Marrying Painted Furniture | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

You have a tired piece of furniture, you like it so much, perhaps it has been in the family for a long time or you just care for the environment and don’t want to dispose of it. The solution is to repaint it.

It is fun to let the imagination run free when repainting furniture.  You are imagining the new piece in a particular corner, you found the right color or pattern you like so much and get equipped with all that is needed to do the paint job, but then you might realize that particular color or pattern will not fit with the décor of your room.  Before you get innamorate of a certain design,  the first think to do is to ask yourself if color and pattern will go with your room décor. When you are absolutely sure, purchase all the material needed. A couple of times it happened to me. I was totally taken by a certain design that I ended up changing the rest of the room to fit the painted piece.

 

If you are restyling a room based on the new color of your painted furniture, remember that nothing transforms a room better than colors do. Colors in nature work just as you see them, bring them in the room, they will work just as good. A room exposed to South can take bold and rich colors on walls, furniture and accessories. For rooms exposed to North, you might want to use bold colors only in accessories.
Take one or two colors from your painted furniture and use them as your color scheme for the room. Then the fun part comes. Select one color that doesn’t even exist in your painted furniture piece and make it the accent color to help the room stand out. Note what I did in my color schemes:

First colors scheme: The green tones came from the green lines of the dresser, by introducing a raspberry color the room become vibrant. Although green is a calming color, it might not be suitable for everyone, especially for those people who have a low value skin tone.

Second colors scheme: the grounding color is black found in the chair legs, coffee table and credenza top. In the next slide, notice how the same piece of furniture looks so different with different colors around.

Third color scheme: I picked up the brownish tones from the same credenza with diamond designs, changing the feeling of the room completely. Have you noticed the rug has the same diamond pattern of the credenza? It just happened by chance.

Fourth color scheme: I chose to play with the brown tone of the colorful chest of drawers. The yellow in the drawers was my inspiration for a yellow tone floral chair. Floral chairs offer many colors to mix and match other chairs in solid colors.

Fifth color scheme: painted golden and silver stripes characterize this dresser drawer, to which anything can be  matched. I chose the golden tones, bright, warm colors and added texture with the accessories. The feel is sunny and natural.

Sixth color scheme: In alternative to paint a piece of furniture, you might want to consider covering that piece with faux leather, or wallpaper. Color black grounds a room, but also, as a graphic color, lends itself to many color combinations from classical to modern.

Today’ s wise designer must know how to romance a room and how to dance around client’s budget.

If a client needs guidance in painting a piece of furniture that can say “I am an original” , I will gladly do that, it is part of my services and color is my expertise. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Val:FarfalleStampValentina 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. She is the author of three books, the latest is a book on colors RED-A Voyage Into Colors. Find them on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Furniture – A Movable Thought | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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.

The word furniture comes from the 1570 French word “fournir” (furnish in English). Furniture was the prerogative of the higher levels of society and nobles who lived in castles while the less prosperous sat on benches, stools or on the floor, ate at whatever table available at their disposition and often slept on beds of straw. Furniture had a double purpose: to decorate a room as we intend it today and to be mobile. In fact in many European countries where romantic languages are spoken furniture was also called “mobilia” a Latin word which means mobile. The word is still in use today.

Vacation time of the rich and nobles was like a house moving of today, they took along chairs, tables, trunks and household stuff when they left their castle and went to visit their peers in their castles. Visiting people’s castle was a common custom as today we go on vacation and stay in hotels, except that our hotels are fully furnished and clothes is the only thing we carry around.

Furniture and adornments were meant to convey the wealth of its owner. Rich oak was the preferred wood for container such as trunks and credenza; upholstered chairs in velvet or expensive materials divided rooms elegantly in vignettes; turned legs accented and beautified any boxed furniture; elaborate window treatments kept the cold winter out and gilded and decorated walls lined with expensive art really told the story of how wealthy the family was.

