The Eye Of Your Home | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information. http://myatozchallenge.com/?s=Valentina+Cirasola+ 
Now I have two months left to complete my challenge. The beat is on.

What is an oculus (plural oculi) It’s an eye like opening or ornament found in many Neoclassical, Baroque and Byzantine buildings of Italy and Europe. It is often a round window and less often a circular opening at the apex of a dome. The Pantheon in Rome is a finest example, its oculus measures 27 ft in diameter. The purpose of the oculus was to collect rainwater, which was channeled into drains for later usage. The water functioned as an early example of air conditioning as it kept the building cool during summer months. The other necessary function was to allow the sunlight in for a natural light in the building.

The world admires Filippo Brunelleschi’s Dome and Santa Maria Del Fiore Cathedral in Florence, Palladian villas in the Veneto area of Italy and Syrian Byzantine buildings all carrying oculi,  but I really wonder if the mass tourism cares to know about these architectural inventions that stood the taste of time and are still loved today.

During the Byzantine Empire the oculi were common details to see on buildings from 5th to 10th century in Constantinople, however during the Italian Renaissance the open oculi on cupolas were substituted with round windows and skylights and in the Baroque era, round windows with an eyebrow on top or ornate stone carvings around an oculus took a more elongate form than circular. The French called them œil de boeuf (bull’s eye).

Nautical Theme Model Kitchen

In my early design career, one of my projects I designed  with oculi gave me a lot more satisfaction. It was a remodeling of a kitchen for a gentleman who had devoted his life to sea navigation. For him I choose naval style cabinetry with ship porthole on each door,  decorative brass details and hardware (see photos of my model). After the kitchen was completed we went on to remodeling the rest of the house, all in the naval style.

In modern décor round windows and openings are not very common due to the high manufacturing cost, but when there is one, is usually a very good-looking style. I love the Brooklyn Clock loft round window I found on Pinterest.

Looking at a view through a round shape is very natural. It’s like your own eye projecting subtle illumination in the interior spaces. My suggestion is to spend money on solid architectural details that will add value to the home and leave out the meaningless details. Solutions are limitless, ask me if you need ideas. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved  

PrintIt’s my hope that through my writing I am enriching your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style and inspire you to live in beauty. I have loved my profession as an interior 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

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Sitting On Pediments For Centuries | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/

Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home.
The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information.
http://myatozchallenge.com/?s=Valentina+Cirasola+
*****

Oh, come to mama! I opened the window of my hotel in Venice and saw the naked statues of the building right across the street. Every morning the scene of naked statues sitting on top of pediments was more interesting than the action in the street down below. The male statues carved in marble stood on the pediment in all their male beauty oblivious to the passage of time.

If we look at any Greek temples, a Pediment is the triangle gable built above a colonnade filled with sculptures representing humans and sometimes animals in some type of action. Pediment decorated each entrance, front or back, of any temple  and each pediment told a different story. Sculptures were not made all together, marble is a hard material and much time passed between one chisel and the other. Due to different time of fabrication, we can see now the evolution of the species through the art of sculptures. The gable being a triangle with two slender corners, limited the placement of standing statues in all their height, thus reclining figures, kneeling figures and figures with bent knees were the only positions for depicting statues.

We are accustomed to see statues in the pristine white of the marble and never gave a second thought that Greeks took inspiration from the Egyptians and used very bright, contrasting colors, at times even garish for the background of pediments and for the statues. Temples were the houses of Gods and places of worship, thus always built high up on hills, perhaps the reason for coloring sculptures and the background of pediments was to be seen from afar when ships approached the islands.

Romans copied the pediment idea from the Greeks and placed it on top of their temples built all over the Empire. Since then, the shape of a pediment continued through various periods and various architectural styles evolving in pointed, curved and broken pediment, the latter became the most used pediment in the very ornate Baroque period. Today we still build homes with pediments and we have extended its application to furniture, mirrors, fireplaces, entry doors and interior doors, windows and roofs. We still call it the “classical” style as the Roman did when referring to Greek architecture.  Certain details never go out of vogue!

If you like the classical style, ask me how to add value to your home with timeless features. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaBlueStampIt’s my hope through my writing to enrich your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style and inspire you to live in beauty. I have loved my profession as an interior designer since 1990 and seen many happy people after I leave a project. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line via Skype 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

Did You Forget The Ceiling? | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

History brought us beautiful examples of decorated ceilings of grand homes with high volts, tall windows, large interior doors, intricate floor design and expensive décor. With so much opulence in home design, ceilings could have not been left undecorated, as they would have looked disconnected from the four vertical walls.

Builders today conceive homes very boxy and design them mostly to turn a quick profit, living out ingenuity and skillful conception of design. Ceiling is the one area I always complain about. Often they are painted white for convenience and left alone.

