothing I eat requires a lot of ingredients, an army of cooks, nor a great expenditure of time.

Organize your eating – I knew a person who ate every second of the day, she never ate a real dinner, only raw food, vegetable, fruit, nuts, and chocolate. She drank a ton of water daily, went to the bathroom and ruminated constantly.
Good digestion needs peace and quiet to process the food we ingest. Eating in the car while driving, eating in the street while walking, eating at the computer while working, eating at all hours of the day even in the middle of the night will not do anything good for the digestive tract, only will add stress to it, hence burning, reflux, bloating and more stomach ailments will happen.
I don’t care if you eat at a well-decorated table, or on the floor, decide where your eating will happen and do it in a relaxing way. Eating is a fun necessity, make it a pleasurable and colorful moment, even if it is for a short thirty minutes.

This photo below shows an easy specialty I eat often: boiled potatoes filled with baked mushrooms and raw cabbage strips as a salad.
It takes about 30 minutes to make it.
Bake at 375° F the mushrooms chopped in small pieces and seasoned with olive oil, S&P, parsley, and 2-3 cloves of garlic.
Boil the potatoes with the skin. Peel as soon as they become manageable. Scoop the center out. The center of the potatoes will be used for a frittata.
Fill the center with the baked mushrooms, add grated cheese, if you like.
For color and extra fibers, add strips of red cabbage, raw, seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, S&P.

Boiled potatoes filled with mushroom and cabbage salad

Boiled potatoes filled with mushroom and cabbage salad


An organized life starts with food, all your organs will thank you, your family will be healthy and energy will be high. Eat food for pleasure, indulge in a glass of wine, go ahead, have a chocolate bonbon if you have the desire, one, not the entire box, be moderate all the time and snack on nuts if you must. Ciao,

Day 1 – I am part of Facebook 30 days blog challenge organized by Paul Taubman

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is the designer who cooks. She has a deep interest in food that led her as an autodidact in the studies of food in history, natural remedies, nutrition, well-being and learning food of the world. She wrote two books on Italian regional cuisine and one book on color theory, in which she included one recipe for each color. Robert Taitano, a friend and business associate of says:
“Valentina – an International Professional Interior Designer is now giving you an opportunity to redesign your palate”. Get your copy of Valentina’s books on
Valentina’s fourth book is a travel narrative, in which she mentioned food in her travel experience  



Some Like It Grey | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

I see a grey color and immediately feel down and sad. I could not live in an area without sunshine, where most of the year is grey, foggy or rainy, my soul would cry. I can honestly say to have never liked grey, or couche’ (dormant) colors in homes, thus I would never propose something I don’t like for my clients’ homes unless they absolutely demand it. I want my client to live in cheerful homes with vibrant colors and not necessarily bold. I want all the colors to suit their personality which produce a smile when they come home.

However, I admit, in fashion grey is an elegant, classy, sexy and very neutral color. I use it often in the winter with brown, red, yellow, pink, purple and green. In home décor, grey becomes muddy, and dull if it is not paired with the right colors. Here I list a few things one should know when playing with grey.

Playing with light – Grey becomes interesting with a great amount of natural light in the daytime and with a lot of layered light effects sculpting walls and furniture at night.

Playing with furniture – Grey is not a pure chroma, it is the result of black and white mixed. It reacts differently near white or black. A white cabinet next to a grey wall will add vibrancy to the wall, and a black piece of furniture will turn the grey lifeless. That’s the reason we see white wood trims around windows and doors with grey walls. Take a hint from the horse white skin and dark hair.

(Click on each photo to view it larger)

Annie Spratt

Annie Spratt-unsplash

I love interesting contrasts; with grey walls, I would like all trims in warm brown with a red or golden undertone, as in the photo of the leaves.



Playing with mood. The mood is not that thing we feel when we get up in the morning, it has a lot to do with the location we live in the world.
In Northern countries, the natural light has a bluish tone and unless you purposely want a blue tone in the room, avoid all the greys turning blue and avoid all the blue colors. In the Southern countries, natural light has a warm golden tone. These rooms are a delight to decorate because they can take both warm and cool tone colors.
In Eastern countries, natural light has a warm tone at sunrise and in the Western countries, natural light is very warm at sunset. Where in the world are you?  If you know your geographical position, selecting colors will never be a problem.
Those color palettes we get at a paint store, are laid out to help customers selecting the mood. Vertically, the darkest or warmest hues are on the bottom and the lighter or coolest hues are at the top. Horizontally, every hue shows a different value until it changes and becomes another color.

In this photo below, the light blue of the ice gives almost the feeling of a coastal color palette, fresh and cool.


