Arrow To The Front Door | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Choosing a design for an interior space, a garden or outdoor space for some people is an overwhelming task. To get ideas a long process of collecting things starts: photos from magazines, roll millions of Pinterest and Instagram images, color chips, textures and hard material. Some people put those pictures in folders, some create visual boards, some other scatter them all over tables, on the floors, stick them on the walls, fill up their computer, get confused and make the task more difficult than anticipated. If all the ideas are there, why is it so difficult to choose colors, style, appearance of a room, or create a nice corner in the garden? The reason is simple. Each design has its distinctive style, if the designer’s work has been done correctly, each room we see in magazines and online reflects the customers’ personality. Trying to compose a puzzle with a color from one picture, a detail from another picture and a style of furniture from one more picture will never work. Designing to follow own personality and lifestyle is the way to go to assure a successful design. (Click on each photo to view it larger).

EntireView(Before) 

This project was developed online, I knew nothing about the virtual client, but soon everything became clear during our conversations online. She mentioned the existing driveway was too straight and long, too gray, too much concrete, too much grass and no harmony or colors in the vegetation. To her eyes the driveway seemed more like a spear shooting straight to her front door. I also kept hearing themes of mysticism and Feng Shui in her conversation with me. Right there I had her answer. I thought of adding games of lights between plants, running water and create a moon garden with plants that would shimmer silver highlights under the moonlight.
exist.cond(Before)

Her house is a contemporary Mediterranean style, in fact the area where she lives is called “Tuscan Hills”. It is located in a newly built development area, clinging to the hill where weeds grew freely and now huge houses propped in clusters take over the hill.  All the houses resemble large cubes missing the true elements of Tuscan Hills and especially missing the Tuscan personality.

©CortileSolut1
First, I tackled the small courtyard at the entry by adding flag stone on the pavement, travertine quoin stones around the door, round travertine landing steps with step lights, window sills and a colorful mosaic fountain with lights. A gazing globe and two larger planters with tall plants would close the vignette. I got rid of the dolphins jumping in the air without water in sight. In a beach house dolphins would have been perfect in a running fountain.

©DrivewaySolut1a

For the driveway I choose an “S” shape designs to avoid that feeling of a straight arrow going directly into to the entry door. Nice colorful pavers would substitute the grey concrete with inserts of medallions in contrasting color pavers forming designs of the sun, moon and star. If she wanted to keep the driveway in a straight line, the view of the second concept offers a harmonious vignette to look at while driving on the long driveway.

DrivewaySolut2a

The two design concepts I submitted to the client are self-explanatory. I played with colors and architectural balance. As the eyes follow the “S” shaped driveway, they will also go the up and down the tall and short plants, stop at the roundness of the rocks and feel joyous looking at the variety of colors. At night the moon will illuminate the silvery plants and in the daytime the sun will touch all the other colorful plants making them even more cheerful.
At this time all flowers and plants are in bloom, this is the time to redo a front yard, landscape, or your outdoor rooms. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val in ParadiseAs a designer in business since 1990, I am 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. I am always looking to add that special touch with original findings to the spaces I design. Featured on Vogue Italia magazine, Gentry and many prominent magazines in California, appeared on RAI, National Italian T.V., my story as a designer continues. Find copies of my three books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Wacky Mailboxes | 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 the home and sometimes technical information.

What a cheerful thing to see when approaching someone’s home: a wacky mailbox.
To me, it indicates the family is creative and loves to amuse.
Often, when I see a wacky mailbox want to stop and talk to the owners to find out about the creative thought behind their design.
It’s not always possible to find someone in the home these days, but when I do, usually they end up inviting me in and offer me a cup of coffee, as they are so happy to see someone interested in their design. Perhaps they think I am a martian knocking on people’s door just to ask about the mailbox.
You know, I am an expat in a foreign land and a curious person. I want to learn as much as possible about the land that has adopted me.

