Daydreaming On The Orient Express | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


In a few minutes, the doors of the most famous and chic train in the history will start its journey through Europe countryside and I will be on board. Handsome men in starched uniforms greet me with big smiles making sure the accommodation in my private cabin is just right. All the passengers are treated with white gloves, whether they are royalty or restaurant-car conductors, so much elegance, so much mystique here.

I see Agatha Christie, Miss Marple, and Hercule Poirot boarding the train. Is a murder going to happen tonight while I am on the train? Resolving mystery in thriller films has been one of my specialties.

I asked Agatha Christie where she gets the inspiration for her thriller books and she said the plots come to her at such odd moments when she is walking along the street, or examining a hat shop. Miss Marple looks like a sweet grandmother, one of those grandmothers we know in the country.

In Venice, I spotted a lad dressed in black boarding the Venice Simplon-Orient Express. He appears unaccompanied, his walk is distinctively elegant, but an aura of mystery surrounds him. Will he be involved in the murder? It’s all to be seen, but in the meantime, I want to know him. Of course, someone who is open, friendly and comes to me saying “Hi, I am so and so…” could not attract me, instead, those who have a mysterious and distant look attract me.

The smell of the Mahogany inlaid wood inebriates me, or wait, perhaps it’s the smell of fresh flowers everywhere filling the wagons with expensive perfume scents. No, I know what it is: the popping of the champagne in the silver bucket polished to perfection! I can ask for champagne anytime and anywhere on the train. Bell stewards with white gloves will respond to any request all hour of the day.

Where is that lad? His piercing green eyes are dangerous. For a moment he took off his dark sunglasses and I saw the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea in those eyes.

I am looking at my cabin, no details have gone unchecked, I smell luxury and comfort. The Venice Simplon-Orient Express reflects the current deco period style. Will I ever have a client who likes to decorate a house in the deco period style? Or am I going to be stuck in the Belle Époque? I know the deco period is modern and graphic, the only sinuous lines are the representation of lilies flowers on furniture, lighting, door panels, glass, and accessories. Flooring often is checkered or made of mosaic, strong and vibrant colors characterize all floors in this roaring age. Black is the common denominator that unites a home décor in this style as well as fashion.

The Gatsby’s are on the train too. This will be a load of fun! Zelda Fitzgerald is so beautiful and “all over the place” exactly how people who know her have described her. It has been said her talent lays in drinking and there she goes with her first morning glass of champagne!

The Venice Simplon-Orient Express licenses its name from SNCF (French railways), the trademark owners. It will take us from Venice to Paris and London. To some people, the Orient Express is synonymous with this modern decade of 1920-30s traveling in style on the route between Paris and Constantinople and to some others, it simply evokes memories of past steam engines and luxury carriages. To me, it means venturing, replicating, and creating in homes a dreamy setting with this fantastic train décor.

But wait where did the lad dressed in black go? We could pop a cork together. Ah, he is there at the piano bar I can see the large silver buckles on his black shoes, he is entertaining Madame Pochette.

What a fabulous woman she is, petite, and full of spunk! She created extravagant pochettes (clutch bags) in her life, they were true work of art. Great fashion designers requested her pochettes for their fashion collections, but she created them as her fantasy dictated and that was it, never bent to any particular request. One day she opened her Bohemian guesthouse in Cannes that she called Madame Pochette. Her guesthouse attracts high calibers poets, painters, musicians, lovers, and politicians with all the best intrigues one can weave in a juicy novel.

(Photo credits to Simplon Orient Express)

Chic people mingle around in the train, women dresses are so elegant, black tie is required for dinner at night and a musician shows off his pianist skills with the music of the modern Jazz Age of Gershwin, Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, and King Oliver.

Enrico is the name of my mystery man; apparently, he is Italian, apparently looks like a man who makes an art in wasting women, apparently his voice is suave and hypnotic, apparently is so easy to fall in love with him. He is like an octopus, once his tentacles brush against a woman, they feel enveloping, but an hour later he strikes his final grip that will take a breath away. No, I don’t need this kind of man, but before I could say no, we are already dancing the tango, wait, should we not be dancing Charleston?

