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 home and sometimes technical information.
http://myatozchallenge.com/?s=Valentina+Cirasola+

What a cheerful thing to see when approaching someone’s home: a wacky mailbox.
To me it indicates the family is creative and love 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 client 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 under ground 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 any where in the world.  She is the author of three books, all-available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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Porch: Stage For Everyday Life | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Through history of the home and society customs, porches have been the stage from which people watched their neighbors and kept updated with everybody’s businesses.
“Porticus” Latin word for porch was an idea widely used in Ancient Greece and their love for style. Adopted by Romans the “portico” became the building’s entrance supported by columns with a roof structure over a walkway, which would protect people walking even if it was raining. Pantheon in Rome is the best example. This idea, celebrating high aesthetic and style, influenced many cultures since then.

By early medieval times, British people built stone or timber projecting porches for churches to give cover to worshippers. At a baptism, the priest would receive the parents with the infant and the service began in the porch. Buckingham Palace and the White House are two best examples.

Porte-cochere
(Photo: Giano at English Wikipedia)
In Europe, I love to admire the “porte-cochère” (coach gate) a porch-like structure at a main or secondary entrance to a building through which horse and carriage (today a motor vehicle) could park and pick up the travels who would be protected from the weather, while  doing their operations of getting in or out of the carriage/vehicle.

Victorian Architecture, or the Queen Anne style, proliferates with examples of homes with a sitting porch in both the front and the back of the home.

Porches cannot be propped up as one needs without unifying the roof lines and the architectural details of the house. Covered porches, also called verandahs, provide protection from sun or rain and insects providing an extra exterior living room that one can arrange with chairs, tables or even a cozy fireplace.

Today they are built mostly for the backyard, encompassing an entire side of the house. Open porches in the front of the house existed when people were friendly with their neighbors or casual passerby and a natural trust existed with each other. It was an opportunity to get to know the postman and the milkman. If people went on vacation, the neighbors watched the temporarily vacant home without even asking. It was a place to listen to the radio al fresco, share a drink, share some family news, gossip with next-door neighbor or enjoy the rain in silence.

(Photo Source: Porches from BH&G)

New homes don’t come with open porches anymore. No one sits in the front of the house and no one trusts anyone. No longer we care to know the postman, the neighbors and the milkman doesn’t even exist anymore. T.V. and computers have occupied our time. We need unpaid volunteers to watch our neighborhood, which the society can lynch at own satisfaction when and if one of them gets in trouble with the law for being overzealous protective of our homes. Those who want to understand, please feel free.

Which porch in my gallery do you like? Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val:FarfalleStampValentina 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. . Find Valentina’s three books 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 home and sometimes technical information.
http://myatozchallenge.com/?s=Valentina+Cirasola+

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, 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 around. 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 redesign the landscape, that’s the owner 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 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 soft string of lighting. I will highlight the balcony wood rail with bullet lights. The backyard needs the ambience 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 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

Going Up | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

How can I forget where I grew up and where my roots are so firmly embedded?

“You are not going to find it on the floor!” I heard it often from my father. It was his way to teach me to walk proud with my head high. Walking with my head high I learned to discover beautiful architectural on top of buildings and all the details that are not at eye level for everybody to enjoy.

The streets of Italy are an open art class where walking is a real learning experience. Nude statues coexist well with people dressed in the latest fashion. Once I stayed in a hotel in Venice facing a beautiful nude of a man sculpted in marble. He was so real, I could see every vein going through his muscles and yet he sat on top of a church looking directly into my window, as sinful as he could possibly appear, almost saying:
“I am here, enjoy me!”
Ah, Venice, the only city in the world where pigeons walk, lions fly and sexy men are stones!

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

dettagliofinestra-a

In Venice, it is common to find, in one street alone, broken pediments and eyebrows windows, neoclassical and Romanic style, Moorish windows and Baroque style, all competing to maintain a place in history. One might wonders who was the lucky patrician family to live there. Today, too often commoners are the lucky ones, people or offices who don’t even have the time to notice the beauty of their bulding.

window-a

Balconies decorate young and old buildings, they are almost like urban gardens so much sought after today. In reality, space in Italy is limited, people live in flats, for centuries balconies have been seen as an escape valve from the four walls surrounding the lives of everyone. Behind those plants on the balconies, Italians see, observe and keep the secrets of the neighbor’s life unfolding before our eyes.

If ceilings, which are not made of stones are highly decorated. In modern living, often ceilings are the forgotten walls making the room looked unfinished. In Italy, we like to eat under art, coves and circular shapes, the geometry of roundness gives vibrations of security and harmony.

In the southern parts of Italy, all the constructions are made with terrace roofs to enjoy eating ‘al fresco’ and soaking the Mediterranean sun without being seen, but in the colder north, the characteristic ‘comignoli’ chimneys line the sky. Many wealthy Californians have embellished their Tuscan style homes with copies of our Italian comignoli and ‘faccioni’ cherub’s faces stuck to walls as garden planters. The sophistication and elegance of those stone faces change any non-descriptive house into a classical villa of the past, however the Italians who are lucky to have an outdoor space, most likely will use walls, beams and stone heaves to dry produce for the winter.