I see a home as the nest, which first gives me comfort with functional spaces, attractive features and needed amenities, then caresses my soul with colors suiting my personality and objects that bring humor or whimsy. I have been lucky to find a cute home with mansard ceiling lines and I have had fun turning my ceilings into whimsical canvases. This Montgolfier in my photograph is on the ceiling of my studio for my enjoyment and inspiration.

Montgolfier

Curious of how it could look in the night sky, I photographed it and used Photoshop to manipulate the image into a Montgolfier flying in a night sky. Once I finished manipulating, I imagined painting a night sky view in someone’s room with fiber optic lights emulating the stars. The image in my mind was real neat. Not everyone is up to design the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling, but something more suitable to the person’s activities and modern life style is very possible. Playful rooms are not for kids only. Being a designer, playful rooms for me are a necessity.

Night ceilings we call skies are magic. Skies with stars and moonlight kiss us. at night. If we look up in the sky, in the daytime, we see the foliage of trees framing the sky picture beautifully while clouds encourage us to imagine any design our mind can sees. Fiber optics light produces the same warm, suiting and dreamy effect on the ceiling of our homes and they are energy-saving too. Let’s bring the beauty of a night sky inside and redirect our focus above.

The objective of my designing profession is to bring you the unusual for your unique personality. Let me help you with your ceiling design. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValWorkingValentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She blends fashion and interior well in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual. She is the author of three books, the last one she wrote in on the subject of colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors. Get a copy of her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Porch: Stage For Everyday Life | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Through history of the home and society customs, porches have been the stage from which people watched their neighbors and kept updated with everybody’s businesses.
“Porticus” Latin word for porch was an idea widely used in Ancient Greece and their love for style. Adopted by Romans the “portico” became the building’s entrance supported by columns with a roof structure over a walkway, which would protect people walking even if it was raining. Pantheon in Rome is the best example. This idea, celebrating high aesthetic and style, influenced many cultures since then.

By early medieval times, British people built stone or timber projecting porches for churches to give cover to worshippers. At a baptism, the priest would receive the parents with the infant and the service began in the porch. Buckingham Palace and the White House are two best examples.

Porte-cochere
(Photo: Giano at English Wikipedia)
In Europe, I love to admire the “porte-cochère” (coach gate) a porch-like structure at a main or secondary entrance to a building through which horse and carriage (today a motor vehicle) could park and pick up the travels who would be protected from the weather, while  doing their operations of getting in or out of the carriage/vehicle.

Victorian Architecture, or the Queen Anne style, proliferates with examples of homes with a sitting porch in both the front and the back of the home.

Porches cannot be propped up as one needs without unifying the roof lines and the architectural details of the house. Covered porches, also called verandahs, provide protection from sun or rain and insects providing an extra exterior living room that one can arrange with chairs, tables or even a cozy fireplace.

Today they are built mostly for the backyard, encompassing an entire side of the house. Open porches in the front of the house existed when people were friendly with their neighbors or casual passerby and a natural trust existed with each other. It was an opportunity to get to know the postman and the milkman. If people went on vacation, the neighbors watched the temporarily vacant home without even asking. It was a place to listen to the radio al fresco, share a drink, share some family news, gossip with next-door neighbor or enjoy the rain in silence.

(Photo Source: Porches from BH&G)

New homes don’t come with open porches anymore. No one sits in the front of the house and no one trusts anyone. No longer we care to know the postman, the neighbors and the milkman doesn’t even exist anymore. T.V. and computers have occupied our time. We need unpaid volunteers to watch our neighborhood, which the society can lynch at own satisfaction when and if one of them gets in trouble with the law for being overzealous protective of our homes. Those who want to understand, please feel free.

Which porch in my gallery do you like? Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val:FarfalleStampValentina Cirasola is a trained
 Interior Designer
 in business since 1990. She is the owner and principal designer of her company: Valentina Interiors & Designs. Being Italian born and raised, Valentina’s design work has been influenced by Classicism and timeless style. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away a comfortable living. . Find Valentina’s three books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Up Above | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Delight of my eyes! It excites me to see homes well cared with elegant details that are not always expensive. It takes only a few pieces of trim material, perfect measurements, a coat of paint or stain and voila’ it’s magic!
A simple window with a shelf on top is an opportunity to add some memory of your life, or collectibles. The shelf bracket rod functions as a curtain rod for a finished look.

Shelf Above Window
(photo above: Martha Stewart)

A naked passageway dressed with multiple layers of cornice molding and a couple of side corbels just speaks the language of elegance.

Cornice and Corbel

What to say when two walls painted in different colors come together? The corner molding is the perfect solution and I would add a vertical light hidden inside the molding to give luminosity to each colored wall.

