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

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

Back In Bohemia | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

Welcome to my Friday Fashion episode.
I am reflecting on the word Boho as vulgarly used in place of Bohemian and what it really means. In my seamstress shop last week the word Bohemian was thrown around so loosely that it was clear to me any of the people there knew nothing about Bohemian style. In fact the purchased wedding dresses they brought to the seamstress to be remade in the Bohemian style would turn out everything but Bohemian at the end of her work. I sat and laughed quietly at people who want so much to conform to the mass and comply with fashion.

The region of Bohemia is a region in the Czech Republic. The Czech lands belonged to the Czech monarchy. Later the land passed in the hands of the Holy Roman Empire until 1806, then became a province of the Austrian Empire under the Habsburg monarchy and finally in 1918 became Czechoslovakia Republic. The original “Bohemian People” were travelers or refugees from that part of central Europe, they were gypsies, some of them settled in France in the 15th century, hence the French word Bohémien. Being a gypsy was not a fashion statement dictated by some fashion guru of the era, gipsy girls did not give a hoot for fashion, they felt sexy and delightful precise in their folk costumes reflecting their lifestyle and heritage.

In the nineteenth century France and England nonconformists, free spirits, dropouts, avant-garde people, artists, musicians, writers and people of informal and unconventional social habits, wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds adopted the Bohemian lifestyle and congregated in lower-rent area, around lower class café-pubs in the company of like-minded people where often talks of politics and anti-establishment took place.

(All photo credits given to the respective owners)

In 1960s, the era of the hippies, the Bohemian lifestyle came back strongly as a sign of rebellion, free love, frugality, libertine and looseness of customs. In this new Millennium women even in the aristocratic or wealthy circles are mimicking the gypsies style in the hope of looking bohemian, nomadic, non-bourgeois and voluntarily poor, hence the new coined expression “haute bohème”, which makes no sense to me. Bohème is a poor looking style, not a chic designer style. You either dress down or dress up and flaunt your wealth.

What do you think? Why is this 1969’s hippy fashion so loved today? Is it because there is nothing new to invent, because newer generations want to experience a relatively old past, or because young professionals are not proud of the amount of money they make and want to dress down?

I must say that conforming has bored me always, if everybody wears it I don’t want it. I will wear a Bohemian style if I can make my own interpretation.  Everyone wants to wear what others wear and think they are so individual and original. I dress according to my mood.  My idea of chic is my idea!!!

I hope you too have your individual style that reflects your personality, exalt the beauty of your eyes, your hair and speak of you in an instant. If not, you might want to consult with me, do not hesitate to contact me. Ciao,
Valentina
Open this link and scroll down the page to find my Fashion Services
https://valentinadesigns.com/services

 

Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Val:FarfalleStampValentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, born in Italy in a family of artists. Style surrounded her since the beginning of her life. Her many years of experience led her to offer consultations in both specializations and now she can remodel homes as well as personal images. To better help people in the world she offers consultations online. She is the author of three books. Get your copy of Valentina’s book on colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Bohemian Wedding | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

Girl-Pink-Green-1aWelcome to my usual Friday Fashion, this blog will be about a wedding.
It all started when this woman, we will call her Possum, started to frequent my home. She could not pinpoint what was about my style that she liked so much, until one day I told her it was a Bohemian Valentina’s style, not just any hippy Bohemian from the ‘60s. In my décor there is modern Italian with country French, Venetian 1700s style with American classics, found pieces mixed with hand-painted pieces, travel memorabilia and personal memories. All and all is a style which suits my personality and it feels just comfortable for me.

Fast forward a few years later Possum found the right man she wants to marry. Influenced by my style, she started redecorating her home in the Bohemian style and now she wants to marry in the same style.

Preparations have begun with a delicious brunch prepared by him (a chef) for us the girls of the wedding including myself. I will be officiating the ceremony for the very first time in my life, the other girls will be the bride’s maids.

Nothing in this wedding will be ordinary, nor conventional. Possum decided to get marry on the beach bare feet somewhere on California coast. She will hire a party bus to take us to the beach, then to the reception place and back to her home at night.

Anklets
(Possum will wear these anklets)

Our brunch was full of ideas and full of flavors, her man cooked delicious food for us. Possum started with a Bohemian tablecloth and two seahorses as table centerpieces. You might have imagined already, the theme of the wedding is the beach with its beautiful calming colors.

Beach_Table

Bridal_Brunch

At the end of the brunch she gave us a surprise: champagne color bracelets for us to wear at the wedding, shells, a small glitzy jewelry box and chocolates to remember how we started it. It was presented to us as a treasure chest, as if she found it floating at shore. Guess who in the photo is wearing the blue polish with a large shell ring?

Treasure_Chest

Our_bracelets

I designed her Bohemian dress already. The day we were going to the seamstress to share our idea, Possum almost fainted when she saw my drawing, could not believe it was exactly how she had imagined. Seamstress will make her ensemble, which we will not call wedding dress. The look, the colors and the design do not scream wedding, this is a dress for a day on the beach with loved friends, free of conventions made for a free spirit like Possum and if she wants to wear each piece separately later with the jeans she can.

