Art Of Puglia: Taming A Stone | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

“It is warm to the touch and feels like a skin of a woman” says Renzo Buttazzo, Italian sculptor of a particular stone found only in Lecce, in the deep region of Puglia, South-East of Italy. I had the opportunity to interview him and a world of beauty opened up to me.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

(Above: Renzo Buttazzo – Italian sculptor)

Renzo Buttazzo calls the stone an “unstable precariousness”. Inspired by the simplicity of walls in the Puglia countryside, which were built only with stones stacked one on top of the other without mortar, Renzo designed a piece of stone furniture the same way. Each piece of stone he carved, hovers over the other, he stacked them like the walls in the country securely standing for centuries under all-weather conditions. The design style he chose refers to the square shapes of ‘70s.

(Above: “Yang” Stone Furniture)

Renzo Buttazzo started carving Lecce Stone at age 19, when his path was clear to him. He wanted to create something spectacular with his hands. Experiment after experiment, he changed the way to carve a stone. Renzo empties out the block of Lecce Stone and creates from the inside out. He doesn’t use the traditional method of carving and shaping a block of stone into a figure or an object, as it has been done with marble and granite for so long. Lecce Stone, Renzo explained, is a soft limestone, as ancient as 4 million years, yellowish in colors, warm to the touch, contains fossils, water and sand, basically the memory of past lives that have touched it.

(Above: “Aurea” Table)

He went on saying the stone produces natural and magical games of light. He was the first to create stone lamps that, in his imagination, it’s not necessary to turn on. Texture and fenestration he creates in the stone lamps receive the sun light in various time of the day, making beautiful fluid shapes on walls and surfaces, enough to free the viewer’s imagination. In the morning, the lamps are sculptures and in the evening they become lamps.

(Above: “Dormienti – Vulca” Light Installation)


(Above: “Meltemi” Lamp)

His way of carving the stone inside out was so innovative to get the media interested in his work and at only age 38, the President of the Italian Republic nominated Renzo Buttazzo:
“Cavalier of the Republic” for artistic merits, a rare award to receive in Italy.


(Above: “Maui” Floor Lamp)

Nature of Puglia, his native region, where he lives and creates, the shapes of the olive trees, Karstic rocks of Puglia, coral reefs and the basin of the Adriatic Sea, are all the elements contributing to his inspiration. Touching his sculptures, which is something Renzo encourages to do, will give the visitors the right sensation of the stone’s fluidity, the warmth and the sensual shapes he attributes to the stone.


(Above and below: “Merlera” Sculpted Wall)

The sculptor loves to empty out the stone with ancient chisels to make it as light as possible, thus no one piece he crafted is equal to the other. In fact, when he receives an order of a large number of wall sconces, or lamps for the same interior, each piece looks different. The attention to details he puts in his work makes every piece original and highly appreciated.

(Above: “Ovo” Bath Tub)

Due to its versatility, Lecce stone is used for interior applications, usually left at its row state, as it keeps the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The formation of a slight layer of mold protects the stone under any weather condition when used for exterior applications. From the steppe to the desert, Renzo produced exterior decorations for a church in Russia, buildings in Canada and in Dubai. He produces sculptures, lamps, wall sconces, and even stones furniture for famous resorts and hotels around the world.
He loves to talk about his stone lounge chairs for swimming pools, the “Mareposa chaise longue”. At the end of the summer, when people and noises are no longer there, the undulated chairs remain on the swimming pool as soft, silent sculptures of flying ribbons.

(Above: “Mareposa” Chaise Longue)

Renzo collaborates with various glass, wood and metals artists. The “Zeus” table created with metal legs, Lecce stone top and a crack made on purpose to be filled with liquid copper was a great hit at Milan Furniture Exhibition and sold immediately.


(Above: “Zeus” Table)

Molten glass at the highest temperature mixed in with Lecce stone, burns the stone and creates unpredictable shapes. Once the glass cools, it separates from the stone and voila’ two objects tamed to the will of the artist are born with distinctive characters.

(Above: “Velata” Bowls)

Vulcanization is Renzo’s way to shape volcanic black stone and incorporate it in the Lecce stone to create dark-light effects and original rhythms.

