Christmas On The Sea | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Every year I have a new challenge for beauty, style and originality: how to decorate my Christmas at home. Stores propose the same old thing, red, gold and green.
At times I see gold and silver with white. Rarely I see other colors. Christmas is a traditional holiday I like to respect the traditional celebrations, but being a non-traditional designer, I like to bring innovations in this yearly event and make it really special.

Driftwood_Christams_Tree
I was born on the beautiful blue-green water of the Adriatic Sea, the East side coast of Italy, I thought this year my Christmas will have a coastal flair with driftwood and succulent plants.
I want to create a very organic atmosphere that I might keep even after the holidays. With glass baubles I want to create light and reflections and that will be the shimmering I am looking for instead of using gold specks everywhere and fake ornaments.

Davide Rossi(Photo by: Davide Rossi – Check out his site and beautiful photography – http://daviderossi.photo)

I will use mini trees decorated with sea shells and ocean blue glass ornaments.
I will scatter beach lights everywhere, fill vases with blue crystals and wrap gift packages with nautical maps.
The table will be dressed with bluish plates with a mixture of gold and blue drinking glasses.

(All photo credits given to the respective owners)

The focus of my table is always food, wine and conversation with interesting people for which I reserve a large space. Decorations take a second place, inconspicuous and elegant in their simplicity. This year I want my decorations fresh looking with cool colors. I want to remember the aroma of the sea, imagining all the fresh seafood  just caught and brought alive to the table in wicker baskets, the fresh oysters, shellfish and the happy faces of my family, all fish eaters, around the bounty from the Adriatic Sea.
What are your Christmas decorations this year? Would you like to tell me about it?

While we wait for the new light to come into our life and celebrate it, I will wish all of you a very Happy Christmas and if you don’t celebrate it, please take some rest time and celebrate your life. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

PrintValentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She blends fashion and interior in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual, as much as she loves to restyle people’s images. She needs your story to design your dream. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
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Christmas At Casa Valentina | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

I remember my first Christmas in USA was magical. I had never seen so much display of lights inside and outside the homes and had never seen so much stuff decorating the homes. I felt living in a Christmas fairy tale. At the beginning I questioned where people stored all that stuff, or if they threw it away to buy new things every year, if they gave it away, or even how many days took them to decorate so heavily. I realized very soon that homes in America are containers of stuff and Christmas decorations have their cozy places in the garage each in its own box.

Stores really got my attention, their visual displays were works of art to my eyes, not knowing all that production was intended to push sales. After all, in the Christian world we celebrate with lights to welcome a Newborn spiritual light coming into our world. However, after a few years in the country, this whole business of overly decorating Christmas became pavement to the point that now I only pay attention to extravagant displays in window shops, as theatrical expressions. Once in a while I drive through neighborhoods at night to enjoy the storyboards some homeowner create with their Christmas displays. Christmas to me is still a spiritual moment.

Having said that, you can just imagine by now how little I decorate my home. Through the years, I collected hand painted homes of Charles Dickens time that now fill a half wall I have in the kitchen, then I create vignettes with my displays and keep it simple, add lights where needed and use small items to add the flavor of Christmas. I am a practical person, putting up and taking down Christmas stuff doesn’t have to be more work for me. My efforts instead go towards exceptional food.
Enjoy the slide show of my vignettes.

Happy Christmas to all and if you don’t celebrate it, take time to reflect on your spirituality. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

PrintAs a designer in business since 1990, I am interested in helping people designing their interior and exterior spaces to add an overall feeling of peace and relaxation. Find copies of my three books on
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Christmas Atmospheres | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

This year I would like to suggest nature simplicity on Christmas table. Let’s stay away from the artificial decorations and stinking petroleum candles. Let’s make instead “organic” the focus of our table and I mean even organic food. Let’s turn our attention to food grown locally with zero travel and zero carbon emission. How do you do that? Read labels and ask questions to your grocer, find out where the food you want to buy is coming from and make your decisions. As far as decorations a simple trip to your local market will suffice to find your decorations as well.

Tall decorations on the table look impressive, we got used to see them in stores or magazines and never understood why we want to copy the same look for our tables, considering that those vignettes are about merchandising and displaying products for sale. Decorating a table is about creating an atmosphere of pleasing colors and tasty food, these are the only attractions of a table, to which we must add harmonious and well diverse company sitting under a suiting light.

