Playing In Green | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

greenleafPantone says Green is 2017 color of the year. How many things does green represent?
Green: color of some currencies.
Green: color of grass.
Green: color of leaves.
Green: color of stones such as emerald, or granite.
Green: color of tea.

Green represents peace and relaxation.
The green street light tells us to go, but a green light in the bedroom induces sleep and the green color in the bath chromotherapy  let us relax.
In the ocean, a green water patch indicates that below there are live algae feeding from the sea nutrients.

Green is not one of the colors people wear well.
In the home, green walls at night look muddy, at times even greyish and depressing.
Green furniture look outdated, unless we give some strong power to the green.

I have composed a living room with colors which will boost the power of green.

 

 

2017pantonecolorsSource of items in my board
Orange Sofa: http://www.my.dvdrwinfo.net/furniture-stores-reno
Green Rug: Heyneedle-Loloi Charlotte
Caramel Pillows: https://www.zazzle.com/caramel+square+pillows

green-vibrantcolors

Of course, any room can be dressed with these vibrant and full of life colors, even office spaces. The idea is to play with the green and to make it come alive. I don’t see live plants in homes anymore. Live plants clean up the air, add oxygen in the home and decorate very well.

I am not afraid to combine green with colors others ignore, they look dynamic and I love them. Any questions on green? I am here at your service. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

QueenValentina 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 has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15 and on RAI – Italian National TV. Author of three published books, the latest ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors is on the subject of colors.
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Knowing How To Do It | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

We are all online, we read each other, we share content of people we like, we make friends, being online has become a new home for most us and the world is in our pocket. Years ago, I decided to make my time spent online a profitable time by offering consultations, design concepts, drawings and color solutions, all online services without moving one inch from my office.

This is a family room with a seating arrangement in a stairs void. Client told me that people feel as if they fall into the stairs void when sitting there. The void brings a cold draft in the room, thus nobody ever sits there. A small digital piano takes a space on that cold, naked wall and it needs something to embrace it.

stairsvoid

(Above and below: Seating into the void of stairs)

stairsviewintoliving

My solution is to close the wall up to a certain point leaving a large circular opening with a decorative iron design, which would allow light to spill in the stairway, would get rid of the draft and would allow people to feel more protected when sitting in that area. For the small piano, I planned a shelving unit enclosed between two flat fluted pilasters faux painted in silver-gold mix and a beautiful new lighting effect.

familyroomconcept(Above: Concept for the wall with seating, digital piano and open shelving)

 

The other wall hosts a lonely, dark, outdated fireplace stuck in the middle of the wall with a fake window on the right side covered with a curtain.

fireplacebefore

With my design concept, I created a built-in unit made of dark and light wood, incorporating TV, fireplace, music and storage space.  Woodworkers in the city where client lives will fabricate it. The unit will be the focal point of the room, whether the fire is on or not and will be visible from any angle of the downstairs open space lay-out.

frontvievelevation
(Above and below: Concept drawings for wall with built-in unit, fireplace, TV and storage)

perspective_a
Furniture of the family room will remain as it is. My involvement in the remaking of the room with a new concept was limited to designing two walls and producing a couple color palettes, both of which will create a great new atmosphere for the space. Hopefully, when the two walls will be completed, client will feel encouraged to change the rest of the room décor.

It didn’t take me long to create the new concept. It’s all about knowing how to do it through experience, love for the work and understanding client’s desires. The photos of the existing conditions and a few Skype conversations with the client told me the story. I hope to receive photos of the completed work.

Anything is possible these days when working online,  from designing kitchens and baths to create color palettes. The world is smaller and work doesn’t have to be hard.
It’s all about knowing how to do it and I have the solution for any of your design challenges. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com
Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

valentinadivaglassesValentina Cirasola has been a lifetime designer in fashion and interiors. Her extensive knowledge of colors and materials led her in both directions successfully. She is well-know for designing custom furniture. She cares to make spacious and functional pieces, but she doesn’t forget to introduce the element of surprise, sinuous lines, attractive shapes and colors in the style fit for each of her special clients. She is the author of ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors. Check out her books on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Repurpose | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

“Those who know how to make things with hands will survive” ~ often said my grandmother, who lived through two great wars and economic depressions. She embedded in us kids her way to save everything and made it a concept for a life.
To reuse and repurpose is a daily practice for me, in fact, my neighbors thinks I come from Mars for being so extremely diligent in saving the environment.