Underwater_World

 

My inspiration is complete and all together, my ideas are clear, from some of my beach photos I will extrapolate the colors for the reception decorations and for the bride ensemble. The bride’s maids will wear whatever they want, hopefully they will choose wisely and not black. I will have something bluish-turquoise-aqua to match my eyes. Wedding will be the first week of June. Time is of the essence. Ciao,
Valentina
Open this link and scroll down the page to find my Fashion Services
https://valentinadesigns.com/services

Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

FedoraHatStampValentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, working in the USA and Europe. Born in Italy in a family of artists, style surrounded her since the beginning of her life. Her many years of experience led her to offer consultations in both specializations and now she can remodel homes as well as personal images. To better help people in the world she offers consultations online. She is the author of three books. Get your copy of Valentina’s book on colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w  

 

At The Gambrinus | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

“Gambrinus (/gæmˈbraɪnəs/ gam-brahy-nuhs), is a legendary European culture hero celebrated as an icon of beer, brewing, joviality, and joie de vivre. Traditional songs, poems, and stories describe him as a king, duke, or count of Flanders and Brabant (Low Countries). Typical representations in the visual arts depict him as a rotund, bearded duke or king, holding a tankard or mug, and sometimes with a keg nearby. (…) Some, of course, imagine Gambrinus as a man who has an enormous capacity for drinking beer.”  Excerpt from Wikipedia.

We are meeting a local singer Francesca Gramegna at the Gambrinus in Gravina, Puglia. The town is not as small as I recall when I was a teenager… it has been that long since I was here last time! The modern Gravina looks almost like a small city, it is vibrant, culturally different, too many cars for my taste and no longer I see farmer’s tractors, stockpiling of grain and flocks of sheep in the streets.

We park the car near the center piazza or villa, as it was called long ago. It was a place where on Sundays all the young women went to show themselves off to promising young lads. The procession of women heavily and smartly adorned with the latest fashion went on for hours under the watchful eyes of relatives walking by casually, as if they found their way there by chance. Something always happened between boys and girls, giggling, laughing, or simply a small talk to study the energy or the charisma of the other person. Just like in all the courting scenes rejection of a bothersome someone was common if the boy’s look and talk was not quite convincing. Au contraire, it was common for pretty girls to receive an invitation for a home dancing party, or an invitation to go out for a stroll.  We were so innocent!


(Photos taken by ©Valentina Cirasola at the Gambrinus, Gravina di Puglia, Italy)

On foot we reach the Gambrinus Café in Via Matteotti, 32 and what a pleasant surprise it was! I enter the café with the expectation of drinking something special, but I realized it was still daytime, thus espresso and some local pastries was right for the hour.

I feel right at home in the Bohemian décor and the lighting concept is superb. So many various shaped and colored lampshades hanging from the ceiling over each table give a suffuse light. The bull’s eye lights over the counter shine a blue color circle on the granite stone. The asymmetrical and vaulted ceiling in some areas is enveloping and makes the Gambrinus a pleasant place to hang out.

I spot the home stove top espresso machine turned into a table lamp, how lovely, I like to have it! Even the base of each bistro tables is different from one another, there isn’t anything matching here, but everything works together well. Behind the bar counter, everything is modern and functional for the activity of selling. On the entertainment side, the décor is funky, Bohemian, a hodgepodge of things new and old that really makes no sense and somehow makes you feel good.

The eye doesn’t really know where to rest, as there is no focal point to direct the view and this is why I like it, the owners had the courage to break a few decorating rules. In doing so, they created an interesting environment, unique in its genre and away from the style of other cafe in the area. I would have made the walls just a tad darker to give that smoky and soft air of candlelight in the Belle Époque era.

I say this often, keep your décor fit for your personality and don’t follow anybody’s style, you will feel aligned with your soul and mind. Feeling good is an assured result.

Company is great, bocconotti a type of local pastry are delicious, coffee and cappuccino are done to perfection. We don’t have much time to taste other delicacy made here, we must go somewhere else to taste some food invention of the area, which will be another way I want to dazzle the group of Americans traveling with me.

Francesca Gramegna By the way, singer Francesca Gramegna is my Italian cousin. If you want to listen to her voice, here she is with some music samples. www.francescagramegna.com

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

 

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val FruttaI am writing a travel diary of my last trip to Puglia with an American group and sharing with all of you my notes of feelings, observations, food-wine tasting and experiences that have changed the life of people traveling with me. The trips I organize are made for people who want to live it up in Puglia! Check out my books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
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Decorating With Pink Flambe’ | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

You might be wondering how top industries come up every year with different colors that will more or less dictate our choices of items we want to include in our life. The answer is simple.
The industry spy do exist, they are people with a fun job. They are among us, they sit in restaurants, café’ and any public places to observe and record how we dress, what colors we wear, how we combine our clothes, what new expressions we use, they follow food and wine trends and anything that goes on in the street. Then they report their findings to the decision makers and from there they elaborate our taste. Fun is it not? I wished I had that job. What’s up with the colors in 2013?