Playing with combinations – Many are the colors that look good with grey:
Lavender for a feminine look.
White for a crispy look (best for corridor, entry, study rooms, bedrooms).
Brown is the best combination, especially if brown has a red undertone.
Green, light and dark for a neutral look. In the photo below, the sky is grey, the green hills make the sky look a lot less sad.


Stephen Arnold

Stephen Arnold-unsplash

In my photo, the grey silky flowers look so beautiful next to the green silk leaves. They give light to each other. The pale green or yellow-green is best combined with grey.
Keep in mind that dark green at night looks muddy.

Grey Silk Flower

Grey Silk Flower

Grey and warm yellow, or ochre are spectacular.

Mike Scaturo - Unsplash

Mike Scaturo – Unsplash

Introduce pink, purple, magenta and orange to give any grey beautiful energy.

Annie Spratt-unsplash

Annie Spratt-unsplash

Playing with the home exterior – Most people seem to favor grey color for the exterior of the home and that’s fine. To make an attractive exterior color combination, I suggest a trio of grey, high, medium and low value. Use the low grey on the side of the house not exposed to the sun. To make it even more interesting, add the color of surprise, grey and yellow, grey and green, just to name a few. The accent color will substitute the light missing in the darker part of the exterior. I am here if you need to discuss grey. Ciao.

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer working in the USA and Europe since 1990, specializing in interior and exterior, color analysis, kitchen, bath, wine cellar, and outdoor kitchen designs. Often people describe her as “the colorist” as she loves to color her clients’ world and loves to create the unusual. “Vogue” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. RAI–Italian National TV invited her to appear in “Cara Francesca Show” and she has made many appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15. Author of four published books, one of which is on the subject of colors ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors.
The newly published book – ©The Road to Top Of The World – is on

Glammed Up | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

I don’t know many women who like fashion and don’t know about Iris Apfel. She is a geriatric starlet, who became a fashion icon after she stopped working as an interior designer. She is irreverent with her clothes, uses colors in the most extravagant ways, clashes patterns on purpose, and covers her body with the most extraordinary jewelry one will ever find. She can combine tastefully all kinds of jewelry from eclectic, tribal, modern, antique, retro, to golden, silver, wood, plastic, bakelite, glass, stones, hand-painted and a lot of chains. She doesn’t’ like what she calls the “put together” look, she likes all her extravagant combinations to look harmoniously done. She wears unique articles of clothing, although very colorful and bold, they appeal to the senses, always looking beautiful and special and make her look as if she is having a load of fun. That’s what fashion is supposed to do.

What she does with her clothes and the way she dresses outside the standard canons is a real art, it takes courage to be so highly decorated every day. She owns many flats and homes not so much to live in but to host her clothes and jewelry collections.
In her twilight years, she has even signed a contract with a modeling agency to become a geriatric model and wrote a book.

She has been an inspiration to many women, I am one of them. I have never been afraid of colors, or clashing patterns, there are certain things I learned from her, such as wearing bracelets, a lot of them, mixed in all shapes, forms, and colors.

These bracelets on my arm are hand-made wood bracelets, the dark color is Purple Heart, a very rich wood in wine color, and the light color is Marble Wood with beautiful veins. They make a nice wood sound, almost like a wind chime and they are lightweight.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Hand-Made Wood Bracelets

Hand-Made Wood Bracelets

I learned to make wood pens, I have three samples in the photo below. The technology is the same, I thought why not make bracelets for me, and wear them just like Iris would. Voila’ I did it. At the moment I am on the roll, many more bracelets will come out in many different types of exotic wood and colors. Perhaps I am on to something. Creativity is never too much.

Wood Bracelets

Hand-Made Wood Bracelets

It seems wood bracelets are a perfect match to a leopard print on a bag, clothes or shoes. Ciao,

Fashion Services


Valentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, born in Italy in a family of artists. Style surrounded her since the beginning of her life. Her many years of experience led her to offer consultations in both specializations and now she can remodel homes as well as personal images. She is passionate about colors and encourages her clients to express their personal style in their homes and with the clothes they wear.
To better help people all over the world, she offers consultations online. She is the author of four books. Get your copy of Valentina’s book on colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors on

Absurd Living | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Last week, I had three tasks to do for clients: find an original solution for bathroom fixtures, find a modern, colorful rug and find a few table lamps of different shapes. I went to my usual stores, where I am a customer and have a designer/merchant relationship, also where, for a long time, I had found a world of originality. With my great disappointment, all three stores had closed down. Irritated enough, I started to swear up and down and I don’t really know to whom I was directing my invectives.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

New Buildings Cupertino

New Buildings Cupertino


I didn’t have much choice but shopping online. I hate shopping online for my clients and for myself for that matter, everybody gets to own the same things and even though the selections are infinite, it is not possible to touch, feel and experience anything. How do you buy a sofa online without sitting on it and feel how comfortable it is? How do you buy a dress online without trying it on and see how suitable it is to your body? I remember a Persian store, where the owners greeted me by my first name, they knew my likings and why I visited them. There, I used to buy particular cooking spices and other food the commercial supermarkets don’t carry. Now, they are gone, just as the small family cafe’ with stuffed chairs and home-made pastry is gone, just as the living room store with fireplaces is gone, as all my favorite fashion boutiques are gone and all the stores I visited for my designer needs. We are losing the sense of community and the personal relationship with merchants.