(Above: “Niura” Sculpture – Vulcanization)

I asked him about his future projects. He wants to fight globalization by returning to the origins. With the help of the European Community Renzo has plans to teach his art to youngsters, teach how to work all materials nature produces, teach them to appreciate the history of Italian craftsmanship and the value of creating objects by hands, making sure the posterity will keep the art alive. Creating a piece art, also means knowing how to sell or place it in the right interior, with the right client that will appreciate it.  To his teaching he wants to add market studies, philosophy of understanding world customers and their needs. The duty of an artist is to hand the past to new generation to build their future.

(Above: “Vulca Casa” Lamp)


(Above: “Reef” Vase)

(All photos are property of Renzo Buttazzo – permission to use them granted).


Renzo Buttazzo concluded our conversation by saying he creates for himself first to satisfy his needs. Customers take home his passion, his love and his emotions. Ciao,

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is a designer in business since 1990. She is interested in helping people designing their interior and exterior spaces with an overall feeling of peace, relaxation and harmony that will draw them home eagerly. She is always looking to add that special touch with original findings to the spaces she designs. Color is the focus of her business today, changing people’s energy and life force just by introducing them to colors they would have never imagined. Vogue Italia magazine, Gentry and many prominent magazines in California featured her work. She appeared on RAI, National Italian T.V. and her story continues. Find copies of her book on colors ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors  and  the rest of her books on


Orange Of Today | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

October in California is the best month, weather is mild warm and the breeze caresses softly. It is such a pleasure being seated outdoor at a restaurant and enjoy lunch with a chilled prosecco.

Today, I wanted to dress with a mix of intense Fall season colors to convey a certain strength and power nature has on me.
In a cool way, typical of my ability to mix colors, I composed my style with sulfur yellow tank, mustard yellow pants, brown leather belt,  mixed brown-gold silk scarf, orange light sweater jacket and mixed jewelry in orange-brown with gold.  A bit of leopard skin doesn’t hurt, especially if it is in the form of Kate Spade’s shoes. This combination is vibrant and very safe, colors are all warm and in the same family. That’s the reason they all work well together, especially if the wearer has a golden tone, olive or tanned skin.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Trying a combination with a cool color on the other side of the color wheel it’s not just good, it’s excellent. Orange, purple and a bit of turquoise is dynamic, zesty, eclectic and playful. As for jewelry, gold tones will go better with orange and silver will mix better with purple, it’s up to the wearer getting the sun energy from the gold or the moon energy from the silver.

Of course, many more colors love orange, as green and blue, but I will leave it to your imagination.

It is time to color your clothes, your closet, your home and everything else around. Leave the Opaque Couché color types to Mark Zuckerberg.

Colors play an important role in the vibe you give off to the rest of the world. It keep away depression, sadness and minor sicknesses. If you wear colors that make you feel good, your brain will know it, your heart will be lighter, positive energy will flow from your veins out of your skin and on your lips forming a big smile. Smile is contagious, people will notice it! Ciao,
Open this link and scroll down the page to find my
Fashion Services

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, born in Italy in a family of artists. Style has surrounded her since the very beginning of her life. Her many years of experience in design business led her to offer consultations in both fashion and interiors, so much so that 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. She is the author of three books, one of which is a book on color theory:  ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors




Windows | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

They say you should never lose your child curiosity. I never have lost mine. I came to San Francisco many moons ago and still feel I am a tourist in my life. The city to me is a great opportunity for learning, never lose the chance to visit buildings which contain arts and culture. The restaurant scene is my second interest, of course, learning about food of various cultures is very interesting, it’s always a good subject to talk about at dinner parties.

Walking up to Coit Tower is an enterprise, the Greenwich stairs on Telegraph Hill are steep and intimidated, but I like the challenge and always go up that way. Most people drive to Coit Tower, only to find out, parking up there is limited and waiting time, to take someone’s spot, is about  45 minutes. On the long climb up the stairs, I can admire the gardens and residents’ houses made of redwood, the only one that survived the earthquake of 1906. In their windows is easy to see parrots, of which at times, I hear their voices. If I turn around while climbing, it is like looking in the window of San Francisco bay, framed with trees and foliage, breathtaking!

