Bobèche Reflection | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

I was preparing the atmosphere for the last Thanksgiving in my home and realized I needed two extra bobèche for my table. I went store hopping and suddenly I became disappointed to find out stores don’t carry bobèche anymore and young people working in the stores don’t even know what they are, except one young lad who was curious (a rare quality) and wanted to learn.
He searched online and found many places where to buy these attractive pieces, but most of the time come attached to something else.

tavolapreparata

A bobèche is a glass collar on a candlestick to catch wax drippings or a glass collar on a chandelier to hold suspended glass prisms. It’s a French word without English translation. First known use of bobèche is around 1855 when noble families employed a load of servants who shined and polished all day.

vivacious_bobeches_etsy(Vivacious Bobeches – ETSY)

 

the_vintage_arcade_etsy(The Vintage Arcade – ETSY)

Today, people prefer battery operated candles and chandeliers…..well…. people still like to admire them in historic homes but not in their own home ~ “who needs to clean all the crystals up in the ceiling” ~ most of them would say.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(Artfull Salvage – ETSY- OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA)

Want to create your own bobèche?  Find a vintage plain or colored glass, drill a few holes and attach some crystal drops. I will do that for my garden to use as a bird feeder and a couple for the table to use as a fruit display.

Frankly, I would love to have a chandelier full of crystal bobèche to catch a shimmering light from the bulbs and from the sunlight in the morning creating a multicolored effect. It makes me happy when I see colors.

I can’t do without light games especially during the holiday season, it’s all about allowing a new light in my life, positive energy and new opportunities. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

QueenValentina 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. She offers design consultations on-line 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
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Romance And Luxury | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

I am finding that some of the clients I am getting lately, high rollers and high-profile with demanding professions want to come home to empty spaces, minimally decorated and not necessarily done with expensive items, but surely functional that also assure comfort. Up to here nothing new, or nothing out of the ordinary, people who liked minimalism have always existed. What I noticed is something else. Wellness and peaceful home décor are the few elements they want to find after a hectic day at work and tedious hours spent in traffic.

oeil_de_boeuf

(Courtesy photo: Traditional Home)

They want to fantasize and romanticize a room with a little echo in the past, the past they have not lived in person and might have heard about from parents and grandparents and long for. They want a Bohemian style mixed with retro style, a bit of farmhouse mixed with urban style, repurposed wood for new style wall paneling and repurposed barn doors as interior doors. There is a resurgent desire for items corroded by time with a more current look of natural eco-friendly fabrics. These to me are signs of nostalgia for a gone by era. I am only an observer of customs, a curious person and wondering why this new millennium borrows style from past times and doesn’t have its own style to which later people would refer to as the Millennium style ….

fighterabsco
(Photo Courtesy: Fighterabsco)

 

napastyle
(Courtesy photo: Napa Style) – I placed this coffee table in one of my client’s family room. She is very happy her two kids can use it as a table to eat dinner while watching TV.

The new clients might want a butcher block with benches as a dining table set with a large farmhouse old and rusted chandelier overhead, a sofa perfectly new-made today with an old consumed leather patina combined with lush pillows and a great big TV screen from wall to wall.

mongolianlamb_westelm
(Mongolian Lamb Pillows – West Elm)

augusto_chair
(Grandiroad) – I placed this chair and ottoman in another clients’ home, she is very happy of the choice.
Muted colors and simple window treatments without frills and straight forward panels contribute to the calmness of the new luxury-rustic spaces.

Romance and luxury go hand in hand these days. Luxury today is intended as practical and less formal style, it must dress a room to ensure the usual comfort, the usual esthetics, the usual warm and inviting atmosphere.

westelm(West Elm)

Industrial, vintage, mid-century and Deco are the styles of repeating history. Perhaps in 20-30 more years we will go back to Victorian Era. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

ValOperaStampValentina 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 all over the world via Skype and with the traditional in-home consultations producing concepts for remodeling, restoration of historical dwelling, upgrading, décor restyling and home fashion. Vogue magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15 and has been interviewed on various Blog Talk Radios. Author of three books all-available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Neutral Meets Texture | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