 

The Dutch were the first to use Turkish rug as table coverings and not as floor covering. They believed furniture was to admire, to use and never to crowd a room, in that it would detract the light and the spirit within. However their reason might have been a more practical one. Dutch people scrubbed and cleaned their homes every day and when entering the house, took their shoes off on the unfurnished and very bare first floor, which was considered an extension of the street. With slippers on their feet, they entered the livable home on the second floor. However, the cleanliness of their homes did not reflect the cleanliness of their bodies. One would think that the same people who scrubbed, cleaned and shined their homes, would take an exceptional effort to keep up with personal care and hygiene as well, but that was not the case. Houses did not have a room for bathing and the multiple layers of clothing that kept them warm during the hard winter months, discouraged bathing and exposure to fresh air: “the bark stays better on the trunk”.

Strangely enough, not much as changed since then, except that furniture are less decorated, more functional, respects the rule of ergonomics, often is very technological with more than one function and we don’t take them on our vacations. In decorating, we like to reproduce past styles to feel a connection to history. The Dutch four-post bed is still in use today, as are alcoves and banquette seating under windows. Family portraits and various art pieces still line our decorated walls. Entering someone’s home it’s hard to remain indifferent one way or the other. Furniture will immediately communicate the status symbol or non-status of the owner and the style will speak about the owner’s personality.

As for cleanliness, I wonder often if people have learned anything or if technology has even helped. It’s not uncommon for me, being a designer, to go into a house for the first time and find a royal mess and stale air. The answer is to be found in the question: “what do people do with their time?”. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val:FarfalleStampValentina Cirasola has been a lifetime designer in fashion and interiors. Her extensive knowledge of colors and materials led her in both directions successfully. She is well-known for designing custom furniture. She cares to make spacious and functional pieces, but she doesn’t forget to introduce the element of surprise, sinuous lines, attractive shapes and color in the style fit for each of her special clients.
She is the author of three books all available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Sunday Hidden Treasures | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Last week, one of my follower blogger challenged his audience to find some hidden photographs in our computers.
This is my contribution to photographer Jeff Sinon Sunday’s Hidden Treasure:
http://jeffsinonphotography.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/sundays-hidden-treasure/

I found some pleasant memories in my computer photo archive of my visit to the Science Museum in San Francisco when it was just opened a couple of years ago. Renzo Piano, a modern genius Italian architect designed the building and of course I am very fond of his work.

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(All photos were taken inside the Museum of Science in San Francisco, CA by ©Valentina Cirasola and are her property)

The building is rooted in a mixture of Classical Greek and Modernism architecture.
A glass lobby allows the visitors to look steadily with curiosity or wander through the building and even see the park on the other side in the distance.

The building with the columns framing a central entry presents a classical symmetry echoing the Greek Parthenon, but the modern construction material used such as the green roof, glass walls and windows that let air escape and create a gentle breeze, are very much inline with the modernism movement of Mies van der Rohe of the early 20th century.

I saw the entire building as a sort of giant specimen case, fauna and flora sharing large exhibition spaces with their own microclimates. Particularly interesting was the vertical garden, which gave me many ideas for my future work designing landscaping for my client.

In the African Hall, I leaned how penguins get fed, a very amusing spectacle and I photographed these beautiful zebras. Too bad they ended up this way, but if they had not been there, I would have never known what a zebra looks like in life.

In one area of the Museum a giant overhead aquarium shaped in an archway surprised the visitors. All kind of fish swim together, I wonder if they know they are on display with no way out. The cat-fish I photographed looks very much made of metal to me. The peaceful lizard, frog and butterfly were kept in a tropical temperature area and boy it  was hot!!!

Green roofs serve several purposes for a building, such as absorbing rainwater, providing insulation, creating a habitat for wildlife, helping to lower urban air temperatures and mitigate the heat as in an island effect. That was the last stop of my visit of the Science Museum, it was very windy up there, but then San Francisco would not be San Francisco if it didn’t have the wind and the fog.