New Buildings SC

New Buildings SC

In place of all the stores with original merchandise, huge and unattractive “box revival” buildings are growing, they are the future offices and living accommodations for all those people coming to work in the Silicon Valley and becoming a “game piece” for the young ultra-millionaires who can manipulate their subjects as they wish and like.

Meanwhile, what are we all going to eat? What are we going to put on our bodies, and what are our houses going to look like if there are only buildings and no stores to support our living? Why must we be forced to buy everything online and buy the same as everybody has? We are losing the sense of touch, smell, feel, along with the chance to go into a store and in a friendly manner, say to someone familiar: “How the fuck are you today?”. Oops, I am speaking in French again.
We have been flattened down like pancakes made with a mold, in a boring uniformity, all looking the same, all using the same expressions, we drive around a jungle of ugly buildings painted in sordid colors, looking for nothing and eating science projects for food.

Redwood City

New Buildings RWC

I do yawn when I see the “Beige Box Revival” a new boring architecture growing like mushrooms with no particular interest and no fun details, we will remember nothing of these constructions two years from now. The towns look the same everywhere, no squares, no landmarks, no monuments, nothing that speaks of the past or even an immediate past, no parks for kids, no fountains, nothing.

Today, builders are erecting expensive box revival buildings in the most uncharacteristic corners, over gas stations, at intersections of a four-way street, near overpasses, or overlooking the garbage area of a supermarket. Often these buildings have a huge monstrous parking garage next to them to host huge cars of those same people disguised as “game pieces” who drive alone on large freeways. Earth tones are the only colors builders know, occasionally they come up with a hint of color. The revival box buildings are made for people who spend their entire days at work and only go to sleep in their expensive shoe boxes at night. No stores to serve them, no community, nothing….but we must cheer the prosperous economy (I go for that, don’t get me wrong), the online shopping, and the solitude. Ciao.

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is a storyteller by nature. Stories are very important to her design career to convey ideas because making someone’s home or personal images is not only about building around shapes, lines, forms, and colors. It is about the story one can create around their spaces and how they want to appear to others.
She extends her stories in the TV shows she produces with artistic and inspirational people.

She is the author of four books, all available on
The latest book just published is ©The Road To Top Of The World –


Red Under The Rain | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

It has poured down for two months straight. Rain here in California is always an event and car accidents abound during rainy days. I don’t like rain in particular, it’s wet and cold but at least I appreciate the change of season that it brings. Rain cleans spider webs around plants, everything smells fresh, and vegetation in my garden grows lush.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Santana Row

Walking in the street during rainy days I see people dressed only in grey or black, curved into themselves, hidden in their hood, as to protect themselves from getting wet. The streets are gloomy, lonely and nobody enjoys this precious gift from the sky. I remember, when I lived in a different latitude, going out under the rain in colorful clothes was fun, we went out for shopping, work or meeting friends in a cafe’ where we could sit in the warmth, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and watch the rain falling on the cafe’ windows. We had clothes for rain and warm clothes for the winter, we wore gloves, hats, and scarves. Here in California, every day is a casual day. It is almost always sunny and mild, people don’t feel to dress for any occasion, thus when rarely the rain comes, they feel like fish out of the water.

I love to color my days, the greyer it gets, the more I burst into colors. This winter my new red Fedora has made me happy. It seems as if I bought everything to go with the red hat, no I did not, I build my wardrobe according to what I own already. It’s only a matter of remembering what is in the wardrobe and buy items which will combine well with the existent clothes.  To me, this is an art.


Red Fedora Ensemble

This is the month of red, Valentine red, I chose it because I am happy to love every day and to learn new nuances from love.



Red Fedora

Fashion offers a lot more than just an identity to society. It doesn’t have to be expensive to sharpen the image of oneself and change the way one feels in the right clothes, not just something that covers the body. Ciao,
Fashion Services:

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValValentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, born in Italy in a family of artists. Style surrounded her since the beginning of her life. Her many years of experience led her to offer consultations in both specializations and now she can remodel homes as well as personal images. She is passionate about colors and encourages her clients to express their individual style in their homes and with the clothes they wear.

To better help people all over the world, she offers consultations online. She is the author of four books. Get your copy of Valentina’s book on colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors on
Her latest book, a travel narrative ©The Road To Top Of The World is here:

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