Christmas My Way | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

This week, business coach Georgia Lee London interviewed me on BeLiveTV, an online TV feature of Facebook I use also for my business. The topic was Decorating Christmas. We spent the first few minutes talking about my business and personal life just as an introduction to her audience, then we moved on to Christmas and how to decorate it.

I like to admire all the joyous display of lights around the towns, highly decorated stores and homes illuminated over the top, just like everybody else, to me this huge display of lights is another form of art expression. The bigger the better is what most people think Christmas should be and that is fine. I can’t imagine Christmas not being so lit up anymore. There was a time in my life when my native country went through an austerity period of many years.

Now, I am here in the wealthiest country in the world, where people don’t mind spending $5,000 for Christmas decorations, I want to soak it in as much as I can, taking tours through neighbors and enjoy their labor to put up such a spectacle for the public. I saw a program on the Italian TV dedicated to the transformation of homes in Brooklyn N.Y. every year at Christmas and this is a photo I found of one of the Italian homes. Stunning, it looks like Disneyland. Their electric bill, I imagine, is huge for a couple of months.

(Click on the photo to view it larger).

 

BrooklynNewYorkDykerHeightsChristmasLights

BrooklynNewYorkDykerHeights-Vincent Giulizio Photography

 

Deep down inside I have remained a person who likes “conservation”,  moderation and classy décor. I would never have such a display of power even if I had servants, labor, chauffeurs, and butlers.
To me, Christmas is about lighting up a way to our new self, welcoming a new year of opportunities to realize our dreams; it’s about resting, renewing our family and friends’ ties; share food and allow our “Supreme Being” (whomever or whatever it might be) to enter our life.  Everything else is just consumerism.

Here, in this video, one can see my ideas of decorating Christmas the easy way, easy on the pocket, easy to put up and take down. I care to create pleasant atmospheres around the home by displaying interesting vignettes in different corners of each room. The most important thing is to find a theme, choose the colors, sculpt with various light levels and never leave corners in the dark.

 

Your Christmas can be anything you like and if this event is not in your belief, celebrate your life. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2018 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

It’s my hope that through my writing and my suggestions I am enriching your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style and inspiring you to live in beauty. I love to encourage my clients to show their personality through various expressions of décor, or the clothes they wear. 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 one of my books on the subject of colors, the third in line of my collection, ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors.
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
The Road To Top Of The World, fourth book recently published is also available.
https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8

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Changing Seasons | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

December, the month of running around, the month of getting rid of things we have accumulated during the year, including bad habits and feelings.

Personal Changes – Yesterday, I watched a video of one of my business coaches, who suggested something clever. Take a piece of paper, draw a line in the middle, write down all your achievements of this year 2012 and the lesson you have learned from them. Then write all the negative things, goals that didn’t happen, or anything that didn’t go right, including relationships and what you have learned from these experiences. Read both sides out loud, then burn the piece of paper. This way you have acknowledged your actions and thoughts and you know what you will not do again, but also you will be ready to part with the baggage of this year that is leaving us.

Changes In The Wardrobe – This month, I am organizing a “Second Time Around” party with girlfriends. We exchange clothes we don’t like, or we don’t fit in anymore. Funny how another person will wear that used piece in a novel way and make it attractive again! The party is fun, we have a few glasses of bubbles, food, laughter and we become our recycling firm for a few hours.

Shops Changing Views – In December, I like to take a few hours for myself to photographs store windows when they are closed and nobody is around. I like to admire their interpretation of a changing season.

I received the 4th star for  The Blog Of The Year 2012 Award from Natalia of http://nataliasarkissian.wordpress.com – she writes stories, one postcards at a time. Thank you Natalia, I humbly accept your star.

Blog of the Year Award 4 star jpeg 

* * *The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:

1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3. Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5. You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Need to know more about this award? Check out the FAQ page

http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/faqs-blog-of-the-year-2012-award

Blog of the Year Award banner 600

Congratulations! on being chosen for the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award:

Jamie – http://grandmothermusings.com  – Words of wisdom, tips, How to do stuff. Jamie has received all 6 stars for this award, well deserved.
Laura – http://astimegoesbuy.me – Fashion and personal style.
Judy – http://petit4chocolatier.wordpress.com  – Chocolates and sweets to die for.
http://misbehavedwoman.wordpress.com – Well behaved women seldom make history.
Karen – http://roamandhome.com – She loves eating scrumptious food and taking photos of everything she eats.
Cynthia – http://lesplaisirssimplesdelavie.wordpress.com – Photography and more.