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Inside Coit Tower, the murals are a window in the history of America life during the Great Depression era of 1930s, a very difficult time for Americans, who lived the roaring ’20s and then suddenly knew poverty, as the economy stood still for about 5-6 years.  Those who have lived the Great Depression, lived the rest of their lives saving and conserving anything they could.

(California agriculture – vignette by Maxine Albro’s)

(Police calling for an emergency vignette)

The murals were part of the city’s Public Work Art Project. Various students collaborated in the projects,  inspired by painter Diego Rivera’s style. The murals depict the struggles of working class Americans. Through various vignettes we can see in the windows of chemical and steel mills working day, scenes in the cannery work, news gathering, packaging line, striking miners, women washing clothes and men panning for gold in the river, farming and wine making. In the window of city life, we can see a splash of everyday life, fashion of the era, a traffic accident, an armed robbery and a policeman calling for an emergency.

(Mural of the Library by Bernard Zakheim was one of the most controversial)

(Traffic accident and arm robbery – City Life mural by Victor Mikhail Arnautoff)

(Washing clothes at the river and gold diggers vignette by John Langley Howard)

(Chemists vignette)


(Industries of California – mural by Ralph Stackpole)

(Wine shop vignette)

The murals created around a real window, make American life of the era very real.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”― Augustine of Hippo



Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an Italian interior designer in business since 1990. She is passionate about colors and all expressive arts. She is a “colorist”. To her, selecting art means to bring out the best energy of her clients and nourish their soul. She trots the world and loves to write travel notes, from which she draws inspiration to design home interiors of her clients .
She is the author of her book on the subject of colors: ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors available on

Layered | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Season is changing. Time for coziness, fireplace, hot cacao, and earthy food is coming. If I had a winter chalet in the mountain, I would decorate it just like this place with only small variations.
I would layer walls with images and objects of mountains and lakes, games and fish. The décor of the room would be layered with leather, plaid fabrics and Kilim rugs.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).


I would design a massive fireplace layered with stones and wrought irons.

My chairs would be very comfortable and spacious. I would want them made of rawhide, wood and heavy decorative nailheads.


All the interior floor would be rough distressed wood, layered with stenciled images of nature.

I would want an interior cascade ending in a pool where to relax with a colorful cocktail and a game room in the same area.

The entry door, of course, would be decorated with a heavy wood handles.



The exterior of the chalet would be layered with the suffuse light of lanterns and the ground would be layered with bright and cheerful beds of  black-eyed Susan.



But this is not my chalet, it’s one of Bass stores and I fell in love the first time I visited it. I thought, If I will ever own a chalet, I would decorate it just like it, warm and cozy. Ciao,


Valentina Cirasola transforms and creates spaces realizing people’s dreams in homes, offices, interiors and exteriors. She infuses your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away a comfortable living. Valentina is well-known for bringing originality on any project and for thinking outside the box. Her interiors are not made with cookie cutters, only follow client’s inspiration, lifestyle and personality. She offers on-line design consultations through Skype and the traditional in-house consultations, helping people with their design challenge anywhere in the world.  She is the author of three books, all-available on


Torrid, Plus, Plump and Happy | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

Welcome to Friday Fashion.
For long time fashion designers have refused to design for Plus Size women. After so much efforts and countless hours spent at the gym, the population of women out there is not getting any smaller and fashion designers had to take notice of that. I don’t really know the reason we must be subject to accept the cheap and deceiving clothes sizes coming from China, actually I do, but I don’t want to talk politics here.  I am sure shopping for clothes it is hell for women size over 12. Sometimes the number is right, but the clothes don’t fit, because Chinese industry cut patterns based on the size of their population, not based on the size of people in the Western world. They want to sell us their clothes, but do nothing to improve the sizes that fit our bodies.

I am size 12 and I have tough time finding the right clothes as it is. I spend hours and hours in stores trying on various pieces of clothes and regularly leave without buying anything.  Those few times I do find something that fits,  I can’t match it to anything else I own, thus the search to match items becomes endless.  I can’t imagine how difficult it is for bigger size women.