Funky and strong colors have dominated this new millennium so far, 2013 will continue in that path with a new hot color: Pink Flambé.
Flambé is a French word that means flamed. It is a cooking procedure in which alcohol is added to a hot pan to create a burst of flames. The color flambé is just as flamed and hot.
Flambe’ a bit hard color to work with, but when combined with other decisive colors, it can be striking and tasty just like a flambé dessert.

We can mix it in our clothes and our homes indifferently. The new Pink Flambé likes Chartreuse green, golden-yellow, white, grey, orange, or black.  Fabrics will be natural and man-made even for apparel, animal prints, stripes and floral, much dyed denim, crocheted and embroidered fabrics, as well as a broad selection of trims and accessories. Take out all your knitting and crochet equipment and let your fantasy go wild.

The themes for next year are quite characteristic. They embrace minimalist shapes, collection of botanical fabric prints, reminiscent of Victorian naturalist collections, tribal influences from all over the world mixing together mismatching floral prints, geometrics, block prints and a lot of  Bohemian retro style.
The new philosophy is not about saving as much money as possible on home décor and get it done on a shoe string budget, as it has been for the last four-year of economy in recession, but it is about the day-to-day reflection of their life and personality, as it should be not matter what. I am happy people are coming around to please their needs.

Have fun next year. The “anything goes” philosophy has been a long time trend already, just a different twist every year. We can still have a flicker of luxury with various finishes if we want. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.Valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

PrintValentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer and former Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe since 1990. She blends well fashion with interior and colors the world of her clients. She has been described as “the colorist” and loves to create the unusual. Check out her latest book on the subject of colors: ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors, available on 

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/9agl5v9

Barnes&Nobles: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/valentina-cirasola

From Royal Hats To Garden Hats | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

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It is so refreshing to see hats completing women’s attires again. I believe this year has marked the advent of a new era for hats. We have seen many extravagant creations on the stage of the British Royal wedding last April.

Some hats were awesome, some not so quite and some others puzzled me how they stood up on women’s head in a perfect balance, but they all had the goal to shock and amaze. After all it wasn’t a common day for business as usual, it was the day of the royal wedding, every guest had the license to overdue.

A couple of weeks later, at the Orticola Trade Show in Milano, I was happily surprised to see so many women in hats again, but this was a garden show, a place where vendors were showing their green novelties in gardens and orchards, flowers, bulbs, vegetables and the latest in garden technology. I truly loved the display of floral hats in all shapes, forms and colors, a display of elegance and femininity returning on earth. Women are feeling comfortable in their own skin again, no longer having the need to mimic men in any of their life expressions.

This year the trend of artificial flowers in communion with artificial food fetish is showing up everywhere too, in jewelry, on hats, in dresses and even in the way stores display their fashion merchandise. A casual summer dress this year looks very flowery and colorful. The lightweight lends itself to the games that a soft wind might play between the fabric.

Artificial flowers made of silk and papyrus with a hint of perfume were already known in Egypt around 3000 B.C., also used by Greek and Roman women. During the Middle Age artificial flowers became so fashionable in upper class circles of France that Paris and Lyon became well-famous for manufacturing the most stunning creations of accessories with flowers, fruits and ribbons destined to embellish the already extravagant ladies’ dresses.

Fresh flowers adorned women and men’s body as well all through different historic periods.
During the Middle Age girls in age to be married decorated their head with a single wreath of fresh flowers, an indication of virginity.

During the Rococo’ and the French Empire Era women decorated their voluptuous dresses with fresh flowers and ribbons, while men’s final touch was to wear a gardenia on the lapel, a custom men continued well in today’s dressing: a gardenia for a tuxedo and a carnation for an evening suit.

Earlier, I mentioned how creative some trendy stores are treating the display of the merchandise in their windows this Spring. The usage of fruits, vegetables and some beautiful insects like butterflies instill harmony and peace in the shopper’s view, it doesn’t really look like they are selling. Selling is a real art, when selling with nature in mind, it feels good and inviting.

I am loving the soft look of Spring and Summer collection this year, it is spiritual, organic, sexy and it is calling for love. You will find it also transported in the interiors of eclectic homes where natural fabrics and colors mix and blend with bricks or distressed wall finishes. Get the inspiration from one of my earlier blog entitled: http://valentinadesigns.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/i-prescribe-bohemian-style-by-valentina-cirasola-interior-designer/
When in doubt, call the expert and I shall be here for you. Please leave your name in the box below. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

(Photo: Anthropologie)

 

 

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She blends well fashion and interior in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual.
She is the author of three books available on
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/9agl5v9
Barnes&Nobles: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/valentina-cirasola

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