Among a few examples of Renzo Piano’s major work, please admire:
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (1971–77)
Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, United States (1982–87)
Stadio San Nicola, Bari, Italy (1988–89)
International Terminal, Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan (1991–94)
NEMO science museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (1997)
Beyeler Foundation Museum, Basel, Switzerland (1991–97)
Ferrari wind tunnel, Maranello, Italy (1996–98)
Maison Hermès, Tokyo, Japan (2001)
Parco della Musica, Rome, Italy (2002)
Padre Pio Pilgrimage ChurchSan Giovanni Rotondo, Italy (2004)
High Museum of Art Expansion, Atlanta, United States (2005)

Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.Valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina 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. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

A Watchful Eye | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Economic recessions and depressions are often a cause of violent riots, insurgency and disobedience of law. Growing differences in socio-economic classes are creating dissatisfaction among the working people who are seeing their purchasing power diminished day-by-day and witnessing an unstable future with no return.
(Photo above found on: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/uk-riots-anarchy-in-the-uk–teenage-147263)


(Photo above: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/vancouver-chief-to-civilians-im-sorry-we-could-not-back-you-up/article590804)

The latest riots in Vancouver in June, riots in Italy and London in August arose precisely from these feelings of resentment towards richer and well-to-do classes. I don’t want to be alarmist, but it could happen in this country too, after all we have our hands full of economic problems and we are certainly not exonerated from these occurrences.

I have studied security systems for a while and I have collected much precious information from manufacturers of these devices. I feel an urgency to bring you tips on how to protect your home, your valuable, but above all, your loved ones, not only in case of riots, but to protect yourself against burglary, vandalism, fire and other accidents.

Your attention should go to the front entry first! I suggest keeping your front door closed and locked at all time, even if you are inside the home. The door should have a deadbolt lock, which is not easy to open with a simple ID card and a peephole that has 180º view. The front door must be well lit with wall sconces on both sides of the door and above lighting.

Install lights around your home, in critical or dark areas install exterior sensor lights and make all the pathways bright and pleasant to walk through. Set economical timers for the interior of the house to turn the lights on and give the appearance that someone is at home when you are not. Intruders don’t like lights or noises.

Shrubs and bushes should be trimmed, especially around windows. Overgrown bushes will protect burglars and criminals from being seeing while they are gaining easy access into the home. All the windows should have the same type of locks and pins, so once the mechanisms are memorized, they will be easy to use.

Security System is one thing you should not try to do on a discount, spend the money!


(Photo above: http://www.securitysales.com/news/adt_nearly_half_of_new_subscribers_buy_pulse_home_automation/slideshow/0)

A well-designed security system should protect you against burglary, vandals, fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, household flooding and other dangers. Experienced, trusted local authorities such as police and fire brigades should monitor it.

A wireless security system offers a better protection, in that it is easy to conceal, will not interfere with the beauty of a curb appeal and there is no hard wires the burglars can cut.

Wireless security camera is a must. In combination with other wireless security devises, cameras are also a way to monitor children playing in the yard.
Make sure the wireless security system you are going to purchase is easy to operate for everyone in the house, it must have a maintenance plan to cover parts and service and that it will not go off by a dog walking by your home, winds or heavy rain. Night vision is not only for war actions. Infrared technology allows you to record your house at night and guard you against night intruders.

Every day simple actions to protect yourself:
1. Don’t ever hide the keys of your house under plants, doormats, or above the door.
2. Leaving boxes of recent purchases such as computer, HD T.V., or appliances outside your door is a good way to show that you have made an expensive purchase. Cut up the box in small pieces and place it in the trash.
3. Photograph and make a video of all your valuable, retain the receipts of those purchases and deposit everything in a safe deposit box along with valuable documents, insurance policies, wills and all that pertain your life.
4. Keep house keys and cellular close to you at night.
5. How about Neighborhood Watch Association? This is where you can get informed on what happens around your community. Join a group near your home.

Some things in life are replaceable, but certain others when they are gone, they are lost forever. Are you willing to lose them?
Should you need advice on security systems, I shall be here to help with your needs, just leave your name in box below. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina 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 on consultation and produces design concepts for remodeling, upgrading, new home, décor restyling and home fashion. “Vogue Italy” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She also has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15. Find her books on:

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

 

In The Napa Style | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Napa17(Michael Kayne Design)

Ah, Napa Valley! The valley of Californian wines and the place where Bacchus is celebrated every day and every moment of the day is a good time to sip a glass of wine.

Napa is all about a lifestyle made of nature, naturally grown food, relaxation, spa treatments, exercise and living a healthy life with the vice of wines.
This is not a place for a crazy nightlife, late night dinners and dancing until the small hours of the day. It is about a simpler, earthy life, growing food, producing wines, making home-style bread, farming bees for honey and enjoy bucolic scenes.