Guests sitting at the table must be able to talk to the guests across the table without the obstruction of tall decorations. This year think of grocery shops as inspiration for your table centerpiece and play with food arrangements, pumpkins, tomatoes, vegetables, flowers and pine cones. On both sides of each guest there must be at least 18” of space to perform certain actions with ease like cutting food, but if space around the table is limited each guest should have at least a foot of clearance.

Light coming from above the table such as a chandelier should be suffuses but not totally dimmed, you want your guests to see the color of food and the beautiful table setting. Recessed lights must be directed over the plates and the lights above the two head table need to crisscross at the center of the table to highlight the centerpiece. If recessed lighting is not set right, it will create bags under your guests’ eyes and your women guests will not appreciate it, be kind to them, don’t make them seem older or sick.

Cover the table with an elegant tablecloth, it is Christmas after all, treat yourself and your guests to something special. I have three suggestions:
1. Flandre linen, high quality monochromatic textile produced in Belgium since the 1800s. It is very formal.
2. Chambray linen, produced in the city of Cambrai, France. This is a plain weaved fabric with a hint of silk, also produced since the 1800s. It is perfect for casual elegance.
3. Boutis, a Provençal quilting cloth used for table covers made in the South of France since the 19th century. It is similar to the Italian Trapunto, which started in Italy before the 14th century and still produced today. It gives the table a semi-formal look.

On top of the tablecloth add the most beautiful dishes you have, be creative even in mixing and matching if you like, add all the glasses and flatware and let the dinner roll. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

PrintValentina Cirasola has been a lifetime designer in fashion and interiors. Her extensive knowledge of colors and materials led her in both directions successfully. Vogue Italy featured her as the guru of staging a home in the theatrical way. Among designing and remodeling homes, designing custom-made furniture and writing books, Valentina is now teaching etiquette, table manners, table setting and life style. Check out her latest books ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors on the subject of colors, available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Inspired By A Photograph | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

It’s not uncommon in my world of art and design to see an art image and think of something else that has nothing to do with the painting subject. I have a great admiration for people’s art and visions of art. Looking deeply into the artist’s color selections, or interpreting the artist’s thoughts often put me in a state of transcendental thinking, wandering in the maze of my imagination that creates more images and more ideas.

This is what happened when a few months ago I saw this photograph on Google+ by photographer Chris Lord http://chris-lord.artistwebsites.com/featured/caster-oil-plant-chris-lord.html

His beautiful composition in hot red immediately made me think of a Baroque Christmas dinner table. I created a board to express my thoughts. Now it is easy to copy it, the work has been done for you if you want to decorate your Christmas table with these colors. My Baroque Christmas table is rich and classic with a twist.
Inspired by a photograp

Choose a simple, plain red tablecloth as a base, overlay in diagonal a brown chocolate shimmering fabric. Depending on your Christmas menu, stack two or three glass plates with some golden details, use crackled golden glasses to match the golden plates.
Burgundy Damask napkins with rich burgundy tassels as napkin rings will go very well with golden plates and glasses.

To make interesting combination, a modern flatware with flair of primitive rusticity made of a safe golden alloy with twigs metal handles will make a good entry. I want the food to get the attention it deserves, thus I prefer the centerpiece very simple, only glass candle holders to add sparkles over a dark shimmering fabric. Cover the glass of the candle holders with natural twigs and insert beeswax candles (they are safer for your health than paraffin candles). Around the room, disperse some Baroque decorations, but keep it simple, orbs of greenery and pinecones, with a few grouping of glass balls will be sufficient to create an elegant ambience.

Share your Christmas table, I would love to see how you will decorate it. I hope you have a splendid Christmas, Ciao.
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValOperaStampValentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer working in the USA and Europe since 1990, specializing in 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. Author of three published books, the latest ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors is on the subject of colors.
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
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Christmas In Colors | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

I am into colors and lot of it. I live colorful experiences because I live a colorful life. I can’t imagine my home, my wardrobe, or my garden without colors. In my new book  ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors I wrote:

“I am thankful for God who gave me eyes to see glorious colors!”
Have you thought of your Christmas colors this year? The classic timeless red, green and gold will always be available for those who want to stay in the tradition. Personally, I like to change Christmas colors every year and when the holidays are over, I organize a selling party to get rid of all the decorations and to have an excuse for the first party in early January before the real heavy work starts.