Corner Molding(photo credits given to the respective owners)

As in fashion, clothes matter, but it is really the body that shapes the clothes. Pleats and darts give fullness to a body that is not full and straight lines are better suitable for round bodies. The same is for the house. The house is a shell, the interior spaces tailor our lifestyle and the details add value to the property, don’t spare them.
“God Is In the Details” ~ Mies Van Der Rohe ~ Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaBlueStampThrough my writing and suggestions, I am hoping to enrich your sensibility towards aesthetic, design, style and inspire you to live in beauty. I have loved my profession as an interior designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need and in the traditional way of in-home consultations. 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

M for Mantel | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/

Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, until Jan. 13, 2014, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information.
http://myatozchallenge.com/?s=Valentina+Cirasola+

Mantel, mantel-shelf or mantelpiece are the names used for a type of construction framing the opening of a fireplace and usually covering part of the chimney-breast in a more or less decorative way. It is the focal point of a home and the stage that tells a story.
To display only photographs on a mantel is a bit diminishing for the fireplace itself, since it is an opportunity to make a dreamy display vignette of antique objects found in flea markets, or during traveling. It is a place where colors can have a voice when a monochromatic color dominates the room, or a way to display arts and craft that perhaps you create. Then comes Christmas with endless possibilities and decorating a mantel becomes almost obligatory. In any case a mantel is something to cover, envelope and conceal the black hole of the hearth.

(Clicl on each photo to view it larger).

(Photos other than Valentina Interiors & Designs are property of the BH&G)

Mantels follow the architectural style of the house. I have seen many examples in Gothic, Renaissance, Louis XIV, XV and XVI, Empire, Marie Antoinette and so many more styles, but I think the most popular and pleasing is the Colonial mantel, both in the old and modern style. The Victorian mantel refers to the style created during the long reign of Queen Victoria of United Kingdom, a period stretching from 1837-1901. In Victorian times women sat by the fireplace to read, sipping tea or embroider with women, while men stood by the mantel to talk about important issues with men and various odd objects found their place on the mantel.

Victorian mantels today are standard design with many modern furniture companies and are popular with builders, as this style is linear, not too ornate, but elegant enough to mix with any mélange of décor. In today’s homes, often a huge black plasma T.V. is propped on top of the mantel, disturbing perhaps a beautiful room setting. Not always I win this battle with the youngest clients who like to stick the black monster plasma T.V. over the mantel.  Most people don’t know that when the T.V. is not on, the front black screen is easy concealable with a picture of your liking, remotely controlled to disappear into the T.V. casing made for this purpose. However, I rather see a huge mirror on top of the mantel to reflect the beauty in the room and enjoy the sound of a crackling fire with a book.

If there is no fireplace in the house and you like to create the feeling of it, find an inexpensive mantel at architectural salvage yard and nail it to the wall, as shown in one of my garden photos. Of course, any salvage piece can have a second life as something else and not what was originally intended for. In the bathroom photo, in fact a mantel has been turned into an ornate towel holder, just by adding metal hooks.
Mantels over outdoor fireplaces often will be used to rest your guests drinking glasses.

Get creative with your own mantel vignette, this is an art form.  Anything goes grouped in odd numbers. I am here if you need help, my Skype line is always open. Ciao.
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

PDots2Valentina 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 is the author of her book on Colors: Red-A Voyage Into Colors available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

C For Corbel | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, until Jan. 13, 2014, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information.
http://myatozchallenge.com/?s=Valentina+Cirasola+

Corbel_Arch_of_Septimium _Severus-Rome

(Corbel Arch of Septimium Severus – Rome)

Korbel with a K is a California winery producing traditional Méthode Champenois sparkling wine in the United States, but the Corbel with a C, of which today I am delighted to speak, is a projecting stone or a piece of timber carved block supporting a beam or a eave. Just as exciting as the bubbly Korbel, the corbel with a C  has been a feature in universal Architecture since almost the dawn of time. From ancient Rome to ancient China, corbels supported magnificent balconies, window sills, projecting parapets, or exceptionally elegant entry ways. In the Medieval time corbels appeared as gargoyles and the Paris Notre Dame Cathedral is showing off its beautiful examples to these days.

The word comes from Latin corbellus or corvus (raven) apparently because it resembles the beak of a crow. In Italian is called mensola and in French is called cul-de-lampe, I like this last one To disguise the load baring function, a corbel must be highly decorative, the eye wants to see something pretty too, not just functionality, that’s the reason of the existence of  so many variety of styles and sizes through history from Corinthian design to animal head, cherub’s face to a king’s face and the very popular woman’s face or pineapple, symbol of prosperity.

Materials and functions have varied from medieval castles to modern-day homes. Wood, gesso, plaster, resin or even steel have been carved, bent, twisted or shaped into submission according to the wishes of the ruler of the moment.

Today, they have become more simple and straightforward with the purpose of decorating modern houses already quite simple in their shapes, except a few décor ideas that want to give the appearance of being important.

I encourage you to be different and to try something new. My black corbel sometimes holds a candle, or a picture and some other time my friends’ glass  of wine. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValWorkingValentina 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-home visits, helping people with their design challenges anywhere in the world.

As an author of three books, she is now a public speaker and teaches style, colors and image. Find her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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