Enjoy the award and this colorful season. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is an Interior Designer since 1990 and a former Fashion Designer. In any or her design work, she blends fashion and interior well. Vogue Italy featured her as the guru of staging homes in a theatrical way. She loves to remodel and turn unattractive spaces into castles. Fashion design was her first career choice that made her happy for fifteen years before settling into the interior design business. She is also a published author of three books available on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0

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

Keep It Festive | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Every year most people get the beautiful Christmas decorations up and functioning soon after Thanksgiving festivity. For more than a month we get used to live with shimmering colored lights, many different colored decorations, scented candles, crystal items and silver flatware. Everything looks so lucent and elegant. We do need all of this as a way to reward us for a year of hard work and to celebrate in style the passage into a new year with renewed hopes, dreams and goals, but as soon as we are into the new year the trees and decorations go down and the shimmering lights are turned off. I keep all of my Christmas decorations until January 6th to celebrate Epiphany Day. This is a Christian commemoration of the Magi or Wise Men’s visit to baby Jesus, which marks the end of all December festivities. Kids get another present, just like Jesus received incense, myrrh and gold from the Magi, the Christmas tree is taken down on that night with all the beautiful lights and decorations, Christmas markets close, holidays are over and officially the year starts.

Epiphany day was a fun day for kids. On that night of January 6th, my parents organized a tree dismantling party and invited other kids with their parents. Our Christmas tree, as most people did, had chocolate decorations hanging among all the other Christmas decorations.
With a draw, one kid at a time had to find the chocolate decorations as a price, whatever object the kid touched first, that was the item he/she had to take down first. If a chocolate decoration was found first, the game moved over to someone else. Another kid’s name was drawn to give everyone the chance to dismantle the tree and to find the chocolate pieces. Kids fought, laughed or exchanged items, according to each of their tempers or level of vices. This game lasted for hours, before all the decorations were down on the floor, but the tree game was the excuse to get the adults together for another eating feast. My mom and her sisters prepared the last treats of the holidays, generally it was panzerotti (small size stuffed calzone), or home-made pizza, potatoes coquettes, or arancini (rice balls), lot of vegetables, sweets, biscotti, pies and prosecco. This custom is now gone forever as Christmas is more of a consumerism event than a celebration of life, light, spirituality, love and New Year’s good intentions.

Whatever you do to take the Christmas decorations down, it remains the fact that at the start of the year the glitters and glamour are gone and that corner where the tree was is now in the dark. Some people suffer the blues after Christmas is over as they settle into winter, cold and short days. What do you do to avoid that? Redecorate, move furniture around or thinking of Spring already? In some parts of the world Spring may not come until late April, that’s a long time to stay depressed. For me it is easy and simple, as I have adopted a simpler life.

I keep some Christmas decorations around for the next three months. I choose to leave out the not so obvious Christmas decorations, but only one special item for each room, one with an attractive shape or color. First thing to do is to illuminate dark corners with some light decorations, hang something with a visual impact from the ceiling, embellish a doorknob, or a lamp. Glass balls or ornaments generally have interesting shapes and nice colors, I like to keep them in bowls on coffee table and furniture mixed in with other textures. I also like the idea of filling lanterns with colored balls and create an arrangement of three. After the holidays nothing will look Christmassy any more. Take a look at the photos to get an idea and perhaps you have some of your own you want to share with me.

 

The ornaments will keep my house festive through some cold days while surprising some of my friends. In the meantime, while I am waiting patiently for Spring, I will think of new ways to redecorate and go through the process of cleaning out closets and cabinets. As it happens every January, there will be someone new who wants to take the renovating journey with me as their designer to guide them. It will be a new adventure just right for the new starting year. If you are ready to take that journey with me, do not hesitate to leave your name in the box.
Happy New Year, may all your wishes come true. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Print Valentina 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 also the author of ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, the forthcoming book on the subject of colors and the author of two published book on Italian regional cuisine, available on

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

Caressing The Past | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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This year I feel very honored to have been one of the designers selected to decorate Christmas at the Historic Ainsley House in Campbell, CA.