 

Somehow I associate artistic mailboxes to some customs in old-time Europe, when people’s surnames derived either from their trades, a particular detail in the personal appearance, or something totally wacky about a person.  I remember the last name of one of my mom’s clients was Scarpagrossa (large shoe). She was a big woman with large feet and her shoes were of course big. However, she inherited that last name when she married a Scarpagrossa, a surname that started in her husband’s earlier generations of a family with big people. The last name was kind of a reflection of their size. British brought this custom to America and now we have Smith, Fisher, Phillips, Dickson and many more. Perhaps this will be another topic for next time. Today, we can recognize people’s liking, passions, and trades by their mailboxes and no longer by their nicknames.

Some people will make a mailbox an exact copy of the architecture style of their home, some will show the symbol of their trade or something totally of fantasy.
Do you see the chiropractor or the painter’s mailboxes in my video? They don’t need any advertisement for their business, their mailboxes speak about their trades.

So far, I have seen painted fire hydrants and painted mailboxes, painted garage doors, and extravagant entry doors. I have seen vegetation on rooftops and homes underground for energy-saving. I have seen warehouses changed into contemporary lofts and glass homes.  Creativity is something everybody has and can be expressed freely.

If a house is located in an open countryside where the next house is a few miles away, then it’s easy to get wacky with the exterior concept, but if the house in located in an agglomerate of homes, where there is the  “usual irresistible complainer” as a neighbor, think again before putting up something that might offend that person. In some cities, homeowners must submit a conceptual exterior plan to the city even for a simple creative mailbox. Check with the building department and don’t let anybody stifle your creativity! Create a cheerful new week. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValHatCelesteStampValentina 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 online through Skype and the traditional in-house consultations, helping people with their design challenge anywhere in the world.  She is the author of three books, all available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

I For Illuminate Your Space | 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 the home and sometimes technical information.

I have the opportunity to design the exterior lighting of the house featured in my video. The house is located in an upscale area, but the landscape is not really upscale. it is utilitarian greenery. Most of the plants in this landscape are evergreen, a lot of foliage and very few flowers. This kind of landscape is congenial for public streets, as it requires little maintenance and little water. Basically, it’s a xeriscape planning, which is OK for today’s need to conserve water.

If I were the owner of this house, I would have had the guest areas, the main entry, and the front yard made up with seasonal flowers. I would plant vegetation synchronized with the regeneration of each season, where one group of flowers goes dormant, while the other group comes alive and together swing out colors and scents all year round. Then I would make up a xeriscape for the hidden, utilitarian and not so pretty areas, like the service areas and driveway. This is my first time designing only the exterior lighting without redesigning the landscape, that’s the owner’s wish.

All that green foliage doesn’t reflect the moonlight and makes the house very dark at night, while during the daytime makes it very heavy. The front door is not easy to find as it is completely covered with heavy vegetation, making it not inviting either. There is no curb appeal and no focal point.  The backyard, with the exception of a few rose plants and Agapanthus bushes, has no interest. Being the house positioned in an upscale area, it needs an elegant landscape with character and “manners” and not vegetation for highways.

I will eliminate outdated fixtures and will create layers of LED lights that will cast silhouettes on the walls and shadow on the ground. Some fixtures will have colored filter lenses to give some depth in the darkest areas, as the bamboo area and some trees will be illuminated with a soft string of lighting. I will highlight the balcony wood rail with bullet lights. The backyard needs the ambiance of an outdoor living room. My games of lights will enhance the heavy foliage and will change the feel of the existing landscape into a garden that is comfortable for the people of the house and their guests, livable, energy-efficient and easy on the eyes.