My fashion school in Italy is an ancient building born first as a nunnery, then it became the state police headquarter, until in modern days, it became a fashion school. Going up those marble stairs made 400 years ago, warped in the center I felt a great sense of respect towards history. All of us students walked on each side of the stairs to preserve them a little while longer.

I never did find anything on the floor, except a few red cents.

This is in response to WP weekly photo challenge theme UP.  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/weekly-photo-challenge-up-2

Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com


Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

ValWorkingValentina Cirasola is a trained Italian Interior Designer in business since 1990. Being Italian born and raised, classicism, stylish and timeless designs have influenced Valentina’s design work. 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. Find her books on
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0

 

Travel Theme: Foliage | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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From Ailsa’s travel theme: Foliage
http://wheresmybackpack.com/2012/09/28/travel-theme-foliage/
She says: “anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all”.

This setting, over 100 years old, some described it Spanish, some said it was Tuscan and some called it plain California style, has remained in my memories as the most beautiful place I lived when I first arrived in California from my native Italy.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

 

At night it was magical, we fantasized seeing Humphrey Bogart coming through the gate, or Clark Gable holding one of us in his arms. It was easy to make up these images, the suffuse light emanating from the old street lamps and the smell of the juniper threes, helped us creating romantic imageries.

 

The stairs to my studio were a set for many weddings’ photography and many painter’s inspirations, who came with empty canvases and left with the interpretation of their imagination imprinted on. Virginia Klassen, a German flamboyant woman, then 83 years old, impenitent single, harpist player in many European orchestras, often sat with me on these stairs to invite me in her memories of a life on the Orient Express, passionate lovers, lavish living and famous theatres of the world.

 

The gate to a perdition, as I called it. We were all artists of some kind, or musicians living there, all without kids and family. An architect, a designer from Italy (me), an image consultant from Sweden, a chef, a novel writer, a furniture designer, an opera singer, a flute player, a software engineer from Germany, a pottery designer and an expert in custom laws from Mexico. Every day, after 6:00 pm, as we closed our business, we would meet around the fountain with wines, food and music and spent a few hours together, but often we went into the small hours of the night. Conversation around many topics was interesting and enticing, friendship got tighter and tighter as we got to know each other better.

 

This was my small world away from home, where people welcomed me as their friends and where we all shared our pains, jokes, aspirations, concerns and family matters. Unfortunately, this place doesn’t exist any longer. An architect firm abated it to build high-rise, high-priced office and condos.

 

In my work as a designer, I often find a way to preserve something with a meaning, or history and incorporate it in the new design. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2012 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 homes, décor restyling and home fashion. She also offer on-line consultations through Skype line.  “Vogue” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She also has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Up In The Air Or In The Ground | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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We have been accustomed to create gardens and orchards in the ground. Getting down in closer contact to the ground I think is very spiritual. While we attend our garden on our knees we can touch nature with our hands, shape it to our liking, mix the color we prefer and perhaps listen to our favorite music on the iPod. I find gardening time very relaxing and a good way to do some thinking.

Unfortunately a couple of months ago I fell in the street on hard concrete and seriously injured my right knee, lucky me I did not break it, but here I am two months later I still cannot bend my knee to go down very well and my garden as been suffering. As a designer the natural thing for me to do was to research on raised gardens or finding some easy solution for clients who have knees or back problems. I found this attractive creation designed by Patrick Morris called Sky Planter, which can be used indoor for fussy plants and outdoor to save our back.

It is made of ceramics, locks the plant and soil into the place and hang from a ceiling or wall-mount. A reservoir hidden in the top waters plants gradually. I also found the easy reach, the ultimate Pulley System for any plants! I think this is such a brilliant idea for any flowers, vegetables and cooking spices. The pot can even be raised up and down to put the plant in the sun when needed and in the shade when the sun get to hot. Take a look of the video by clicking on the following link:

 

At the Orticola Garden Trade Show in Milano last month, I saw gardens on rotating stairs like a Ferris wheel, easy to attend and to water as the plant comes around. For those people who live in the city and don’t have much space for gardening, I found the eco urban garden, called the “Cavalier”, made by Paris based designers Az & Mut. Hand-made in France, the products are made from a composite of 70% flax fibres. Pot cavalier is designed to be slung over the balcony railing, holding itself in place without any other hardware. The pots are light and frost-resistant.
(photoimage © designboom © morgane le gall )

The same designer came up with the idea of the “Danseuses” a lamp shade that balances on its two cut edges. It can be used either lying down, between plants to emanate a very delicate glow in its surrounding space or hung onto a wall, or suspended looking like many dancers (danseuses). They are made of bleached flax fibres and ecological resin.
(‘danseuse’ image © designboom © morgane le gall)

It is my pleasure to bring you ideas and novelties. Let me know if I can help you with some exteriors or interior solutions. Ciao, Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

 

 

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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VC10Valentina 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. She is the author of three books available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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