The sound of a cellular phone brought me out of trans into reality. The music in the piano bar was playing, but Enrico was not there and neither were the Gatsby’s, Agatha Christie, Miss Marple, nor Hercule Poirot. I was day daydreaming on the Venice Simplon-Orient Express this April 2013 and this is my story. Ciao,

I was serious when I was wondering if I will find a client who wants to decorate in the deco period style.

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

QueenValentina 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 through Skype line and in 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


Ritzy and Spiffy | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


Vintage, what a passion! The flapper girl loved all that allowed her to be and feel free in her behavior.
Louise Brook, the diva of silent movies adopted the short hair cut à la garçon that every woman copied. The short bob emphasized the sensual curve of the neck, while the facial features under a cloche hat were enhanced with a well-studied maquillage. The flappers girl loved very red lips and nails, lunar skin, very long eyelashes, marked the eyes with a smoky black eye liner and completed the look with long pearls necklaces. She loved to wear short dresses above the knee, showing them off for the first time in the history of fashion. Designers Coco Chanel and Paul Poiret, in Paris called “Le Magnifique” liberated women from corsets or other body traps and put them in chic sexy gowns.

This past Halloween I was invited to a 1920’s party. The house was so beautifully staged in that period style that I felt prompted to write about how to reproduce the same style in today’s home.

In Europe, the 1920s’ style had a different name in each country. It was Liberty Style in Italy, Art Nouveau in England, Style Guimard in France named after designer Guimard, Modernism in Spain, Secession Style in Austria and Youth Style in Germany. Regardless of how it was named, Art Nouveau flourished between two World Wars and it was a celebration of youth style and liberation from fussiness and constrictions. Key words to describe 1920s’style were simplicity, functionality, efficiency and cleanliness of lines and forms. Colors choices of that time are so modern even for today’s living:
Black, White, Ivory and Gray for the neutral palette, Nile Green and Navy Blue for the cold palette, Canary Yellow and Mandarin Red for the warm palette.

There was a certain flavor of world style design, traveling was popular, discovering treasures of different countries was exciting and decorating with traveling memories was fashionable.

Steamer trunks with travel labels in lieu of coffee tables, Oriental rugs for the living room and scenic prints on the walls, legendary beasts as accessories and floral art glass were all the rage, along with subjects of lavish birds, flowers, insects and femme fatale details. Abstract lines and shapes were used widely as a filling and mixed in with all subjects.

The new concept of open spaces was born with the Bungalow Style architecture, which essentially was the new style home for the middle class, small but functional and comfortable. To create a visual effect of larger spaces, rooms opened up into each other, kitchen into family room and into dining and to avoid a cluttered look most of the furniture was built-in, such as bookcases, breakfast nooks, sideboards, china cases and window seats. Furniture was made to last and with sturdy luxurious woods such as mahogany and cedar and was designed in simple lines and simple carved details.
(Photo Bungalow right found on:

As you see, the 1920 ‘s style fits so perfectly in today’s living. Keep it simple and clean. Built-ins will substitute many furniture pieces that generally stand on the floor, allowing you to free floor space. Keep all the shapes linear, but splurge on accessories and sexy lamps to create several light points to suit every mood. Emphasize colors. Combine rich hardwood floor with retro chic’s bold wall colors and contemporary forms to achieve a fresh cheerfulness and whimsy. Reproducing with paint a typical 1920’s wallpaper motif is an easier alternative to wallpaper that might not exist anymore. Complete the décor with ornamental glass work on doors and divider panels; some metal/chrome features like sinks on chrome legs, or fireplaces brass façades; mirrors, Murano glass chandeliers and graphic art.

The 1920’s style is very current and conducive with my living. I like stylish décor nobody has, I like to set moods with attractive period pieces and I like to surprise people visiting my home. How about you? Tell me what is your style, I can reproduce it ritzy and spiffy without taking away your comfortable life and any of your habits. Ciao,

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an interior designer well-known to bring originality to people’s homes. As an Italian born and true to her origins, her design work has been influenced by Classicism and stylish, timeless designs. She provides only the best workmanship and design solutions.
Check out her books on

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