Other than papers and a few bottles, my garbage bins are always almost empty. I dry my laundry in the wind and  repurpose as trash bags those plastic bags for fruit-vegetables from grocery shops. Leftover food become a new specialty. Consumed towels get repurposed into dust rags.  Papers written on one side are reused as scrap paper. I repurpose clothes as new creations, save buttons from old clothes and incorporate them in something else new. Scarves and shawls become covers for side tables, the list goes on and on.
I am a true repurpose and recycle Queen, perhaps I should start teaching classes.

The object in the photo below was a candle holder with glass beads. A little knowledge of Arduino technology turned it into a LED light for the garden. The night is no longer dark in that area of the garden.

lamp

arduino-1a

This was in response to WordPress weekly photo challenge: Repurpose

Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

valentinadivaglassesIt’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 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 my latest book on the subject colors.
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w  

Ambience | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Can we define “Ambience” as the character and atmosphere of a place? We certainly can. It all starts with the front door,  your business card. People visiting your home will know what’s inside by the way the front door greets them. Is the front door landing clean, are plants manicured, is the landing well-lit, is there a functioning doorbell or door knocker, is there a welcoming bench outside the door, is the pathway leading to the front door curvy or straight, is the landscape matching the exterior colors of the home? These are some of the questions we should answer to give a good first impression and to create a positive aura around the home. Inside the home, your spirit should be noticeable as soon as one steps in.

composition-ambience-a

This is what to do if you are creating your ambience, or need inspiration. The first thing is to compose a visual board (photo above) with pictures of images that strike your fancy. Once you have them all together, you can edit the composition by subtracting or adding the way you like. The board will help visualizing colors, textures, natural material, finishes, line, shapes and where the light should hit to create feelings, backdrop, or set the tone for a dreamy ambience.

venetians2a

My inspiration for my living room ambiance came from a hand-made golden Venetian wine set I bought centuries ago in Venice, Italy. That wine set, in my imagination, called for capricious living room items, not too modern and not too traditional either, with a bit of fantasy, showing opulence and warmth. In Venetian interiors is common to find some mixed items from Asian and European countries, as wealthy Venice of the 1700s (The Serenissima) traded with the Orient and the Middle East.

Music is big part of my life. I wanted a miniature musical instrument on my entry door that played music every time I opened the door. I found a small harp made in Scotland. Now, a sweet sound welcomes people when they come in my house.

Door Harp by Valentina Cirasola

Door Harp (©Valentina Cirasola)

Continuing with music, Venice and Bohème theme, I wanted a lyre side table for the sofa in the style of Biedermeier. I found something similar and contemporary, which I keep illuminated from the bottom and from the top. The slipper chair next to it is a real treasure, it’s a Jacobean style. It came from an antique store in the Gold Country in California, the owner didn’t know its value. I re-upholstered with mystical fabric, I thought music and constellation play the same tune.

slipperchair
To find a Venetian chair was a challenge, but not for long. I found a chair with the right shape and price, but beauty wasn’t there. A skillful painter, using only Chartreuse and gold paint, turned the chair into a Venetian style. Re-upholstered in double face: Chartreuse color fabric with Venetian shoes printed on, paired with a purple-chartreuse polka dots fabric, made this chair an original, whimsical Venetian idea. It is now in my reading, breakfast corner.

venetianchair_ledlights_a

 

bohemian_corner_a(Above: reading-breakfast corner)

From these few items, creating the ambience I was looking for, was easy. The aubergine wall is dark and sexy.  A colorful lamp découpaged with Florentine fabric details sits on a glass top with an Italian amphora underneath, which I keep illuminated inside and now fills an empty corner. This colorful lamp adds mystery to the wall, which at night picks up different tones according to the lights I turn on and what I want to illuminate.

colorfullamp

Warm colors, candlelight, posh pillows, glass accessories and mirrors reflecting light, all make the perfect Venetian-Bohemian style space for me. Does this style exist? Who cares, it exists in my fantasy. ❤️ ❤️❤️
fireplaceatmosphere1

 

As I said earlier, light has an important role when creating ambience. In spaces where no task is required, I like to create suffuse lighting effects coming from any corner even from inconspicuous places such as behind furniture.