(Photo: Torrid)


Watching the European news this week, I am pleased to have learned that a fashion company called Torrid finally showed its line for Plus Size women at New York Fashion Week. Apparently, Torrid is not the first fashion company showing Plus Size for the first time, as they claim. In 2013, designer Eden Miller of Cabiria showed her first collection of Plus Sizes at the Fashion Institute.


(Photo: Frazer Harrison, Getty Images For NYFW: The Shows)

(Photo above: Torrid Collection)

(Photo above and below: Torrid Collection)

I like how designers of Plus Sizes have conceived the healthy curvy women. In their collections there is nothing dumpy, dowdy, mumsy, or boxy. It’s OK to show off the curves instead of covering up with oversized clothes. The new lines look very shapely and embrace the body. Now, even large women can show cleavage, can wear corsets and leather jackets. They have choices of dresses with high slits, sheer fabric attached at the end of a short dress and flowing Bohemian dresses. They can have fun with flare sleeves and puffy sleeves on jackets and shirts. They can pair cigarette pants or short pencil skirts with longer blazers. Designers of Plus Sizes did not turn away from colors, flowers and patterns. They want large women to have fun, life is too short for not looking good. Ciao,
Open this link and scroll down the page to find my Fashion Services


Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


I am Valentina, a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, born in Italy in a family of artists. Style has surrounded me since the very beginning of my life. My many years of experience in design business led me to offer consultations in both fashion and interiors, so much so that I can remodel homes as well as personal images. I am passionate about colors and I encourage my clients to express their individual style in their homes and with the clothes they wear. I am the author of three books, one of which is a book on color theory: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors available on

In Company Of Aura House | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

In September, a few years ago, Eleyne-Mari Sharp interviewed me on her
Color Healing Radio and we spend a pleasant 30 minutes on a video call talking about colors and my new book: RED-A Voyage Into Colors.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Eleyne-Mari is an author, a certified color therapist, the director of Aura House School of Color and Light, founder of Color Therapy Month, the “Rainbow Writing” method and she organizes courses to become Color Expert.  –


Eleyne-Mari can teach how to write and shout our feelings to the full moon; she is a Lightworker and through her podcast series, she “celebrates conscious writers who are actively using their words to elevate the vibration of the planet”, in her words.

As a spiritual person, she teaches self-love, forgiveness and how to rise above difficulties. Using color therapy or crystal bed therapy, she promotes clarity and healing.

Just like myself, she loves water and says: “I am drawn to the energy of water and have always found it difficult to leave a bath, a pool or an ocean for some alternate playground.  Water is transforming.  It stirs up the inner waves of my emotions. It cleanses my angst”. I cannot agree more with her.

Her radio programs include: Colors for Meditations, Sunday Colors, Color Angels, Heart Day and Full Moon Color Healing Circles, Color Calendar and many others, which can be found here:

Our conversation started with telling the experience of my years in the fashion industry as a designer and owner of my fashion company. Through the video call, she could see the color palette I was wearing and, of course, she asked me if I gravitate around those colors. It was a mix of aqua-blue, light-dark blue, light grey and a very small amount of white. The palette is very soothing and I wore it for the interview on purpose, to stay calm and collected. It is also a great palette for a blond with blue eyes. Knowing the power of colors will put us in a better attitude and better situations.

She went on asking me about my colorful interior design career. She wasn’t surprise to learn I use colors to my advantage when I want to be seen or disappear in the background, when I want to be cheerful and bring optimism in my clients’ homes, or when I want them to make decisions. Every color has a purpose.

Eleyne-Mari lived in Italy some time ago, where she admired the freshness of food and, most of all, how important it is for Italian to have colorful food on the table. She was curious to know about my experience with food and if it had anything to do with me writing two cookbooks. Aside from the fact that colorful food is joyous to see, its colors help balancing and nourishing the chakras, I said. Passion has its own color, without it, life has no spice. Being passionate about food and loving my native land of Puglia were two reasons I wrote two cookbooks.