However, there is nothing simple about the homes of this wine country. Homes in the valley might be modest and unpretentious, but driving up Napa Valley hills and getting lost among the tall vegetation and lush terrace vineyards, one can see fantastic villas, some of them revolving around the entire hill-top. These large homes, large almost as small castles are intended for entertaining large parties, dinner events and musical gathering.

One of the people in my circle, hosted an Opera Night for sixty people sitting around bistro tables, all gathered in the Italianate courtyard. This place will be featured in the filming of the T.V. show I am hosting entitled Dreaming California, which will air in Italy towards the end of the 2011. I selected it because it projects that feeling of the Italian courtyard life of my past, so very familiar to me. Growing up in the South of Italy, I spent my childhood playing in so many courts and courtyards of my family and friends while the adults canned food for the winter, or made wines. And the memory is sweet!

Let’s leave for a moment the huge homes of the high-profile people of Napa Valley.

Anyone can reproduce this earthy style with a few refined accents and with not much effort. Second hand stores are a wealth of inspiration and often old findings are real treasure. One thing to keep in mind is nature, which must be present in every space, then natural items from wood species to leather, from fabrics to glass and metals. Old and distressed fit the rusticity of the area. New furniture must look muted and not shiny.


Comfortable but massive seating is a must, possibly covered with the most natural eco-friendly fibers and directed towards the views to add to the comfort. Remember the rustic tables with straw seat chairs? Probably your grandmother had them all her life. They sit so well in any space, not just in the kitchen and if you want to substitute the straw chairs for long benches is even better to get that old farmhouse look.

Vintage wines or farming objects should be appearing every so often in the décor. Keep it rustic. Use recycled and salvaged items when possible, floor, windows and doors are easy to find at architectural salvage yard.

Stack the butler pantry with rustic dishes and drinking vessels. Add all the natural flavors of olive oils, vinegar, a variety of olives, sauces to spread over bruschetta like eggplant caponata and peperonata, natural salts, dry good like truffles and porcini, all the nuts, honey, marmalade and you will feel motivate to cook like a real gourmet chef.

Keep the cooking area modern enough with all the convenient amenities of the modern life, but the perception of the kitchen should be seasoned, reminiscent of simple time gone by.

(All Photos courtesy of Napa Style store)

A home decorated in the Napa style doesn’t have to be nested atop a narrow ridge and surrounded by its own lush vineyards. It is just as easy to reproduce it anywhere with patios, courtyards and verandahs decorated with the right elements for relaxation, as well as plants and flowers to enjoy the aromas of nature. Wine is the one and only element that should never be missed.

A man who was fond of wine was offered some grapes and dessert after dinner. ‘Much obliged,’ said he, pushing the dish away from him, ‘but I am not in the habit of taking my wine in pills.’ Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, French gastronome, (1755-1826), “The Physiology of Taste”.
I read this book so many times around. It should be part of a Napa style kitchen.

I am here to help you with any challenges you might have with your décor, or to advice you in the making of a particular style. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2011 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. She is the author of three books available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Illuminate Your Summer | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Light is life. Where there is light there is a crowd of people and where there is a fun lighting there is also a fun divertissement.

(Photo left found on: http://weaselmedia.com/gorgeous-solar-lights-for-backyard/outdoor-solar-lights-landscape-lighting-houselogic-within-solar-lights-for-backyard)

We all know how to illuminate our exterior paths, the garden and the house and we do it accordingly to the style of the house. Illumination is one of those items in the décor that can go extravagant, out of the ordinary, be a bit crazy.
In my house I have lamps and light sources different from one another and yet they live together really well, adding the conversation element too.
I want to show you how to illuminate your summer with solar lighting in the fun way and save you money at the same time.

Magic Solar Glowing Globes are good for any pathways, swimming pool edge line, or as stakes on the grass between vegetation.

Solar Stakes add a little comic life by mimic flowers and plants elevated to the nth power. Glass Solar Steaks go into the ground, the multicolored glass will illuminate in colors any trees, any shrub, any vast area of plain grass, now you only need imagination in creating your own secret garden fantasy.