This year I have compiled six color schemes to show how easy it is to elaborate a color in many different directions and solutions. Think about how many more will be possible. You can spread one color with all its complements, opposite and undertone hues from the Christmas tree to the table setting and all the surrounding areas. The important thing is to stay within the boundary of one color and not exceeding or spilling into cheap combinations. Cheap is cheap, but simple is elegant.

Love to see your combinations.  Let’s share. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola has been a lifetime designer in fashion and interiors. Her extensive knowledge of colors and materials led her in both directions successfully. “Vogue Italy” magazine featured Valentina as the guru of staging a home in the theatrical way. Among designing and remodeling homes, designing custom-made furniture and writing books, Valentina is now teaching etiquette, table manners, table setting and life style.

Check out her latest books ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors on the subject of colors, available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

My Christmas Village | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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I can finally take care of “building” my village. This year many days ran together, during the course of many weeks I lost at least one day every time and wondering where did my time go. How did I manage that? This year has been a real lesson for me and I will take care of my busyness at the beginning of next year, but now it is time to think of my Christmas village.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Charles Dickens Christmas Village by ©Valentina Cirasola

 

Years ago, I fell in love with hand painted houses representing Charles Dickens’s village. I was new in USA, seeing Christmas villages in stores were new thing for me, just as everything else was. I started to collect as many little houses I could until one day I had no more place to store them and stopped the collection.
The village I build for Christmas every year is my fantasy, not a real village. The style of architecture does represent Victorian England of early 1800s, the small statues of people are dressed in Victorian fashion, so darling, but everything else is a fantasy. I have a theatre for plays, comedies and ballet performances, the Opera House is grand. I have many pubs and restaurants, hotels, various shoppes, antique stores, a seamstress’s house, playgrounds for kids, the light house and a barn, an ice skate ring with moving people (battery operated), a few library buildings, a train station with a sound of a train coming and a real moving train, a battery operated toy. In my village there is no police station, no hospital, no government buildings and no schools. Hey, this is my village and in my fantasy we all learn from each other, we are all good to each others and help one another.

 

It takes many hours to put the village up, string all the lights inside the small houses, creating attractive streets and passages over bridges and gardens, arrange the houses to design an inviting village with the main drag with all the fashionable stores just as if I were a certified city planner. I like to place street benches next to cozy corners or views, kids and carriages in the right spots and attach all the sounds to make the village come alive. I like to keep all the lights and sounds turned on all day, but at night it becomes magic. The lay out of my village varies every year, streets and things to do are never the same and I amaze myself how many solutions I can create. It’s playtime!

inthedark2

Charles Dickens Christmas Village by ©Valentina Cirasola

 

I leave the rest of the room in suffuse lighting to allow the village to be on stage, when is completed it is quite beautiful. December is the only time of the year I can live almost in history, I get to step back in time to experience a much simpler and slower life even though is only in my fantasy and through toys. Perhaps during Charles Dickens’s time they said the same thing about a slower living style before the 1800s.

Charles Dickens Christmas Village by ©Valentina Cirasola

(All photos are property of ©Valentina Cirasola)

In a separate area of the room, away from the village display, I don’t miss to set up a spirituality corner with my little manger made in Germany by wood workers artists who are still designing small items all by hands and some angels made of Venetian glass made in Murano. LED light strings and candles everywhere illuminate the rest of the house.

The custom of turning on shiny, bright and colored lights in December comes from the burning the “Yule Log” in Germany, a medieval pagan festival that occurred every December to celebrate the winter Solstice and the short dark days of winter. The burning of the Yule Log was a way to welcome light, the return of the sun and it represented Jesus as the light of the world.

However I want to look at it, I am one of the few people who decorate Christmas in a different way. The important thing is to celebrate a new light that will take the darkness of the winter away from our life and project us into the New Year with a renewed spirituality and new goals toward the humanity and ourselves.

I hope you will come up with your own different display too and please remember I am always ready to decorate and design with you.
Have a Happy Christmas and happy holidays. Ciao,
Valentina

www.Valentinadesigns.com

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 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 the forthcoming book on the subject of Colors entitled ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, due to be published very soon.

Valentina’s books on the Italian regional cuisine are doing very well. They are available on

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

 

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