What to do when a client has sturdy furniture, well maintained, traditional in style but showing signs of tiredness, in the sense of age? In some cases, one can tell if the date of furniture is 1970 or 2007. The kind of furniture I suggest when restyling a room, always follow the client’s style and taste, must be timeless, not necessarily too modern, too antique, too old, or too shabby unless that is exactly the client’s preference.

livingroomtextures

Let’s go back to the tired looking furniture. If I am hired to revamp rooms and not remodeling, that’s the moment Valentina dances around client’s possessions.
A recent client who heard me speaking about colors during an event, thought the moment had arrived to upgrade her décor. She wanted to keep only the best pieces of furniture and accessories she owned, along with the gray wall-to-wall carpet. My goal was to make the gray wall-to-wall carpet disappearing in the colors she never used in her life, exactly the vibrant colors she was afraid to use. It is a challenging task to convince someone that vibrant colors are perfect for a new home energy.

livingdining

curvedwindowtreat

The searching in local stores and online was long, meetings with clients and emails poured like a rain, preparation of many presentation boards and price talks was a daily task.
At the arrival of the first order, she was a bit reluctant to open the first packages she received at her home.
Do I open it? What if I don’t like it? Questions of this sort crossed my client’s mind. I had heard of designers who pushed their ideas on clients and had to send back to manufactures or stores all the items they had ordered, because when they arrived, didn’t meet the client’s taste. However, after she opened the first package, she was so surprisingly happy of my choices and when all the other packages followed created a Christmas type of atmosphere, that moment we can’t wait to be surprised. Placing all the items in the right rooms produced a new excitement and pleased her.
Those vibrant colors she resisted for so long are not harmful after all and worked well together with her existing furniture.

tiffany-mirror-a

livingview

From there it was a descending road to complete the project, every choice was easy and there was no discussion. I had gained her trust. Needless to say, when spaces are open and adjacent to each other it’s hard not to spill in other areas of the home and so we did.

familentry_after
master_bedroom

To get a client’s trust, it takes a lot of designer skills. We are psychologists, we must ask a load of questions at the start of the project, we must pay attention to things said between the lines and even know zodiac signs to understand the character and the planets which dominates the clients we are dealing from time to time. To some people it might seem a bit of a jumble of beliefs, but it has worked for me since the beginning of my design career.

With her white and beige furniture, two colors I particularly don’t care for, the only thing to do was to sculpt the décor with texture, colors, and a more modern details. The dining room chandelier now has golden-yellow shades and doesn’t match the black upholstered dining chairs anymore. Many Tiffany style lamps now bring an array of colors in the room when the lamps are turned on. A lot of crystal accessories shimmer in the light. The newly upholstered chairs with the bird fabric mix a bit of folk style in the classic décor, the rug doesn’t match the sofa anymore and adds movement to the surrounding. The gray carpet is no longer noticeable. I succeed in my goal, I tried not to match and the client is in heaven. She thinks in colors now and especially in contrasting colors. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2016 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 colors ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Veranda | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Ah… balconies with glass! Shut those glass doors and still see the world going by, keep noises away and still feel the hustle and bustle of the city. Inside, the veranda is a personal decorated island. Plants, bistro table and nice lights create a muffled world where one can paint, write, read, eat or rest. It’s a city life stacked on top of each other, but with character and style.
The sun will still come in, kiss the floor and infuse the room with warm energy.  Watch the rain trickling down the glass or the wind ruffling up the trees and feel part of the nature.
Winter is out there and you are protected inside the veranda. The summer will encourage to open the glass doors of the veranda and let the curtains flow in the breeze. It is just a nice place to be.

veranda
(Above photo: Barcelona – via evysinspirations.tumblr.com)

In Italy my native country a veranda is an extension of a room with the view of the world below. It is a well-lived place, some people hang their laundry, some cook out there to keep the house free of cooking smells, some people sew and knit, some practice dance steps and others entertain in gossips. It is our way to be in company with the city, soak it in, knowing all that goes around without being a part of it.
In countries different than Italy, verandas only decorate buildings, they are not viewed as a social space and really no one sits to enjoy a nice piece of architecture.