 

If you have a swimming pool you can produce a nighttime underwater lighting show with lit up fountain creating water shooting scattered here and there on the water of the pool.
(aliexpress.com)

How about something to recreate pleasant sounds?
Whether you like quiet time with yourself, or entertain in style, these fake rocks are light enough to be picked up by one person and moved anywhere you like. Add speaker to them and your favorite music will fill the air.
(Photo fake stone found on: http://www.problemsolvers.com)

A chandelier in the garden, what a novel idea! They are not what they seem, they are hummingbirds feeders in the version of small chandeliers, artsy, whimsical, colorful. Any place in the garden is the right place, hang them off trees, pergola and arbors. My hummingbirds are very happy these days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now relax, sit in this “Paradisio” alcove, with UV-resistant fabrics and maintenance-free material and forget the world! (Photo: Paradisio.com)
There is so much more to do in recreating a summer of harmony: solar shower, outdoor heaters, nighttime fire and all the items I can pull together for you in a jiffy, while saving you money too. Leave your name down below in the box and I shall answer you in 24 hours time. Ciao,
Valentina

www.Valentinadesigns.com


Copyright © 2011 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 and hardscape as a complement to the residential design concept as a unity. Find her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Living In The Time | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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The concept of living in the time is about how to transform a living space in a more responsible and sustainable space while keeping it full of dreams and personal touches.
One of the most loved idea is the Outdoor as part of the indoor interiors. I don’t want to talk about trend, as I don’t see this outdoor idea going away anytime soon. We are more willing to live with the nature than being surrounded by cement, but the outdoor must have all the amenities, functionality and attention to details as any interior, to feel livable and comfortable.

Outdoor furniture should be carefully selected for durability under the weather. Teak Wood is the common name for the tropical hardwood tree species Tectona Grandis native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar. It is used in the manufacture of outdoor furniture, boat decks, cutting boards, indoor flooring, countertops and as a veneer for indoor furnishings. It is weather, termite and pest resistant even when not treated with oil or varnish.

One of my friend introduced me to Ifit another hard wood from Guam and Pacific Rim. The extremely dense and reddish wood is highly termite resistant and was once extensively used for interior woodwork such as flooring, window frames, corner posts, cutting boards and other accessories, as it is highly polished. These type of wood species being durable and pest resistant become eco-friendly because they will outlived us and hopefully we will buy them only once, but their traveling will need lot of petrol to take them from their native lands to their next destination.

While decorating with sustainability in mind, think of a variety of eco-friendly upholstery fabrics, such as organic cotton grown without pesticides and not genetically modified. Organic Cotton is printable in many patterns and choices are endless.
Hemp is stronger and more durable than cotton, needs half as much water to grow and doesn’t require pesticides. Hemp is just beautiful if it remains in its natural coloration, as shown on the chairs in my photo.
I was really surprised the first time I saw a Tencel Fabric, made of wood pulp fibers. The moisture and temperature control is the wonderful benefit of clothing made from this unique way of processing a tree. The Tencel fabric pulls the moisture from the skin and releases into the air. Lounging around the poolside, or having a soft bathrobe made of wood pulp fiber is pure pleasure!

One other area that contributes to the making of a perfect outdoor living concept are the picture windows. It is very nice to admire the view from the garden, or the beauty of a night skyline of the city while sitting in a bathtub, but we must not think only of our inner pleasure. It is necessary to reduce home heating and cooling costs through air sealing techniques and house insulation. By plugging air leaks with caulking or weather strips, we can save more than 10 percent on the energy bill and by using Energy Star windows we reduce the heating bill by 30-40 percent compared to uncoated, single-pain windows.
Weatherized the entire home will provide year round comfort and savings.

Cool the house without air conditioning by using fans, specifically fans which remove the hot air from the attic and exchange the hot air in the house with cool air from outside.
A whole house fan is a large powerful fan that gets installed in a central part of the home (typically a hallway) and blows from the house into the attic.
As the house fan blows, the pressure in the attic increases and the pressure in the house decreases. The hot air in the attic then vents through roof and other attic vents. Of course this is a one time large expense.