Here is the link of that fun 30 minutes colorful interview:

Eleyne-Mari closes all her communications by saying a “Rainbow Blessings”. I say, let nature inspire you, be in tune with its glorious colors and just copy it.

I love to remember events, situations and people my life brought me, great people, colorful people, each with a message. Ciao,

Copyright © 2017 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. She also was seen on RAI – Italian National TV and has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15. Author of three published books, the latest ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors is on the subject of colors.

It’s Called Playful Intricacy | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Everybody knows I love yellow in all the tints and tones. However yellow is not a well-liked color by many. This is one of the comment I hear often: “I feel jaundice in yellow”, or “For me, yellow has been the color of high-visibility rain jackets for construction, directing traffic…” My answer is: “don’t overlook the energy of yellow”. Yellow brings the sunlight in grey, rainy days, it’s inviting and uplifting when one is sad and slaps the depression away. Combining yellow and green, pushes out even more negative comments as: “I feel potted”. Ok, everyone has an excuse for not wearing this or that color. The problem I see is only one: once we settle for a comfortable color, we are not willing to experiment with other colors and often takes courage to go out of that comfort zone.

Next year 2018 Pantone, Institute of Colors, declared Playful and Intricacy two colors palettes of the year. They both contain yellow and gold tones, with the addition of green. Yellow and green have been around almost a decade in various combinations with other colors. I find similarity in Playful and Intricacy palettes, thus I am encouraged to use them together with my own twist. First, let’s see how I conceived one of my client’s dining and kitchen spaces using three colors, a sweet yellow pear, a beautiful jewel tone of berry and a light green-yellow. The kitchen cabinets in a blond type of wood and the walls painted in a green-yellow meet the berry color at the banquette seat under the window, which continues in the dining room, where I matched a sweet pear yellow. Then, the cove lighting in the dining room assured a warm ambience.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).


Let’s design a kitchen using each Pantone palettes. My inspiration came from my photograph taken in Napier Lane, in San Francisco. Yellow and Green look so nice in nature, one more reason to bring it in the house, or wear it.

Solution #1 – Playful Palette:
Make all the kitchen cabinets of maple wood with a toffee stain. Decorate the backsplash with glass corbeau tiles in a mix of yellow, green, gold and toffee colors. Turn on the under-cabinet lights and the glass tiles will add luminosity to the counter. Incorporate a green credenza close to one of the greens in my color concept. Paint all kitchen walls in yellow and accent one wall in the same green of the credenza. Make a playful breakfast counter with berry and green stools, coordinate with berry dome lights hanging from above to finish the counter picture. Mirrors, in the kitchen to me are important to double the image of food. Mix antique and modern golden frame mirrors, place them strategically to reflect interesting views of the kitchen and the tasty food you will prepare.

Green Credenza: Overstock
Berry dome hanging light:
Counter stools: JCPennies
Antique sunburst gold mirror:


Solution #2 – Intricacy Palette:
Make all the kitchen cabinets of maple wood with a berry stain. Decorate the backsplash with glass tiles with a metal and gold background. The under-cabinet lights shining on these glass tiles will make the backsplash look like jewelry. Incorporate a yellow Sulphur island. Paint all kitchen walls in yellow Sulphur. For the kitchen counter use golden metal stools, coordinate with extravagant lime green pendant lights to finish the counter picture. Arrange an intricate table setting with square and round plates, in all the colors of this palette, berry, yellow Sulphur, gold and green.

Sulphur island: J.A.S.Design-Build-Houzz
Metal gold tile backsplash:
Metal gold counter stool: Amazon
Green pendant lights: Creative Home Decoration
Yellow plates:
Lime square plates:
Polka dots cup & saucer:


Use golden flatware for both palettes.  From:

My suggestion: yellow or green by themselves might be bright and discouraging colors, for some people even difficult to combine. Look at the opportunity to tame these two colors by doing something out of the ordinary and boost your creativity. Ciao,


Copyright © 2017 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. She also was seen on RAI – Italian National TV and has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15. Author of three published books, the latest ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors is on the subject of colors.

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