A veranda is not a front porch or a roofed backyard patio.
A veranda is not an open balcony, or a terrace.
greenveranda
(Villa Necchi – Milano, Italy)

A veranda is a protruding space from a building, enclosed on all sides by a railing and glass, sometimes frosted glass, sometime plain transparent and sometimes decorated glass.
Some verandas are small and some are big enough to have a seating arrangements for a few people.

They are most popular in Southern Europe, New Orléans and some areas in South America, all places where life evolves from the start of the day well into the small hours of the night and where people welcome open doors.
Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val Admiring World As 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

Gadget World | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

I heard a whisper in my ears…. a shopper was telling me these new gadgets are for people who don’t know how to cook. How did she know I am a professional home cook? Perhaps the stuff in my basket gave away a hint of my serious cooking, who knows, but she got me curious to continue browsing around the shelves full of kitchen gadgets and to discover how other people cook or what they put in their kitchens.


Frankly, I must say, the gadgets look good in the kitchen, they are colorful,  give the impression of getting the job done better or easier and in addition give the owner a serious chef look, but when it is time to wash dishes, this is myself talking, do I want to wash all those small parts and components that make a gadget? I am sure after a while I would get tired and will deposit them in the drawers never to be used again.

(All photos taken in Sur La Table store by Valentina Cirasola)

I do have plenty gadgets in my kitchen,  they are useful for my type of cooking, they might not be useful to someone else’s cooking.
The half-moon chopper, an Italian made tool is one tool I use all the time and the super fancy wheels to decorate my hand-made pasta. The wheels are very expensive but worth the price, they are custom-made by Luigi Desortes on the Italian Island of Sardinia. He is an artist, engraves the name of the owner on the handle and each wheel does its own original design.

My suggestion when you buy kitchen equipment is to look at your cooking style and find the tools or gadgets that will make your time in the kitchen easier.  Often a good knife will do all that many gadgets can do.


Long time ago, I invested in a large chef knife collection to last me for a lifetime. With those blades I chop, shred, slice, cube, Julien and everything else. My kitchen drawers are not cluttered and my washing time is minimal. Cooking is an art, don’t make it a chore. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com
Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Val:FarfalleStampValentina is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens, cooking and extensive knowledge of food. She operates in the USA and Europe. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms. Check out her books available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Light Sensations | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

What if you could change the sensation of dark winter days?
In the fall, days start to get shorter, weather becomes cooler, natural light is low, the garden outside the windows looks dark at night with a very little hint of colors from flowers hanging on to their life, until winter comes, then it’s easy to feel in hibernation. Fall and winter are beautiful seasons, if you ask me. Fall with its jewel color tones picks up a subtle golden coloration and winter with snow time becomes nature amusement park. However, many people suffer depression during these months due to lack of sun and too much rain in some parts of the world.

What if you could change all of that instantly? What if, by placing some special lights, the entire environment surrounding the house could become a happier and colorful place? And not only that. Feeling sad? Change the color of the lights to permeate the room with happy feeling. Feeling too stressed out? Change the color of the lights to feel calm and relaxed. Need to be energized? Change the color of the lights to pick up new vibrations.

diva3

diva5
DIVA Lights, Italian made, can do this for us, as they almost breath with the surroundings and our emotions. DIVA Lights, being managed by a software, sense the weather outside and change automatically into the opposite colors of the outdoor. Let’s say outside is gray and raining, by placing DIVA lights in the interior of the home, the lights will pick up the vibes of the weather condition and will change the interiors of the home into summer light tones and feelings.
In fact, restaurants in Europe use them to keep customer inside the premise longer, inside of their created spring-summer atmosphere when outside is cold, gray or raining. Due to the colored lights and the “feel good” atmosphere generated by the lights, customers feel to stay put. Who needs to go out there, when inside is cozier and colorful?

diva4
DIVALight-6
diva2

DIVA lights are portable, thus they reproduce in the garden the same scenario created in the home. DIVA Lights are intelligent, by placing them among the foliage, bushes and shrubs, the lights will feel the cold fall or winter temperature and will create warmer colors, contrasting with the evening-night colors. Suddenly the garden will not seem so dark, bare and uninviting. Under the moonlight with DIVA lights the garden will be luminous, will have a colorful appeal and will pick up a happier feel. Psychologically the lights help feeling better during the dark period of the year.

diva1

(Photos courtesy of DIVA Interactive)

As I said before, from outside to the inside, the lights are portable, a smart phone manages the software even at a distance, the color system they bring to us is the secret. Today we want to “feel good” with the technology we use, when we entertain, when we eat exceptional food, when we exchange ideas in a living room full of friends, when we work, when we sleep and when we spend time in the bathtub. DIVA Lights promise these experiences and I add “change your colors, change your life energy and you will have a story to tell”.