Ceiling fans are less expensive and do a great job too in cooling the house without air conditioning. Tropical style ceiling fans will make a wonderful addition to any décor, whether it is traditional, rustic, tropical, or even elegant. Ceiling fans with blades up to 60″ or 72″ long are powerful and large enough to be right at home and keep us cool.
(http://ceilingfanmodels.com)

There is so much more to talk about the outdoor-indoor living, perhaps I will create a second part to this blog. In the meantime making a few improvements towards an intelligent living is already a good step. You, as a person, are an integral part of the environment. Cultivate flowers that will attract butterflies and grow your own food, it is possible even in pots on small balconies and you will elevate health and spirit. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2011 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 is a designer well-known to bring originality to people’s homes.
She is the author of three books available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

How We Were So Green and Did Not Know It | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Growing up in Italy, I remember looking at the hot water boiler over the sink in the kitchen, one boiler in the bathroom over the tub and another one again over the sink of the service bathroom and thinking how ugly it was to stare at them. In my mind as a child, it would have been better to have one big boiler hidden in a closet serving the whole house, as wealthy people had it. Wrong! One of the building green idea is to let water travel a short distance and save on electricity.

In the morning, as soon as we were all awake and up, all the windows were opened to allow fresh air in the house through the morning while the house was being cleaned. Bed sheets came off the bed and were shaken, mattress was beaten to get the “bed bugs” out, technically called dust mites. It is a good idea to vacuüm the mattress every day as you vacuüm the floor to get rid of dust particles hidden in the mattress that can cause asthma problem.

The kitchen was a sanctuary. First of all it was spotless, cleaned only with natural products, like “Savon De Marseille”. During cooking all the windows were open to let the cooking vapor, steam and grease smell escape out. Many times the kitchen were built outside the house perimeter. It was called the hot kitchen, a place only used to cook, the eating happened inside the house.  (Photo left found on: http://www.rosemari.fr/categorie-produit/la-maison)

It was amazing to watch food preparation and wondering if all that it was discarded would have gone into my stomach instead. I was too young to understand that wasting food was not an option. Food was not pre-made, everybody made fresh food at home every day using every bit of food that could have been used. I remember all the egg shells, coffee and tea ground, discarded vegetable leaves and stems, fruit peels and much more went into the compote pile to make fertile ground for our home grown food. Fish heads, tales and bones along with discarded peel of onions, carrots and celery became fish stock. Eatable flowers rolled in sugar became candies. Apples and various spices became vinegars and tomatoes were turned into a sauce conserved for the winter. We never had leftover food (freshly made food is good for your health and look) and there was almost nothing going into the garbage, like plastics, packages, metals and sorts of things we see in garbage today.
Kitchen and bath furniture were made of real wood without formaldehyde and lasted for generations. Note I have called it “kitchen and bath furniture”.

Many items of clothing, at least the manageable types were washed by hands to give them a longer life.


(Photo Wikimedia:  Immanuel Giel)

This contributed to a less spending and more savings. We bought only a few pieces of clothes needed to match with the existent pieces. All laundry was hung in the sun to dry. A few hours later they were ready and they smell so fresh and clean! Today, living in America, I still hang my clothes to dry in my laundry yard and I have never owned a dryer, with the shocking disbelieve of my neighbors who think I come from Mars.
We didn’t need energy-efficient appliances then, but we do today and we want to save money.
Our floors were made of stones and still are, stone floors are healthy, breathable, wash and wear. A bit of water and soap, voila’ the floor is clean.

During my growing up, we only turned on the lights in the rooms we were using and turned off all lights in the rest of the house. We still do that, electricity is so expensive in Europe.
Do you think that was living in an old world? Perhaps, but we didn’t have to care about saving the environment, because we didn’t abuse it in the first place and we saved all kinds of money, because there wasn’t much to waste. At the same time, we didn’t even know we were already contributing to saving the environment. Today we must revert to that way of living. How much money are you loosing for not being green and beautiful?

Since a few years ago, I am part of the “green concept design” helping people understanding how to build and design with the environment in mind. Talk to me about your needs, I am here to help you saving money and save the environment, the only HOUSE we have. Do you have questions? Please, leave a comment below. I will answer all of your questions within 24 hours. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola, the principal designer and owner is a trained designer and has been in business since 1990. She works on consultation and produces design concepts for remodeling, upgrading, new home design, décor restyling and home fashion.
“Vogue Italy” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work . She also has made s few appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 


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