Sharing is caring. Share me as often as you like. Through Skype line, I offer design consultation on-line, other than the traditional “in house” consultations. I design for people all over the world without moving an inch away from my desk. I am here to help. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Cappello GialloValentina is an Italian Interior Designer since 1990 designing for the USA and Europe’s markets. She loves to remodel homes and gardens. With her many years of experience, she is able to cover a wide range of design solutions. Often clients ask her to designs the landscape concept complete with lighting as a complement to the interior design.
Valentina is the author of three books available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Garden Inspiration | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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In this part of the world, California, we are having a mild summer, very pleasant and conducive for work in the office, or work in the garden and a day at the beach is never scorching.
For a couple of months, we can still make improvements to the garden, before we need to prepare it for the coming winter. The garden should follow the architectural style of the house, at least at the front street side, the curb appeal should reflect it. The interior part of the garden, or otherwise called backyard, might be extravagant, whimsical, dreamy, or it might be kept in the same style of the house.

If I am designing the interior colors, I keep them communicating with the exterior and the garden colors. This will avoid the choppy or disconnected feeling and will keep everything in harmony. A Mediterranean style home with a Japanese style garden is out-of-place. The best way to design an interesting garden, large or small, is to divide the ground in many vignettes and create a certain rhythm that will invite you in. My Pinterest board has been an inspiration; so many good ideas and tips are showing up and I am taking full advantage of all of them. Here there are some solutions I find very intriguing:

Strawberry rocks – No longer need to worry about birds eating your baby strawberries. Place these rocks around the strawberry patch, the birds will bite on the rocks thinking they are biting on the strawberries and will soon learn never to come closer to your patch.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Strawberry Rocks

(Photo above: Spaaz.de)


Broken clay pot
– Do not discard, use them to create a view in your fantasy.

Create islands – Place an island here and there, with loose bricks and rocks, the pot in the center will carry the plants arrangements of your liking and will become the centerpiece.

(PHOTO BY MARK LOHMAN – This Old House)

Simple fountains – Very inexpensive to do, made of simple rocks or leftover construction material, a small lining to collect the recirculating water and a pump; place them anywhere between plants.

(Photo above: http://ahigo.net/4442-garden-water-fountains/water-fountains-with-small-pond)

Pathways – I love to see pathways not designed in the same style. Pathways should change according to the vignette design. Keep them interesting.

 

(Photo above:  http://www.woohome.com/ideas/25-lovely-diy-garden-pathway-ideas)

(Photo above: Tom Mitchell’s display in Plantasia Garden Show)

Playing games – Don’t you love this checkered game area with tall chess pieces?

 

(Photo above:  DIY Network)

Vertical orchard – This is possible to create even if you don’t have a garden, on a balcony or on a terrace. If you can, plant food, it will be better than food sold in stores, guaranteed!

(Photo above found on: http://www.finecraftguild.com/5-vertical-vegetable-garden-ideas)

Paint a color door – Allow only one door leading in the garden to be of a different color, I painted red my garage door leading to the garden. A bit of splash of color among the greenery is intriguing.

 

(Photo above found on: http://loveliegreenie.tumblr.com/post/6354519618)

Do you like vintage? – Look what is possible to do with old china sets, or with an old musical instrument. One becomes bird’s bath with a few modifications and the other one becomes a flower display bed. Actually, a speaker hidden inside the flower display, would a stylish solution, from which the music of a violin diffuses in the air. I often hide speakers under resin rocks. How sweet!

(Photo above – http://www.architectureartdesigns.com/40-ideas-of-how-to-reuse-tea-cup-artistically)

 

A relaxation area – Unused trampoline can change into  a cozy daytime bed where to nap on a Sunday afternoon, or anytime rest is needed.

 

Many different ideas, funky, whimsical, elegant and original will be available. If in doubt call the expert, I love to design gardens that speak of you.
I do offer design consultations on-line through Skype line. Visit my Pinterest boards, when you have some free time: http://pinterest.com/vcvalentina/. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola has been in business as a designer since 1990. 
She has helped a variegated group of fun people realizing their dreams with homes, offices, interiors and exteriors.
She designs landscape concepts as a complement to the residential design concept as a unity.
Check out her books on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0

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

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