Feel free to contact me about DIVA Lights, or go here:
http://www.divahome.co/
https://www.facebook.com/diva.light.home/

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

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValWorkingValentina 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

Atrium Delight | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

house_of_vettii_peristyle

house_of_vettii_peristyle

Lately I have gone back in history to find inspiration for home designs with a different feel and character, homes with pleasant lay-out flowing harmoniously from room to room, homes filled with natural light and homes where nature decorates the interiors just by itself. Modern shoebox homes don’t provide that inspiration anymore. In the market I see only houses with ceilings so high that even the soul can’t find a resting place and it escapes the body, or I find homes with rooms without any creative detail.

Sometimes ago, I went to meet a new client in a new built home. She was so tiny, skinny, short and young, when she opened the large six feet doors I mistook her for one of her daughters. The ceiling was 20 feet high, she even admitted to have a feeling of cold emptiness when she was in the house. She purchased large furniture to fit the scale of her high ceilings, but she felt lost in them and I noticed her feet dangled when she sat in the sofa. The house was a huge shoebox built on a small lot and no yard. Is that a good living sticking people between four walls and not a stitch of garden or outdoor space?

houseofgoldencupid

House _Of_Golden_Cupid

In Italy I grew up in a round building, one storey high with a terrace up above where women hang their laundry, dried tomatoes for the winter on large wood planks and kids played together. The building had a central atrium, a common area to everybody, open to the sky. It was a playground for the adults, it felt just like an outdoor space but it was really enclosed between walls secured by a large iron door. The adults gathered in the atrium to play cards, to shoot the breeze, to enjoy a drink or two, sharing food together, or in case of needs someone was always ready to help.
Balconies on the first floor led to each apartment and overlooked into the atrium.

In Europe people live in building apartments. It is still very common to find buildings with an interior atrium closed with a door to the exterior. Life around the atrium becomes a public one, puts everyone in close proximity, basically we know everybody’s business.

Even in America at one point atriums were popular in buildings with apartments. In fact, in the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rear Window with Grace Kelly and James Stewart we see how the life of people living there evolved around an atrium. In a single family home an atrium is a private affair. Basically the backyard shifts to the front of the entry and it becomes the playground for kids and adults, a BBQ and entertainment area. The exterior door to the street protects and encloses people between walls.

1954 Alfred Hitchcock's Film Rear Window

1954 Alfred Hitchcock’s Film Rear Window

House_Of_The_Faun

House_Of_The_Faun

(Roman Homes photo source: Pompei – Past and Present – Guide to Reconstructions)

Patrician Romans built their homes in this fashion. In my picture the House Of The Faun (above), bedrooms opened up to the atrium, as well as dining areas for summer and winter. The layout of the house ran around the atrium. They situated bedrooms under a portico of Ionic columns, from where people and guests enjoyed the white noise of a fountain, bronze statues and the view of fragrant central garden. Kitchen, baths and servant quarters were located farther to keep the smells away. In the Roman atrium, musicians entertained with their music, men talked about politics and business, women occupied themselves with kids, gossip and women activities, the atrium was the area of the house for socializing, as we might use the living room today.

Centuries later my life as a kid evolved the same way in the round building with an atrium.

AD Design - Los Angeles, CA

AD Design – Los Angeles, CA

The four walls of a house are what they contain, they protect the dreamers. I dream of a natural living, surrounded by nature, colorful waters, positive vibes from a fluid architecture that exudes the earth’s energy, allows me to live mostly outdoor and shelters my friends and family as an oasis. Ciao, Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValWorkingValentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She especially loves to design all those rooms with a “make me feel good” tag attached, such as kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms. She is a public speaker and a mentor. She is also the author of two Italian regional cuisine books and an interior design book on the subject of colors, all-available here in this site on the Books page and on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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