Happy New Year

 

The home is your cocoon, create the ambience that makes your soul sing. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com


Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

valentinadivaglassesValentina Cirasola is an Italian designer in business since 1990, 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. Colors are 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.,  nonetheless her story continues. Find copies of her book on colors ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors  and  all her books  on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Arts of Puglia: Stringing A Chair | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Who has not owned a Thonet chair and not knowing it? Michel Thonet was born in Vienna in 1796 and became a well-known master ébénist under the rich Austro-Hungarian Empire. Thonet experimented a technical way to bend wood and succeeded by using warm steam to bend it to his liking, then placed the shapes created in steel molds to dry. Following the excellent results and high demand, in 1860 Thonet deposited his trademark and the Nᴼ14 chair, the most famous of his collection was born.

(Thonet chairs Nᴼ 14)

Every home, café, bistro and restaurant in Europe filled their rooms with Thonet chairs. The flexibility and resistance of this chair Nᴼ 14 became so popular through the Belle Époque and every era from then up to now.

Change country, travel down to Italy, same era, in the then poor agricultural region of Puglia. Thonet chairs were popular in well-to-do Italian households, I remember them in my family, but in the countryside and farmer’s families the straw chairs, practical, sturdy and durable, were the second-best choice. People who learn the art of stringing chairs made a good living. Necessity is the mother of invention. venezia-g_1117-1-venezia-g_1117-arte_povera-1-sedia_venezia-g_1117-1-venezia(Prices of most straw chairs here: http://www.lasediasrl.it/it/search/1/Paglia.html)

Many centuries later, while advanced countries push innovative recycle programs, down in Puglia, no longer a poor region, recycling is nothing new and doesn’t need to be created. Many crafts considered “ancient” are still in use in Puglia, a few people continue the art of stringing and weaving chairs, as we have mastered the art of reuse (I say we, because I am from there and I am one who reuse everything). We learn at a young age to fix broken items and not to throw them away in the land.

Poli Gaetano  from the town of Rutigliano strings chairs since he was a boy. In the video, he speaks Italian, but watch his gestures, they are strong, decisive and precise to make sure each chair he fixes will live for long time. In 20-25 minutes a damaged straw chair returns brand new. His father was in that line of work and fed a family of seven. Gaetano is now over 70 years old passed the trade to his son.

Straw and cane chairs are suitable for a country décor, especially in the rustic Puglia style, as well as in Tuscan and French style décor. Straw or cane chairs are perfect in covered patios, tea rooms, breakfast nooks, conservatories, bedrooms, or anywhere extra chairs are needed.

interior_of_trullo_sovrano_wikimedia_commons(Photo above: Interior of Trullo Sovrano – Wikimedia Commons)

In the Egyptian style patio I decorated sometimes ago, I substituted the straw with upholstered fabric panels treated with blueprint technique.

egyptiansstylethonet
In a French style boudoir, the same style chair became red and upholstered with traditional striped fabric.

Ciao, Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

valentina-ValleMonteAs an Italian designer and true to my origins, I am well-known to bring originality to people’s homes, but that’s not where I stop and any situation is a perfect opportunity to design something out of the ordinary. Check out my three books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Queen’s Hamlet | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Parties are for having fun, meeting friends, new people, eating, drinking and small talks and better be prepared, they will happen! Actually knowing how to conduct small talks to your advantage is a professional social skill. I was at a Christmas party where I met a woman who knew how to ease in the small talk conversation until she realized I was an interior designer. The natural questions that followed was: “I bet your house is beautiful! What is the style?”