The owner, John Colpitts, a British native, built the House in the 1920s as a retirement home. John came to California in the late 1800s and made his fortune canning food, which he exported to England to his brother.



 

This year Christmas theme was “Christmas Around The World”. Being Italian born I thought of bringing a bit of the Amalfi’s flavors into my decorations, with citrus fruit, grapes, roses, camellias, and the typical poinsettia. My color scheme has been platinum, green, white, with a touch of purple and gold as accents throughout the guest bedroom, boudoir, closet, and cosmetic parlor.

Cosmetic Parlor

Cosmetic Parlor

The guest quarter is a very delicate room, with powdery pastel colors fit for an elegant woman. Original 1920’s dresses are kept beautifully on mannequins and inside of the closet, while originals accessories peek through an original traveling trunk resting in the boudoir. I was so surprised to see a cosmetic parlor in the boudoir. It is a simple pedestal sink with a lighted mirror above and monogrammed face towels hanging on the bar, all concealed beyond a door when not in use. What a nice feature! Small features and details such a cosmetic parlor have ceded the way to large bath spaces, which, at times, I feel they are totally sterile and without a soul.

While I was in the attic of the House selecting the items for my Christmas decorations, I felt so much part of that era. The director was telling me that J.C. the owner, kept his liqueurs in the basements beyond some wood panels. The Prohibition Law marked the era, but we all know that when something is forbidden, we want exactly the object of sins. The story goes that the highlight of the Ainsleys’ parties was to turn all the lights off and make the guests find the door to the basement where the liqueurs were kept.

Going up and down the stairs from the attic, I could not help admiring the hardwood floor beautifully concerted almost as inlay work, the type of setting that would require the artistry and clinical eye of an ebonist. Custom flooring is another area of designing that has ceded the step to a less expensive and faster application.

The House was designed with 15 rooms in a style of Tudor Revival architecture with the influence of Arts and Crafts movement of the 1920s. The most striking feature is the English style thatched roof, remade in 2007 as a faux thatched, but one can also admire the half-timbering façade, the interior wood paneling, the multi-paneled windows and the bay windows, especially the corner one at the breakfast room.
During my conversation with the curator/director, I learned that in 1990 the House was lifted up in its entirety and moved about 1.5 miles to the present location in Campbell, CA. One would think tiles would come apart, the floor would open up and walls would create cracks during the house moving, but nothing came undone. The workmanship was really a mastery, I can adduce.

 

Boudoir

Boudoir

 

The modernity of the guest bathroom style really struck me, the entire bath is quite spacious. The tub is enclosed in a Tudor style alcove surrounded by Nile green tiles, the shower is separated from the tubs, enclosed with a glass door and finished with the same color tiles with three water jets, a very avant-garde detail to find in bathrooms of that era. A deep linen closet and an enclosed W.C. make this a desirable spa, just as we intend it today.

 

Christmas_in_Amalfi

Christmas_in_Amalfi

 


Alcinda was in love with John Colpitts, who was a workaholic with a strong character and played hard to get. The only way to get him to pay attention to her was to accept a job in his firm as his bookkeeper. Alcinda was 17 years younger than John, but she became his wife at last. A medium, while visiting the house a few years ago, felt a massive male energy, so I was told. I felt the same while I was decorating the upstairs guest bedroom, an enveloping warm male presence, perhaps he was a woman’s charmer. He had many visitors from Europe sojourning in his house. I can see the care that was given to the guest bedroom, made delicately elegant and comfortable for a woman. For the same reason, I wanted to give the room the same gentleness using soft Christmas colors and a certain daintiness with the flavors of romantic Amalfi.

The Ainsley House will be open every day from Nov. 20th to Dec. 19th. Calendar of events will include Holiday Teas and Tours, Holiday Boutique, Photo with Santa and Holiday Open House.
I have enjoyed the experience of caressing the past in a prestigious historic home and especially have enjoyed the comments on my upside-down tree.

Perhaps next year, I can be called to decorate your Christmas with a special theme at your home. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is a trained Italian Interior Designer in business since 1990. Being Italian born and raised, Valentina’s design work has been influenced by Classicism and stylish, timeless designs. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away your comfort. She loves to restore old homes, historic dwellings and she focuses on remodeling. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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