Often people forget to ask what is your personal style, which would define better the answer. Style can be copied from magazines and voila’ it’s done. Does that mean it is your style? Maybe or maybe not. You might feel good in it, if you choose it, you must like it.

ferme1-le-moulinPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

I remember when I visited the palace of Versailles in France, I also visited the idyllic Hameau de la Reine (The Queen’s Hamlet), a rustic retreat in the park of the Château de Versailles built in 1783 for Marie Antoinette, who longed to play a farm girl role during her week spent in luxury. The building scheme included a farmhouse to produce milk and eggs for the queen, a dairy, a dovecote, a boudoir, a barn, a mill and a tower in the form of a lighthouse.

Boudoir_au_Hameau_de_la_Reine.jpgPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Each building was decorated with a garden, an orchard or a flower garden. The Hameau served as a private meeting place for the Queen and her closest friends, a place of leisure, the rooms offered an intimate setting than the grand salons at Versailles or at the Petit Trianon. Clearly Marie Antoinette was never a farm girl, only wanted to experience the feeling of living someone else’s life.

That is what I notice when I go to people’s homes, often the furniture and home décor don’t reflect their lifestyle. There are formal rooms never enjoyed because they don’t entertain, there are expensive designed kitchens where nobody cooks, there are immense spaces for a household of only two people, or I go into small homes filled with an overabundance of heirloom objects, garage sales findings, collectibles and travel memories, all contributing to the home clutter.

In the house where the party was, all the pictures frames were brown to match the brown furniture. Just to continue the small talk conversation, I pointed the picture frames to the woman speaking to me and I said it is OK for some people to match one thing to the other, just as they match the earrings to the necklace, the handbag to the shoes. To them it feels comfortable, to me is mortally boring (my favorite phrase) and banal. If you want to be unique, break these rules, I told her.

Studio_A.jpg
Above: Evening atmosphere in my office.

In my house, I broke all the rules on purpose. All my picture frames are different and still communicate with the décor. She said: “I hope you use this phrase in your marketing material, as it explains all your thoughts in a few words”. I felt I opened a door for her to new ways of arranging furniture and “thoughts”.

Kitchen_A.jpg
Above: Evening atmosphere in my kitchen.

Antique pieces can be paired with modern furniture, warm colors with cool colors are beautiful, various metals finishes can be arranged together; glass live well with wood finishes or stones and rugs or pillows must not match the artwork at all.

eveningkitchenAbove: Evening atmosphere in my kitchen.

I feel comfortable in a house that is not the scheme of someone else, I live in the colors that make me feel good and in the atmospheres I create for my well-being. I live in my Queen’s Hamlet. How about you? Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

valentina-ValleMonte
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 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 my latest book on colors
©RED-A Voyage Into Colors,
available on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Golden December | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

This month, as everyone in the world, I am in and out of stores, not to look for presents, I buy everything online, but to learn about Christmas trends. Z Gallery has filled the stores with an all-white Christmas from furniture to accessories and Christmas décor. The only color I saw is the table setting in purple-silver and some artificial flower arrangements.


Besides the all-white Christmas, I did notice an overabundance of very modern mirrors, a lot of gold home accessories and tableware. I find shiny gold very pretentious, especially if reflected in mirrors, however, if it is done tastefully, one or two elements can be quite elegant.

(Photos taken in Z Gallery store by Valentina Cirasola)

I was reading the horoscope for the coming year and apparently the planets are aligning to enter a new era of prosperity, which will last nine years. I like this forecast, don’t you? Knowing that everybody will be well-off and helping others with the wealth created is very reassuring to me.
Forecasts are beneficial to marketing, or any business for that matter. Stores must know trends and colors to sell what people want. Perhaps, all this gold reflects our next direction.

I have not thought yet how to decorate my holiday table this year. My food is always the center of attraction and decorations are minimal.
How are you decorating your table this Christmas? Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

valentina-ValleMonteAs an Italian designer and true to my origins, I am well-known to bring originality to people’s homes, but that’s not where I stop and any situation is a perfect opportunity to design something out of the ordinary.
Check out my three books on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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